Elias Pen and Ink Journal


Here is something pen and ink fans will find truly interesting and delightful. I used to keep a software database of pens, but I haven’t been very good with keeping it updated, until I eventually just forgot about it. Here’s a truly analog way to document an analog hobby.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Everything Calligraphy came up with its very own pen and ink journal! It’s soft-bound and uses their own 90GSM ivory colored paper that’s fountain pen, brush pen, and pointed pen friendly. Hardcore, man.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The theme of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo is the thread that runs through the different sections of the notebook, from cover to cover. When I first held the journal in my hand, it really felt like something that you can keep as a “pen memoir”, and I felt sorry I wasn’t able to document the old pens that I had already sold, or the inks that I already used up.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

There is a simple Elias logo on the binding, and the spine feels nice and tight. It’s bound securely, though it’s not going to lay flat by itself. It’s not difficult to write in or leaf through, though. The journal is bound by plain white, textured card paper, and there’s a translucent, waxy paper that wraps around it. I really like the illustration used in that decorative wrap. It’s printed neatly and is really like a slice of a story.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

It also smells good. Mmmmm. Yum. The journal has several sections. I’ll show each section in this review.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The first section is the Pen Journal section. It has space for every kind of information useful in a pen. Like brand, model, nib size, rating systems, etc. The opposite page is dedicated entirely to writing samples, or (like what I did) a review of the pen. You can put anything! How you got the pen, its little back story, anything that helps you either catalog the pen’s specifications or document its history. You can even stick a printed photo of the pen, if you like. You can get as creative as you want, there’s space for it!

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section is the Ink Journal. It has all the pertinent information you need to catalog your ink. From the cost, to the properties (shading, sheen drying time, flow), a portion for swabs and water resistance tests, and your comments. Here’s a photo of my first ink journal page, documenting one of my new favorite inks, Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama. It’s a straightforward way to catalog your ink collection. The paper being Elias paper, it shows off any shading and sheen so well. The paper also holds up very well to my water resistance test.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

I had to chuckle a little at the next section, the Future Pen and Inks. It’s like a wishlist. You can note down pens and inks that caught your attention and would like to purchase in the future. This is a list you can really have fun ticking items off of.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

The next section contains coloring sheets. Line drawings of scenes and excerpts from Noli and El Fili. It adds a really Pinoy flair to the entire thing. I like how the line drawings are made. They have a folk-artsy feel to them. The pages remind me of these traditional Japanese line drawings before anime became popular. There’s a story going on in each drawing and it really captured that overall theme of the journal. The person who drew them is Julz Riddle (a Filipino teacher and artist). Her Instagram account is @hulyariddle. Here are a couple of samples from the journal.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Those who are into practicing calligraphy will love the next section.

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

Elias Pen and Ink Journal

These pages with guide lines can help you achieve consistent strokes. Even if you only want to improve your handwriting by practicing writing in script, this can be really helpful.

The remaining pages are blank sheets, doodle pages. If you look at the back of every single journal I have, the last pages are basically doodle pages. Figure eights, “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”, baybayin scribbles, anything! A blank space to doodle and free the mind. How wonderful that there’s a space in this journal for doodling.

Overall, I don’t think I’ve come across a journal that’s exactly like this, and with a very Filipino flair. It’s really a great way to celebrate your fascination with pens and inks (and doodling!). I’m glad that Everything Calligraphy came up with something so special for pen fans like us, and I’m planning to fill up my journal soon. It would be a great way to keep record of each pen and ink color that I have. Maybe someday when it’s time to pass on my pens to my nephews and nieces, they can have this journal as a companion of sorts, to help them appreciate the pens not just as writing instruments but as little things that brought me joy at some point in my life.

The Elias Pen and Ink Journal is available at Everything Calligraphy.

Pens Through the Years


Fountain Pen Network Philippines will  be joining the celebration of Fountain Pen Day on the first weekend of November. I was invited to submit some artwork along with other fellow members of FPN-P. I’m usually really shy about showing people my art in person, but I figured that it might be a fun way to give back to the community and meet other artists as well.

I kind of agonized over what to submit, what paper to use, etc. I redid this a few times because I had some details wrong (plating color of a clip here, nib color there). But last night I was able to finish my final pieces.

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Overall, I enjoyed the process of making these two pieces a lot. Using fountain pen ink in the washes is challenging because it gets absorbed by the paper almost as soon as you brush it on. Mixing it with a lot of water helps. It’s also very fascinating to read about the pens again and see the tiny little details that make each pen unique. These two are collection of pens from Sheaffer and Parker through the years. There’s a lot of different kinds of pens to choose from, so I picked several that were made in different decades. It was really so much fun, and it reminded me again why I love vintage pens, especially Parker pens (I’m a Parker gal). They don’t make ’em like they used to.

This year’s Fountain Pen Day celebration will be on November 5-6, at the 3rd floor Atrium of SM Aura. Aside from the art exhibit, there will be other activities like calligraphy demonstrations for adults and kids, and pop up stores for fountain pen/calligraphy fans.

Kaweco Sport Cognac


Ah, these little pocket pens. Sure, you end up inking them more frequently than full-sized pens but what the heck. They’re cute. I got this from Stationer Extraordinaire as a birthday gift to myself last September. I also ordered a bottle of Akkerman Hopjesbruin a few weeks after, without realizing that they’re the perfect pair in terms of color.

The package arrived earlier this week, it was carefully packed and included a really nice note. I always appreciate efforts like this, it adds a very personal touch to the service.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

The pen comes in a tin box, with a blue cartridge and 5 brown cartridges. It also included the clip.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

Since I also got the Akkerman ink on the same day, I decided to use that to try out the pen. Isn’t the pairing perfect? I think it is. 🙂 The ink flows really well with this pen, and it worked right out of the box. No baby bottom to smooth out this time, which is a relief.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

I loved the ink so much that I turned this pen into an eyedropper afterwards. I’m gonna have it in rotation for a while. 🙂 These pocket pens are just so cute. I’m gonna need another mini leather slip soon.

Kaweco Sport Cognac

Review: J. Herbin Tempest


The nice people at Everything Calligraphy sent over this pen for me to try out and review. It’s called the J. Herbin Tempête or Tempest. Nice name, don’t you think? You can at least say that you’re writing up a storm with Tempest in your hand. It came in a nice velvety-black box, some literature on how to use it, and a little dropper.

J. Herbin Tempest

I would suggest skipping the dropper completely and just using a syringe because the dropper only holds a bit of ink at a time. It looks kinda pretty, though. My first impression of the whole thing was that I liked the shape of the pen. It reminded me of desk pens because of the pointy end. It’s certainly a looker.

J. Herbin Tempest

It’s not a small pen, by any means. It’s a comfortably-sized pen. Uncapped and unposted, it’s about 5.25 inches more or less. Capped, it’s about six inches. It’s not super long, I can post it comfortably enough.

J. Herbin Tempest

I think it’s a pretty handsome pen, and it’s eyecatching because of the shape and because of that clear barrel with the frosted-looking interiors. It was clearly made to be an eyedropper, but I was initially concerned about inking it up and staining it. I’m a little OC about my clear-barreled pens and one of my biggest regrets is turning my Frankling Christoph into an eyedropper (and filling it with Emerald of Chivor). After that fiasco, I decided to only turn opaque-barreled pens to eyedroppers and spare myself the heartache of seeing all that pristine acrylic horribly stained by ink. Other people certainly don’t mind it, I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.

J. Herbin Tempest

Well, I had to ink up the pen so that I could test it. So I half-filled it up with Diamine Wagner. The end of the section threads has this little o-ring in it that I suppose helps with making sure the ink doesn’t leak out. Just be careful when cleaning out the pen that the o-ring doesn’t slip out. Surprisingly, the interior of the pen had this texture that made it resistant to staining.

J. Herbin Tempest

The ink just slides off the surface, making it really easy to wash off. When I cleaned the pen afterwards, I couldn’t see traces of the ink that I used. I guess it may still stain with frequent use and depending on the ink brand and color, but it’s nice to see that it is stain resistant. In any case, I would think that if you buy a pen designed to be an eyedropper, you shouldn’t mind some stains on the barrel.

J. Herbin Tempest

Overall, I did like the look and feel of the pen. It’s a bit too light for my taste, but some people will actually like that. It’s also shiny in all the right places. 🙂 The section is comfortable, but there’s a small gap where the o-ring is. I guess that can’t be helped. I especially liked the design on the nib.

J. Herbin Tempest

I think that’s just pretty. Here are a few more close up shots of other parts of the pen.

J. Herbin Tempest      J. Herbin Tempest

J. Herbin Tempest      J. Herbin Tempest

The ink that I used is a dry ink, but it looked really nice when I tried to write with the pen. I had primed it properly prior to use so it didn’t have a hard time starting. The pen had a pretty nice flow going, despite the fact that I used a dry ink.

J. Herbin Tempest

Here is a video of my writing sample.


I must say that I enjoyed writing with it. Because it’s really light, I wrote several pages without tiring out my hand. It’s a comfortable pen. The nib was smooth enough but could use a bit more tuning. Not something terribly off-putting, though.

Check out Everything Calligraphy for the Tempest.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a paid post.

The Start of My Art Journal Journey


I’ve always loved writing journals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred to pouring out my thoughts on paper rather than speaking. Integrating art in my journal entry is something I’ve only recently discovered, though. I liked sketching when I was younger, but it’s an interest that I did not nurture. It was only when I joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines and became social media friends with many talented artists that my love for drawing resurfaced. Of course, you lose what you don’t use, so it feels like I’m starting from nothing again. That’s alright. 🙂 I don’t mind it.

A lot of people I know are so intimidated by the talent of great artists that they don’t even act on the desire of starting an art journal. I personally believe in not resenting your own progress, no matter how slow it is. With the overabundance of ugliness in the world (especially on the internet), contributing your voice in the form of art and other hobbies is not a bad thing.

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I learned that I like to combine words and pictures. The photo above is a rough sketch about the great protest march at Selma. I wrote my thoughts down about the movie after we watched it. It takes longer to finish a journal entry, but it’s so worth it afterwards.

Calligraphy is also something that I just recently discovered. Integrating calligraphy with art is so much fun. My journal is a hodge podge of pure text, text and drawings, alibata brushwork, drawings and calligraphy, photos, clippings, etcetera etcetera. It’s not a neat catalog of watercolor paintings or pen and ink sketches. It’s imperfect and ink-stained, crumpled and cramped, and it brings me so much happiness.

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After all, isn’t that the whole point? Each day in our life is different, anyway. I’d like my art journals to reflect that. Each day is a new adventure, a blank page waiting to be filled.

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If you’re thinking about starting your own art journal, I hope this nudges you to the right direction. 🙂 Do it. Do it today, with whatever art supplies you have and make your pages even more vibrant and meaningful to you than they already are. Art is ❤

A Silent Outrage


Baybayin

It’s been sickening to read or watch the local news recently. There are so many news of extrajudicial killings, and that’s always been concerning to me. Every time I see somebody killed execution style with a placard labeled “Huwag tularan, Rapist/Adik/Pusher/Snatcher”, I always ask myself “Says who?” Who gets to decide who has forfeited their right to live? Who deserves to be killed in such a violent way? Now I see this kind of death every day. Fat chance that these cases will be investigated (I’m still waiting for that kind of change). I understand the outrage of people about druggies and criminals, but killing them off without due process is a dangerous shortcut to take. The collateral damage in this kind of war will mostly be the voiceless people who live below the poverty line. They aren’t pests that need to be exterminated because they offend your middle class sensibilities. These are people who have the same rights as everybody else does.

Reading comments in social media about this topic is equally nauseating. It looks like many people are in a blood frenzy, they have forgotten to act like civilized human beings. It’s heartbreaking for me to see friends and family members participate in such discussions like they’re just talking about killing rats. Anybody who disagrees with anything about this all-out war is a sentimentalist, anti-Duterte (and therefore pro-LP or pro-Aquino, which is a false dichotomy), tanga, bobo, mangmang and deserves all kinds of insults. There is no talking with most people nowadays.

There’s no real welfare system to help the street children survive instead of buying rugby to stave off the hunger. No real juvenile justice system to keep young offenders out of trouble. The pervading system in the country is decidedly anti-poor.

I am not blaming the President for all of these extrajudicial killings, and I laud him for the many things that he has achieved on the first 15 days of his presidency (one can appreciate the good and be critical of the not-so-good-yet, it’s not impossible to do that). However, the government should act like the government and uphold the rule of law. All shootings that happen where policemen are involved (agaw-baril, shootouts, etc) should be investigated properly, regardless of who we perceive the victims to be. You know, like any democratic society where rule of law prevails. Policemen who are involved in legit police operations against drugs should be mindful of collateral damage and accountable for them no matter where the encounter happens.

There’s no doubt that this war on drugs will be long and bloody. That doesn’t mean I have to be okay with it. Times like this, it’s okay to not be okay.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black


That’s a mouthful.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I first saw this pen in person last year, during the first big pen meet that I attended in Makati. The owner is a nice young man, well put-together, with a warm smile and a gorgeous green Vacumatic tucked into his shirt pocket. I asked if I could see his Parker Premier (which he dubbed The Batman Pen), and he happily opened his pen case to let me hold it. Gosh. I recall thinking what a handsome pen! And I carefully handed it back to him.

Modern Parker pens don’t really get my motor going. I find them so lacking in character compared with vintage pens, making it painfully obvious that Parker today isn’t what it used to be. This pen, though, I really liked. It’s perhaps the only modern Parker pen that I liked a lot. So when this nice young man put up this very gently used pen for sale (at half the retail price in National Bookstore), I snapped it up.

Parker Premier Monochrome Black

I’ve been using it to write, write, write the entire afternoon and evening yesterday. I’ve been literally writing until way into the wee morning hours. It’s so hard to put this pen down. I’ll take better photos for my upcoming review. 🙂