Thursday, April 23, 2009

Want to try for a free Whitelines notebook? is giving away 2 free Whitelines notebooks! Click here to go to the blog and read the review, as well as the official rules for contest entry! It only takes a quick email and/or a blog post (yes, this is my entry ;-). (And yes, if I win, I'll review it! :-)

Hurry--emails must be received by 11:59pm on 4/30/09, and blog postings by 4/28/09! Good luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Review: J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage

Karen Doherty at Exaclair very graciously sent 2 inks in her most recent batch of products for review! I was happily surprised to receive both Lierre Sauvage and Orange Indien. Thanks so much, Karen! :-)

Lierre Sauvage is one of the J. Herbin "La Perle des Encres" (The Jewel of Inks) fountain pen inks. There are 30 colors available, which come in 30mL bottles and cartridges (6 cartridges in a cute little metal tin--I use the empty tins to keep dip pen nibs in them!). They are advertised as non-toxic and pH neutral, with natural dyes.

(Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Here's a shot of the bottle. I had a bottle of Bleu Myosotis for years before I found out that the little lip on the front of the bottle is a built-in pen rest. Very cool idea!

Here's a full-length shot of my handwritten ink review (thanks to SProctor on the Fountain Pen Network for the template). I'm not ecstatic about the way it photographed--I tried it outside in bright sunlight, but got some weird effects. I tried it inside in natural sunlight, but as you can see, I got some shadows over it. However, the ink color looks pretty true to life on my monitor, for what it's worth! I'll try using a smaller sheet of paper or a notebook for my next ink review. Feel free to comment or tweet me with tips for improving my photography! :-) (But nothing too technical like fiddling with 15 different settings or downloading expensive software, please--honestly, it won't happen.)

Here's a closer view of the top half of the page:

A closer view of the bottom half of the page:

I used a Sensa Meridian fountain pen, custom ground to an XXXF nib. The paper was some random cheap copy paper I had around the house (Georgia Pacific). I also tried it on Clairefontaine paper, but didn't photograph it.

I really liked the bright green color--it wasn't too yellow, nor too blue. It was slightly on the yellowish side, but not much. And, surprisingly, it was quite legible for a bright green color. It's a nice spring/summery color, and makes you think of golf course lawns.

Flow: Flow was really good in my dry-writing, finicky XXXF nib! It wasn't a gusher, either--just a nice, consistent flow.

Drying Times: Granted, I'm using a really fine nib, but I find that J. Herbin inks typically dry pretty fast (and even work pretty well on glossy textbook paper). Lierre Sauvage was no exception.

Feathering: It feathered a little on this cheap copy paper, but I haven't found an ink yet that won't feather on this paper (I'm never getting it again!). Not surprisingly, there was no feathering on the Clairefontaine.

Bleedthrough: A few tiny pinpricks of ink on the back of the cheap copy paper, mostly where I paused. None on the Clairefontaine.

Shading: Yes, there was some shading, even with my XXXF nib. On glossy textbook paper, it was more noticeable.

Waterproof: This ink does not claim to be waterproof, and I did not test this quality myself.

Nib Creep: Just the tiniest drop on the very tip of the nib.

Staining/Clogging: I only used this ink briefly (see below for the reason), but there was no staining or clogging detected, and the ink rinsed out of the pen fairly easily.

Smear Factor: Since it dried quickly, it didn't smear on glossy textbook paper after 3 seconds! It was GREAT for the few pages of margin notes I took.

Odor: It has a noticeable, pleasant scent, though it's not a "scented" ink. The ink was somewhat like a perfume, slightly earthy and floral. The scent disappeared from the paper pretty quickly. However, I'm really sensitive to certain odors, and this ink gave me a bit of a headache. I was really saddened by this, since I loved the rest of its qualities. But I would be remiss in not mentioning it, so my fellow headache sufferers can be forewarned. If you have headaches from certain scents, you might want to try a sample of this first, before you buy a whole bottle!

Caveat--I'm REALLY sensitive to certain scents, and the average person probably won't have any problem with this ink. I had a headache in one class every morning at the same time, until I figured out that the hand lotion of a student a couple rows away was causing my pain! (I changed seats and everything was fine after that.)

Not all J. Herbin inks give me a headache--I've tried Orange Indien recently, I usually have a pen inked with Violette Pensée, and I've tried Rose Cyclamen and Rose Tendresse in the past. I didn't have a problem with any of those inks--just this one so far! (Oh, and I tried the rose scented J. Herbin ink, which also gave me a bit of a headache.)

The scent also lingers in the pen. I flushed it until the water ran clear, and washed what I could of the plastic feed, then refilled it with another ink. However, I can still smell the Lierre Sauvage one week later (though it's muted and isn't strong enough to give me a headache anymore). Just a warning, in case you object to the scent. (Many people love the scent, however, and actually like this quality!)

Appearance: The squiggle to the left is from one swipe of the Q-tip, and the squiggle to the right is from two swipes of the Q-tip.

Overall Conclusions: This is a happy, colorful green ink--the epitome of spring! :-) Bright enough to stand out, yet dark enough to be legible. The flow was great in my XXXF dry writer, and it dried really quickly on the 3 different papers I tried. I loved this ink, and would have continued to use it if it wasn't for the scent. The scent is really pleasant and not extremely strong, but unfortunately, I'm prone to headaches with certain scents (especially perfumes/botanicals).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update (of sorts) on Exacompta Basics Tan Lined Journal

Here's the Exacompta Basics Tan Lined Journal that I reviewed a few months ago, after a toddler got a hold of it with some markers.... :-) I had him test out the journal, so I could see if the paper could stand up to his current artistic style.

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

No feathering, but some smudging (especially the turquoise and purple at the top of the page), as the toddler's hand rubbed across the page while drawing. (After seeing that his hand was getting ink on it, he subsequently held the markers a little higher, and didn't rub his hand on the page.)

And yes, the bright green in the upper left corner is Noodler's St. Patty's Eire, in a Platinum Preppy highlighter. :-D

Reverse side of the page. No bleedthrough, and not much showthrough, especially considering how many layers of dark, wet marker went on the page!

It was love at first sight for the toddler with this journal--he grunted happily and ecstatically pointed at the gold gilding on the edges. I tried to have him test out the medium Piccadilly notebook I'd brought as well, but after seeing the Exacompta journal, he would have none of it! Apparently, he has very refined taste in notebooks! ;-)