The Twins // Pilot Penmanship [REVIEW]

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Pilot Penmanship with Ergo Grip
EF nib
Demonstrator/clear version
$8.25 USD [purchased from jetpens]
Current ink: Lamy Black Ink [purchased from jetpens]

I use this pen for everything.

I sketch with it, I draw with it, I outline with it, I sign with it. I used it so much I had to buy a second, exact same one. I like it so much, I bought them for my friends. It is probably my top recommended, easily affordable fountain pen that I will always mention when I am asked about what I use to draw. But let’s break it down a little bit more; simply telling you I love this pen without any backing won’t bode well for the future of my blog rep.

I think I will figure out a good category system/structure for how I like to review my pens and I’d like to eventually develop a rating system to better break down my judgement, but for now, I want to express really simply my thoughts about the pens on three basic qualities:  Look, Feel and Value.

Look:
Easy enough, what do I think is attractive in a pen? Does this pen look super awesome? Yup!

I am a big fan of long and slender pens. So, naturally, this pen was a winner in my eyes. Not to mention, I also really like demonstrator pens. They just look too cool, a visual xray into the inner workings on a fountain pen. I get to see just how much ink is left, and just how dirty my pen cap gets. The dinky pen cap bothered me when I first bought it, since, well, its dinky. But it posts well, and it doesn’t interfere with usage overall because it’s light. The nib is slender and elegant, nothing fancy and nothing special (More on the drawing experience below). And finally, as a pair of twins, they look pretty awesome in a set of two.

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Pilot’s ‘super quality’ EF nib

Feel:
How does it hold up as a drawing pen? Is it comfortable to hold? How is it over long periods of drawing?

This is the real test here, because I am foremost an artist who just wants a tool to draw. And if the tool doesn’t measure up, they don’t get used (with writing enthusiasts as well, I imagine). I made a little breakdown doodle of what I use the pen for and some general comments on usage:

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Click to enlarge

This is a Japan brand EF pen, and let me tell you, it is mighty EF indeed. The lines are crisp, accurate and thin, but the nib also responds slightly to pressure and can thicken up a little when asked to. The nib is also stiff enough that I can get relatively straight lines even when free-handing. Overall the nib is extremely smooth on paper (a little scratchier on toothier paper naturally, since the nib is so fine), and I like the strength it holds up when I draw for long periods of time.

I drew a little doodle of my two primary pen grips. It really depends what I am writing or drawing at the time, but this pen definitely requires me to utilize both options interchangeably. I also prefer this pen for drawing over writing as well. I think it has to do with the proportions and length of the grip to the end point of the nib, but its not incredibly comfortable to hold in the ‘Pinch’ grip. So when I want to get some more accurate and steady lines, I tend to use the ‘Fist’ grip. This grip is much more comfortable for me, although really strange looking in retrospect. I also grip my pens very hard and use a lot of force when I draw in order to have more accuracy. It’s not the best habit, and doing it over long periods of time really tires out my hand. (And I drew for hours at a time during school!)

The last doodle is a comparison between two other pens that I use/have used to do similar work. The Sakura Micron, which is a Go-To for many artists, and the Pilot Hi-Tec-C (Maica ver.), another fan favourite. I love both very much, and I still use them for doodles, but significantly less now that I’m obsessed with fountain pens and also out of school. The Sakura; because I press so darn hard that the rate at which I destroy the felt nib is faster than me having to refill that tiny 0.5mL CON-50 capacity of a converter. But I can’t deny the quality and feel of felt tip pens on paper as well as how quickly it dries compared to fountain pen ink. I tend to opt for this pen when I’m doing more drafting type work or need more accurate less sketchy lines. The Hi-Tec-C is another Go-To for simple note taking and quick sketches. The smoothness of the roller ball is hard to compete with, and this 0.3mm version is actually thinner than my Penmanship, so I use it for the really fine lines.

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Comparisons of different thin black liners that I use

I also like to make use of lineweight-ing within a single pen (the lamy does this quite well — more on that next time), so I will always test a pen for its flexibility with drawing upside down to get an even thinner line. It works decently. Another test I did was a drafting sketch. I rarely use rulers when I sketch with my fountain pens simply because I like the feel of freehanding versus drafting, but I tried it out for this review and it works quite well, especially with the precision and steadiness of the nib.  So maybe I will try it more in the future!

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My most recent piece, using the twins:

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Excuse my table clutter. But it has been worse…

Value:
Is this pen worth it? Absolutely.

I mean, look how much I use it, and look at how much I paid for it. Its 163% a steal (100% random number), and everyone should get one, whether they collect, or draw, or write. As I mentioned in my first post, I am a recent grad, and I purchased my first one in the first year. By the third and final year of grad school, I not only bought the second of the twins, but I probably out-used all my other pens with this one, simply because it was the best tool for me to produce all my drawings. (And I produced a LOT of drawings in my final year!) This isn’t to say price is everything here in terms of value just because it is a very affordable pen, but it’s also just a really good quality pen that draws well and of decent quality build for what you pay.

Conclusion:
So I will conclude with saying that I love this pen! Its such a smooth feel when drawing, and I can use it for hours without feeling tired or running out of ink or destroying the nib with my heavy drawing hand. I didn’t try the pen on trace for this review, mostly because I actually never use it on trace because the EF tip might rip the paper when I am not careful. But otherwise, it is excellent and consistent on most papers: bristol, strathmore, moleskine, leuttrum1917 sketchbook paper, I could go on.

Thanks for reading my first review! I am already excited for the next and I hope to have more in store for the future. Next up, a classic — Safari.

Here is a bonus — timelapse I recorded during grad school of me completing one of my project drawings using this very set of twins!

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