January 30, 2005

Uni-ball Vision.

I bought some new pens two days ago: some Uni-ball Vision pens. I've been using Pilot G2s for a long long time, but I've gotten more and more annoyed that they smear and take so long to dry with using my new Moleskine daily diary. I was taking notes at a lecture last week, and I even had to blot the pages. I might be willing to do that with my glass pens or with a fountain pen, but not with something I bought in a pack of four at Staples. I can dig the whole "archival safe" thing, but I wish that G2s were waterproof. Besides, being archival safe and acid-free sounds nice and all that, but I'm not exactly going to live long enough to experience the greatness of archival safe inks, let alone to see if Pilot's gel ink really does last for hundreds of years. Further, who in the world will want to read something I have written long after I am dead and gone? Rather than having archival safe ink (if I'm not going to just use a simple ballpoint pen or pencil, that is), I would rather have waterproof ink. I have spilled coffee on a Moleskine full of G2 ink before, and the results were not pretty. If that ink lasts forever, it will only do so if a book can forever escape getting a cafe' au lait spilled on it by a clumsy graduate student or getting stuck in the rain. I would rather have an ink that will always last when I'm still around to read my own writing. And I don't want to have to use acrylic inks with a dip pen or waterproof ink in my fountain pen. I want something I can lose or chew on or give away while being able to drop by the office supply store to get some more for a few bucks. A simple roller-ball pen with fadeproof, waterproof ink does the trick. The Uni-ball Vision (Micro) ink does not seem to bleed through the pages as much as G2 ink, either. It also dries much faster. And Sanford does not make matching pencils (like Pilot does for the G2), so I do not feel pressured into using some particular kind of pencil, just for the sake of matching my pens. In fact, Sanford makes all of their pencils under the PaperMate brand now (which they own), even the famed Mirado (Black Warrior, Classic and Woodtone) pencils which were formerly sold under the old Eberhard Faber brand.* I am quite happy with my Visions so far, though I wish that Sanford would advertise their waterproof ink better. The standard Vision pens are not listed as such on the website, while others are. And they never mention that their gel ink is actually acid-free like G2 ink is (but it dries faster and bleeds less). I would not be shocked to learn that the Vision's ink is acid-free, though I really don't care that much. What matters to me is that I can spill coffee on my Moleskines now. I can still carry them in my pocket on a rainy day. And I can sweat on a page, all with no ill effects in the legibility of the ink. Apologies for the pen post. I try to keep some of my obscene obsessions to myself, but they leak out now and again. *[If you want to try some wonderful wooden pencils, try some Mirado pencils. They can be found at any office supply store, Wal-Mart, the grocery store -- virtually anywhere that sells pencils -- now that they are sold under the PaperMate brand.]


Sal said...

when you're next Pen shopping: Lamy's Al-Star etc. are brilliant. they write ALMOST as well as watermans' and cost 1/20th the price. and last ages too: mine are about 5 years old now

Anonymous said...


I like the Uni-Ball pens, and particularly, their newer 'Vision Elite' line. They have a smoother feel, and are apparently airplane-safe. I learned about them from Keri Smith's blog. She does much of her illustrating with them.

They do bleed on Mole pages--a bit. The only pens I've found that don't are Micron Pigma and Pitt Artist's [and ballpoints, of course.]

-Joy [who's too lazy to register]

Pragmatik said...

Sal, those pens are awesome; I really like the finishes on them.

Pragmatik said...

I've found that the Micro (extra fine) Uni-Balls don't bleed any more than the Pitt pens. I really really really like the Pitt pens, but I have trouble writing with them. Printing and sketching are a dream, though:)

The Pigma Microns are Okay, but I think they're an expensive and poor substitute for the harder to find Pitt pens.

I saw some of the Vision Elite pens, and they do look really cool. I think I'll have to pick some of them up, too. Who am I kidding? I'll have a pack of them this week, I'll bet:)

Stasyna said...

Pencils are for the creative, pens for the careless.

-use of Stasyna logic, which makes NO sense. :)

Pragmatik said...

I like both. What does that mean? LOL

Stasyna said...

That we just created Peton (peter and john) Logic. A cult will follow us!


Pragmatik said...

I don't know how I feel about cults, but I would certainly be suspect of any person or group of people who would follow something *I* said! LOL

Anonymous said...


You can order Pitt Pens from most art supply catalogs. I know for sure that Dick Blick, Daniel Smith and Cheap Joe's all carry them.

I want more of the colored ones.

Also, EBay's a good source for art supplies. I haven't tried to buy Pitt pens there, but last summer bought a lot of Pigma pens and Derwent and Prisma colored pencils--cheap.

yours in pen love,