I am so so so excited to get my hands on these pens! I had seen some people using them on Instagram and I couldn’t wait to try them out. It is hard to imagine, but I do have a tendency to get some major pen envy. And, I was super disappointed when they weren’t available on Amazon. Lucky enough for me, I was prepping for Pinner’s Conference and they got swept to the back of my mind.
While I was at Pinner’s Conference, I found the Paper and Ink Arts store booth, based out of Nashville, Tennessee… just down the road from me. They had tons and tons of different pens and paper and all kinds of goodies. Plus, you got to try them out at their booth. And, they had so many pens – including my elusive Le Pen Flexes! I may have thought about trying to move in. But, I got to play with the LePen Flex’s and I was so so excited to find that they lived up to my dreams! Plus, my dreams are really hard to live up to; they are very vivid and grandiose. I grabbed one of each color and a brand new Whitelines pad and was super excited to relax in my hotel room that night!
So, after playing around with them, I definitely have some pros and cons of the pens. These are considered a soft nib pen. They are small in size, similar to a Tombow Fudenosuke or a Pentel Sign Brush pen. I like that the nibs are rubberized so they are a little tougher. And, as a lefty, they do not fray when being pushed instead of pulled. The nibs are really sturdy and I like that. I want a pen that is durable and will last a long time. It is one thing if it runs out of ink, but it really bothers me to throw away a pen just because the nib is frayed.
Another drawback of the pen is the size of the barrel. These are super skinny. It feels like holding a pencil rather than a pen. It doesn’t affect the use of the pen, but it does take a little adjustment when you are used to holding a medium sized pen barrel for lettering.
I did find that the nibs got squished one way when I wrote for a while. However, they didn’t stay that way permanently. You can flip them over and use the other side. Or, when I capped them and left them for a bit, they relaxed back to their centered position. No matter which way the pen relaxed, it had no adverse color or construction effects.
They are not pressure filled, so, you do have to be conscientious of how you store them. I store mine nib side down in a mason jar. I would recommend that or horizontal. If they are stored vertically, with nibs up, I think it would be a while before you saw drainage or a lack of color, especially when you are starting with a full barrel of color.
The colors are good, although they are really limited. At the moment, there are only 12 available. I find that the ink distribution from the pen is good and they are juicy, without being runny. And, I only smudge them a little bit, which is a huge victory. Also, I love that the color names are actually representative of the color. No Electric Watermelon Boogie here! Turquoise, red, and burgundy for the win!
The ink is water-based, so it comes off of your hands easily too! (Again, this may just be filed under left handed people problems.) But, it does mean that the pens don’t have a strange or strong smell like you find in so many alcohol or oil based pens.
Because there are just a few pens, I didn’t swatch for colors, but I did swatch with my practice word. This is my favorite word to write – and I have no idea why. I just really love the word Alabama in a hand lettered font! I really like the way these pens write on my Rhodia pad and my Laser Jet paper. They are a little wet on the tracing paper, just because it does not absorb the ink as quickly. Although, I think this is just a struggle for a lefty.
These pens are not great for blending from pen to pen. Without a lot of hope, I gave it a whirl in a liquid watercolor bath and the results were really good for the lighter colored pens. I used Royal Talens Ecoline Liquid Watercolor number 508, which is dark turquoise color. I had the most success dipping the dark grey, magenta, and amethyst. I was really impressed with how slowly and the length of time that I had watercolor on my nib. It took me a full alphabet to get through a full dip of paint on the magenta pen. And, the ombre effect is really beautiful in my opinion! I would love to do these for a wedding or party invitation. Anyone getting married anytime soon?
With the rubberized nib, I felt like when the color was gone from the ink. Plus, I was not going to have any long term damage and definitely no staining. I am sure other colors of watercolor would work too – I just don’t have any other dark watercolor paint. Most of my colors are light and pink-ish!
THE BOTTOM LINE
The price of the pens is also really wonderful – at about $2 a pen, you can buy all twelve without feeling guilty. You can get them directly from Marvy Uchida or online at Paper and Ink Arts. (For the record, Paper and Ink Arts has them for 40 cents less per pen!!!) I have yet to see these pens in other stores which is a bummer if you like to test drive your pens before you purchase. And, at my last check I have not seen them on Amazon, which is kind of curious. I wonder if they will stock them when the pens are available in a pack, instead of individually by color.
I did hear a rumor of Marvy releasing another batch of pens in a pastel color. Although, that is really just a rumor and I haven’t seen or heard anything substantial from the company to back that up. Perhaps we can start a hand lettered letter writing campaign for more colors. Anyone want to join me?
Overall, I would highly recommend these pens. I think they are great for letterers of all skill levels! Plus, the price point makes them hard to pass up. I wrote another short review in Penultimate Magazine that you can check out too that has some samples, along with tons of other good information for letterers and creatives!
I would love to see you practice your practice word with these new pens! Share them and tag me on Facebook and Instagram.
Below is a video with some swatching and real time practicing! Plus, you can get a peek at the attempt to liquid watercolor to ombre the pens!
Go get your letter on!