Olive Octopus handwritten text with sketch of octopus


I made it through the #21PenQuestions list, time for #5MorePenQuestions from The Gentleman Stationer.

Question 1 Why do pens and stationery continue to play such an important role in your life, especially in an age when everything is supposed to be going paperless and digital?

I have a lot of information stored digitally but it's dispersed, processing all that data to hand-write what I need to know & do for the upcoming week or two in a paper notebook (one for work, one for everything else) helps me remember and coordinate everything better by seeing it all in one place.

I could still go through that review process to make notes in a digital place, but it's easier to reference/annotate/update on paper, and sometimes picturing the ink color helps me remember more. For work, I use a two-column page with room for notes (collecting thoughts to prep for, and take notes during, a weekly team meeting) and a running checkmark list of active tasks. This page is much easier to reference/update, especially when my screens are full of browsers, code, email, etc.

Future/redacted examples of the Traveler's weekly planner layout (017) in a Franklin-Christoph cover and a TUL discbound notebook with notes/to-do layout.

Question 2 What do you view as the key benefit of writing by hand?

When I was in school it felt like there was a noticeable difference (improvement) when I wrote papers by hand first versus typing directly into a computer. I can type more quickly than I write so that's best for straightforward capture or communication, but there are more micro distractions (managing formatting, symbols/numbers, typos) so anything complex benefits from less interference between thought and page when writing by hand.

Question 3 What is your favorite thing about the pen/stationery hobby?

Inks. All the colors. Shading. Shimmer. Weird colors and dual-shaders. Inky art. Ink names with stories behind them. Pairing ink with a particular pen/purpose. Others sharing inks they're excited about.

Sitting at my little "analog" desk tucked away in a corner away from computers and screens, next to an open window (weather permitting), and disappearing into inks & paper, pens & brushes for a while has become a valued respite.

Collage image with examples of col-o-dex ink swatch cards, a page of ink swatches and sketches for the Diamine Wonders of the World ink series, a journal spread with quotes from Coraline by Neil Gaiman and cat sketches in Wearingeul I am a Cat ink, tools and setup used for making swatch cards including a glass dip nib and a metal dip nib.

Question 4 What is your least favorite thing about the pen/stationery hobby?

When fountain pens dry out, that's a bummer.

I've tried to dodge negativity and keep my engagement with pens/stationery in support of net improvements such as increased organization, beneficial journaling, and perhaps most of all as an outlet for creative expression. Realizing I've neglected a particular pen to the point it's dried out is a small thing that's really not a big deal, but I'm disappointed when it happens.

Question 5 If you could choose one combination of stationery items to use for the rest of your life, exclusively, what would those be and why?

I'm pretty satisfied with my Franklin-Christoph Olive Green NWF notebook cover with a Traveler's 017 weekly and Goulet dotted & plain Tomoe River TN notebooks, and with the 3-pen insert in the front pocket I'd be pretty set for my personal calendar/tasks, notes, and even sketching practice with pens.

I don't want to mix work into my personal notes so I'd stick with the TUL discbound Jr with “to-do” & notes refills and a TWSBI ECO (or 580), F nib.

Some variation in pens, nibs, and especially inks has practical value to me so I would be hard-pressed to limit those too much. I would give up all but plain TR paper and most fountain pens before my inks and swatching, sketching, & painting tools though—the artistic outlet of exploring inks/journaling would be the hardest to replace.

A top-down view of a desk with a Franklin-Christoph TN-size notebook cover with inserts, a 3 pen holder visible in the front cover pocket, on top of a gray TUL discbound Jr notebook with clear disks, surrounded by fountain pen ink boxes and bottles, several dip pens with metal and glass nibs, a paint brush, water brush and ceramic watercolor palette.

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