10.17.2016

Noodler's Ink Proctor's Ledge Review



A Macabre History

Proctor's Ledge, and the illustrated bottle label, is a memorial to the 19 innocent victims of the Salem Witch Trials that were hanged at this particular site.

The ink is as dark as the theme. The center of the line is rich in saturation and appears almost to be a black. The warm, brown undertone comes through where the ink is less saturated.

An Ink with Secrets

As Nathan Tardiff (owner of Noodler's Ink) illustrates in his video, the ink has an interesting chromatography. When spread on a paper towel, the rich brownish-black separates into a fluorescent yellow and a fiery red. Using a blacklight, these color separations become more evident.



However, when one uses this ink normally, the saturation hides the fluorescence. Nathan's video may lead some to believe that the sheen and fluorescent tones would be common when writing on a standard paper. It isn't. When I asked about this discrepancy, Nathan clarified that this effect is best seen on craft paper, tag or poster board. Below, you will see a sample of the ink written on Rhodia 80gsm, plain paper.



Getting a little creative with this ink, you can produce the fluorescence by using a water brush to dilute the ink. This can be a particularly effective implementation when it comes to doing illustrations.



In the animation above, the black lines were done using a Pigma Micron waterproof pen and a Noodler's Konrad brush pen was dipped into a very small amount of Proctor's Ledge to wash the page and create varying layers of saturation. The lightest areas proved to show the fluorescence under blacklight.

Turn it up to 11

To amp up the fluorescence and make Proctor's Ledge a warm grey ink to use as a color fill for my InkTober drawings, I mixed approximately 1 part of Proctor's Ledge with 3 parts of Noodler's Whiteness of the Whale. The resulting drawing was posted as Day 14's illustration :



(Click on the image above to see the video on Instagram.)

You, too, can have fun creating UV reactive writing and drawings. We've put together a pen and ink set that allows you to brew this inky combination yourself. It includes the aforementioned Noodler's Ink Proctor's Ledge (3oz), Whiteness of the Whale (1oz), a Konrad demonstrator fountain pen, a small Rhodia notepad and a portable blacklight on a keychain.



Since Proctor's Ledge was created as a limited release during the Commonwealth Pen Show, we anticipate the ink will be gone for good once it sells out completely. For a Noodler's fan, this is a must-own bottle of ink (gotta catch 'em all!). For artists, letterers and illustrators, this ink has a number of fun, creative applications, especially when paired with a blacklight.

9.22.2016

Marrying Fountain Pens and Paper with the Cloud

This is a guest post by Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D. You can find him on twitter @assistivetek and his blog assistivetek.blogpsot.com


As much as I enjoy my digital tools there is just something about using pen and paper that still feels just right! For the past couple of months, I have gotten back to using fountain pens in my work flow and have really enjoyed using a variety of fountain pens and ink colors that abound. The big question for me was just how could I integrate it with my workflow? You see for me to keep organized I generally keep everything in my iPhone and have been using Evernote for the past eight years. While this problem may seem insurmountable I did find a workflow that allows me to use my fountain pens and continue to use my Evernote account.


One of my favorite note taking tools is Evernote which I have been using for some time now. Evernote is a great way to capture ideas, notes, images, audio and store it on the web for easy access. Not too long ago, Evernote in collaboration with Moleskine came out with journals that allowed me to quickly move my handwritten notes to the cloud with full searching capabilities. The system is very easy to use and gave me the ability to continue to take notes using a fountain pen and paper. After writing my notes or tasks I can use Smart Stickers that come with the Evernote writing journals to quickly file my notes into the right notebook using the camera on my iPhone. The Smart Stickers are quite ingenious. Using the camera on my iPhone I can associate a sticker with a particular notebook. For example, if you associate the sticker that has a House icon on it with your Work notebook, then when you take a picture of that page that has the house sticker affixed, it automatically will file the note in your Work notebook. The Evernote system works great and one of the big advantages of this system is that you can easily search all your handwritten notes. Evernote will OCR all of your handwritten notes and make searching them very easy. Using the Evernote journal from Moleskine has allowed me to use my fountain pens and marry my need to keep my notes and to-do in the cloud.


While searching the web one day, I came across a relatively new solution that bridges the analog to digital world for note taking called Whitelines Link. Whitelines Link produces several different notepads with a grey background with whitelines, with a unique looking code on the four corners of each page. On the bottom of each page is a set of three icons in a box, which probably needs no introduction and includes one for Email, Evernote, and Dropbox. More about this a little later. The notebooks were designed this way so that when you write or draw on the page your words or drawings pop on the page. I have been using the Whitelines Link A5 Squared notebook for the last two months and have really enjoyed the experience. The Whitelines Link notebook is spiral bound so the pages lay flat and the paper quality is great for use with a pencil, gel pen or even a fountain pen. Once I have finished my page of notes - there is where the fun begins! First I decide what I want to do with my notes- am I going to send them to someone via email, or save them to my Evernote or Dropbox account? By ticking off one of the icons on the bottom of the page I can easily and automatically route the note without having to think about it. As a heavy user of Evernote this works great. When I'm done with my note, I simply tick off the Evernote icon and when I open the Whitelines Link app on my iPhone and take a picture of the note, the app using the codes on the corner of the page can senses where the note is and automatically routes it to my Evernote account for safe keeping. The Whitelines Link app is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store and is free. I should mention that when you use the Whitelines Link app to capture your notes, the grey background and white lines disappear and all you are left with are your notes on a white background which really highlights your ideas! The ways to use Whitelines Link is only limited by your creativity. Whitelines Link notebooks are available on Amazon and are licensed to be used with Leuchtturm Whitelines Link Black Pocket Dots notebooks which are readily available in the United States. This is a great product and one that I know you will enjoy using.

If you enjoy using fountain pens to jot down ideas, journal, or for writing your to-do lists then you may want to consider bringing the analog to digital gap by using the Moleskine Evernote, Whitelines Link, or the Leuchtturm Whitelines Link Black Pocket Dots notebooks. All of the notebook solutions add a considerable value proposition and one that allowed me to continue to use fountain pens that are then married to my cloud based services!

9.20.2016

Pen Profile : The Visconti Van Gogh Mini (Pre-2011)

Van Gogh is quoted to have once said,

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.


Creating a masterpiece is no small feat. Neither is being a world renown artist. However, the route to each of those achievements is taken in the same way - one stroke at a time, one step at a time.

It may be little, but every conscious decision toward your big dreams is one step closer to making them real.

Keeping inspired with a positive mental attitude is key in following through and pursuing your goals. A painting will not look like the finished product until months (possibly years) of labor are invested. If the artist is discouraged after a lack of daily progress, then the masterpiece will never be completed.

Having a miniature masterpiece at hand can help keep the creative juices flowing.



Let your dreams manifest through your hands with Visconti's Van Gogh collection of writing instruments. The original styles produced prior to 2011 feature colorful, swirling, translucent resin with chrome trims and the classic, Visconti arc clip. These unique resins pay tribute to the artist's post-impressionist painting style, brilliantly translated into pen form.

The original Van Gogh collection came in three sizes : an oversized "Maxi," the standard "Midi" and the petite "Mini." When they were replaced by the VanGogh Impressionist collection back in 2011, we obtained the last of the Van Gogh Mini pens from the distributor. As of this writing, only a few dozen new, old stock pens are left.



Pocket-Sized Paintings

The Van Gogh Mini fountain pen measures 4.875" long closed, 4.375" with cap removed, 5.5" long with cap posted on back end. It is not as small as a Kaweco Sport pen, which measures 4.13" long closed and 5.3" long with cap posted, but it is smaller than the newer Visconti Van Gogh Impressionist pens (5.5" closed, 6.23" with cap posted). 



The Van Gogh Mini has a screw open cap that posts securely to the back end while writing. The fountain pen arrives with a single, international-sized ink cartridge to start with, but it can also use the Kaweco Sport piston converter to fill using bottled ink (sold separately). The stainless steel nib is as smooth and reliable as you would expect a Visconti worth 3X the value.

A matching rollerball is also available in select styles. The Van Gogh Mini rollerball uses the same type of Schmidt capless rollerball refill that accompanies the Retro 51 Tornado Pen. All Van Gogh Mini pens arrive in highly presentable Visconti gift boxes.

8.30.2016

NJ Pen Club Pen-B-Q 2016 Wrap Up

Thank you to all who attended our inaugural Goldspot Pens & NJ Pen Club Pen-B-Q cookout and mini-pen show that was held last weekend on Saturday, August 27th. We appreciate everyone who was able to make it and enjoy a sunny, Jersey afternoon with us. Anyone who wasn't able to make it, but wanted to come, this post is for you! We've collected the highlights of our meet up in this convenient, bite-sized post. Enjoy!


We set up on a beautiful, low-humidity Saturday morning. Our tents pitched and our tables clothed with white linen, we were set to bring out the pens and the food!


Thanks to the support of Kenro Industries and Blueline Rediform, we had two awesome reps from each company come out to set up their own tables and show off some of the latest and greatest pens. Below is Kenro Industries' Neil L. with his spread of Aurora and Montegrappa pens with a couple of Ballast Watches to throw in some luxurious variety.



Montegrappa pens (left), Aurora Pens (right)

Jennifer R. from Rediform enthusiastically represented Lamy pens and Filofax organizers at her table. This was her first "pen meet up" experience as a sales rep and she absolutely loved it.

Filofax organizers (left) Lamy Lx, Lamy 2000 and new Scala pens (right)


So, what did Goldspot have cooking? Besides our own table of closeout special pens, we also had ink bottles you can sample and a top-secret case of Parker pens that are expected to debut fall 2016. Plus, Tom was manning the grill, flipping burgers and turning dogs for guests. A special shout-out goes to our long-time pen club members, Karen and Debbie, for bringing several summer snacks and goodies to add to our spread of food. There was a lot of food to eat!


Tom was also demonstrating the Pilot Parallel modified 6.0mm nib that writes like a folded nib. "Ooohs" and "aaahs" could be heard from the gathering of on-lookers. The pen was inked with Lamy Dark Violet.


One of the highlights of the event was the huge door prize giveaway. We received great support from our vendors, who graciously provided us with plenty of goodies to giveaway. We raffled off a Retro 51 Spaceglow, which was released back in 2010 and we would estimate is worth now about $100. We also had a Caran d'Ache Essentially Swiss ballpoint pen, several Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop ballpoint pens, a Lamy logo ballpen, Filofax notebook, Pilot sport water bottles, totes and desk caddy organizers. We had so many prizes that everyone who attended received something!

Overall, it was a fun afternoon enjoyed by all. We're already talking about making it a bigger event next year. Perhaps this is just the beginning of a beautiful, yearly event. If you're in the NJ metro area, would you be interested in coming? Please let us know below in the comments.

8.16.2016

The First Annual Goldspot Pen-B-Q

Burgers. Dogs. Drinks. Pens and Inks.


Please allow us to introduce our inaugural Pen-B-Q, hosted by the NJ Pen Club and yours truly at Goldspot Pens.

We cordially invite pen enthusiasts from the New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania metro area to come and enjoy some good company on Saturday, August 27th at 1pm.

The pen meet / cookout is being held at our office parking lot at 1230 State Highway 34, Aberdeen, NJ 07747 (we're right next to Dyke's Lumber).

Come meet with local pen enthusiasts, check out our selection of writing instruments and sample inks. We will have door prizes that will be raffled off for all attendees. The event is totally FREE.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Tom@goldspot.com and let us know how many people you expect to bring with you. We need to make sure we have enough food and drink for all!