Confessions of a Gel Pen Addict
All my writing books, creativity books and journalling books start off the same, "Get yourself a blank book and good pen that makes you happy and WANT to write." The idea behind this is that if you get a book and pen you like, that you'll be compelled to write often with the item you purchased. While it seems a bit capitalistic, I have to agree. As a matter of fact, I am making a public confession. I am addicted to gel pens. Gel pens are my ultimate writer's tool.
It's a horrible addiction I tell you. I write on black paper, with shiny colored pens. My favorite colors include blue and purple and green. The brighter the color, the more neon it can be, the better the ink shows up on the black paper. I'm such a color snob that I remove all the reds and pinks and take those into work. I write notes with those and annoy my coworkers with them as they get stunningly bright, on the white paper, under the fluorescent lights.
I even like gel pens with glitter. Which goes against my Gothy nature. And actually glittered pens work better sometimes. But, the type of gel pen that I love most isn't dependent on glitter or color or packaging. It all boils down to just one thing, the brand. Every trip to the grocery store, every trip to Craft Warehouse or Office Max, is not complete unless I can track down new sources of pens. It's been my quest, for several years now, to find the best, quality and price, set of pens. So far the best pens I have in my collection are Yasutomo Gel Xtreme brand. Stores that sell them make me the happiest girl ever. And I buy the packs in bulk, sometimes decimating the stock in seconds. If they don't, I scowl and am forced to look at the alternative offerings. They work awesome on both white and black paper and they seem to last the longest. The worst of the bunch, so far, are the Metallic Gel Ink pens by Pentel. They hardly show up on black paper and when they do, the color is all washy and you can barely read what is written.
Flying Colors came out with a pack they claim could be used as crayons for coloring in wide spaces. Even though I had already spent $20 on a case of 40 pens made by Geddes (picked up at Fred Meyers) I had to get them. What if they were the best and I didn't get them before they decided to discontinue the brand? As soon as I returned home, I ripped open the fancy plastic lid and started playing with them. They're okay. But they've got the great Crayola tradition of having fun names for all the colors. Colors with fun names like, "electric orange" and "glitter copper" or "plum".
I took the pens with me to one of the weekend artist play days I occasionally go to. The coloring gels were a hit. Everyone wanted to use them. They'd look at the name of the color and then try and explain why they chose it or how the color represented the mood they were in for the day.
The idea of playing with the pens and making them a part of my writing ritual and daily moods, lead me to start switching between colors in writing in my journals. It also gave me the freedom to play with the pens. Playing with colored words then lead me to draw abstract pictures that then became my first attempts at making art journals where I'd draw out an entry, rather than use words to describe what I was doing or how I was feeling. This has expanded my ability to write and draw and be more creative.
While playing with the Flying Colors brand were fun and the ink best suited for coloring in large spaces, they really cannot top my Gel Xtreme pens. I hope that Yasutomo never stops making this line. They've been a part of my writing ritual for years now. Without my pens, things wouldn't be the same and I'd probably be writing less. So, heed the wise words of the writing books and go out and explore what pens turn on your flair for the dramatic and artistic.