Writing with Things 101: The Best Writing Utensils
By: Lily Greenwald
Lily Greenwald was introduced to me through a mutual friend and is someone I immediately clicked with. Lily just graduated from Washington University in St. Louis’ Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts with a BFA and is currently at NYU getting her MA in Visual Arts Administration. As a self-proclaimed pen and marker enthusiast who practiced her handwriting at her brothers basketball games and every other day of elementary school, she is the most qualified person I could ever think of to write this post. Lily has a witty and fun spirit and I am so happy to have her as the second contributor to Friends of FP giving her top picks of writing tools. For all of you who are big journalers, currently in school, or just love practicing your penmanship as well, this one’s for you!
Here is my list of 5 writing utensils, instruments, whatever you would like to call them, to use if you are cool. There are always more to try when it comes to pens and markers, especially for an addict like myself, but here are some basics that will carry you a long way. If you want to talk about the advanced stuff, sign up for next semester.
The sexiest pen in the world that I could live off for the rest of my life. I recommend this pen to every single human being and they respond with an expected “I don’t care” but, if you’re reading this then you do care, so thank you. Now, I’m mainly a thin tip gal (skinny goals) because I can’t write notes for class or work with a girthy guy, but you can obviously get this in other widths (Is that the right term? Look at me masquerading as a pen connoisseur and I don’t even know the right words). I use this pen for the lengthy scribblings because it can fit everything on the page. When you need to squeeze something in-between the lines, this pen is perfect. It allows you to write so small so this is definitely for the college-ruled queens, proceed with caution when writing a card for your family member that refuses to wear reading glasses.
Next up is a new discovery that has quickly become a favorite.
This is the pen to use for when you want your handwriting to look neat. It guides you to make each letter its own independent entity instead of connecting everything to create a weird cursive hybrid. I’m not a fan of Microns usually because they don’t work for writing—if you have the balls to draw with a pen then go for it, but if not skip the originals and go for these hotties. THIS is what you should use to write a card.
My mom knows me too well, but also not well enough? This is what she got me for Valentine’s day this year (along with pink legal pads and a cute to-do list notepad).
Ballpoint pens are the skinny jeans of writing instruments, I used to love them but I’ve moved on. If there was an in-class essay, I made sure I had at least three ballpoints on hand because they seemed reliable and sturdy, but that’s because I couldn’t find a different pen that didn’t smudge with my leftiness. However, in retrospect, the hand cramps I would get from writing fast with something stiff shows they are not the best choice. I told my mom I love a classy pen so she ~tried~ and got me this one (and they come in different, probably better suited for my evolved tastes, tips). Do NOT get me wrong, I am grateful and use this sleek piece of machinery, it’s a fancy pen so it writes very well and I feel diplomatic while using it. I pick it up when I’m relaxed, when I need to get my days planned, and when I’m feeling in control.
You only need one metallic pen at a time, and this is that one.
I know I said I like my pens nice and slim, but for a gel AND a metallic it must have a body, like a fine red wine. What’s more satisfying than writing in a smooth shiny silver? Nothing. I’m more of a gold girl when it comes to jewelry, but for writing, I choose silver all day. It catches the light beautifully and contrasts well with your other notes in black ink. Try it on black paper and trust me you’ll be thanking me later. I wish I could use this pen as eyeliner (DM me if you have something comparable and safe for eyes). It also seems to never get dry or run out. If we’re being completely honest, I haven’t tested out many metallic pens, but why should I when I’ve found something so perfect?
Finally, let’s talk about markers, and by markers I mean this one marker that reigns above all.
It’s like a strap-on where there’s one for you and one for your partner, aka it’s dual sided. That’s not a great simile, but this pen does give you pleasure from both sides 😉 One is a nice fine tip and the other is a beautiful brush. The fine tip end is fantastic for making things “bold” while you write the rest of the material with your handy dandy Pentel pen, mentioned previously. I’ve gotten super into hand lettering in the past few years and I’m only good to the untrained eye, but this brush tip does the heavy lifting. This marker is like nail polish, it comes in too many colors for me not to want every single one. Warning: this is not your classic coloring marker, cherish this ink, don’t waste it on an erotic coloring book that you got in some gift exchange. I personally love to use this tall glass of water-based ink on Post-it notes.
The Cross pen is the only one off my official syllabus for Writing with Things 101 from an American company, the rest are all Japanese. Moral of the story: any pen or marker from a Japanese brand—BUY IMMEDIATELY. If you plan to sign up for Writing with Things 102 with me, the first assignment would be to buy this: Tombow Fudenosuk Brush Pen, Hard Tip. It’s like the Micron I previously mentioned but thicker and more flexible. You don’t have to write addresses on the back of envelopes for a living or be a journal enthusiast to use any of these though, they’re all just fantastic pens, useful for anything you desire!