When Do You Throw A Pen Away?

January 13, 2020
Selfie sketched while looking in the bathroom mirror. I used TWO very dry Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pens and worked in a Hahnemühle Travel Journal.

When do you throw a pen away?

Evidently I don’t do it often enough!

I love the way some disposable ink pens get a thin dry line as they run out of in, but lately it’s ridiculous. I need to put out some new pens!

    • Kim
    • January 13, 2020

    Hee hee, when they start to dry out I mark them with washi tape and put them in a special section of my pen rack. Then I use them for texture until no ink comes out at all. Only then do they hit the trash bin.

    1. Reply

      Kim, I use washi tape too! I used to wrap a band of washi tape around pen barrels to distinguish my sample pens when I took a bunch to in-person classes for students to try out. And then I thought it was a good way to keep all the pens started at the same time identified, as when I go to the State Fair and start a bunch of new pens.

      But over time I have gathered so many pens with washi tape on them that I would forget what the different tapes meant, i.e., that they were from this group or that group.

      I still wrap them in tape, but now I also put the date of first use on them as well. (Written on the tape.) Since I don’t always grab one over the other consistently sometimes ones with earlier dates don’t wear out first. So it goes.

      Right now in the TV room I have 9 of these all with tape, lined up on my little side tray—but they aren’t lined up in any order because the tape on their barrels is meaningless at this time. The newest one has no tape so I can distinquish it at a glance, the others I pick up in a handful and use one after the other in rotation as needed.

      I absolutely adore the semi-dry line that comes out of these pens when they are not quite drying out. It’s almost like a graphite pencil line, and so easy to hide construction lines under later established values if I want.

      I’ve even got one right now that has a very floppy tip it’s so over used, and I find that mark has its uses too. But I think it will have to go soon.

      Goal for downtime this evening—sort out the FBs I have on the drawing table in the studio. It might be time for some of them to migrate into another room? I suppose I could just make a huge holster to carry them all around with me all the time!

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoy them when dry too!

    • Paul
    • January 13, 2020

    It does look like graphite (without needing to worry about smudging). There is a lovely and subtle staccato texture effect to the mark making here. You can see well enough to draw THIS with your glasses off???…amazing!!!

    1. Reply

      Paul when I don’t have glasses on in September it means that I have severe double vision. And sketching that way means instant headache which lasts for several days. I still push myself, but this is what I meant in earlier posts about it being painful. Sometimes I can get a headache that will last several days, sometimes I can have a headache that is gone by the next morning. Either way there is sharp pain around the eyes; and nausea trying to look past the double vision which is not correctible, even now with the latest glasses. So it’s a mixed bag. I did one of the best drawings of my life the other day, I’d warmed up earlier, I was in sync, I had only moderate double vision in one eye when executing it, and no headache—but when I was done I was exhausted, and it wasn’t fun. So for me, whether I can draw with or without glasses isn’t the issue. I mark those things down because elsewhere it jives with my headache and double vision log. (I’m still trying to find ways of working that give me more than 2 hours of eye time.)

      Glad you enjoyed this one. I really like the ends of my pigtails. And I look at those and say, OK, it was worth it for me on that evening. Sometimes you see the light coming in the window and you have to do something about it. I haven’t lost that urge yet.

    • Pat Shorten
    • January 13, 2020

    When my pens dry out, I pull off the back or nib (whatever will pull off) and then drop in just a bit of water… the pen works for a long time after that. I think sometimes they work for longer than when they were new. So far, they are just as permanent. I keep thinking eventually they will run out of color but so far it hasn’t happened. I will admit that once in awhile I get one that leaks after that so use just a small amount of water!!

    1. Reply

      Which type(s) of pen are you doing this with Pat? With the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen FB I don’t think anything pulls off.

      For some other marker-type pens I have tipped tips in water and got more life out of them, but I’d love to hear which type and brand of pen you’re finding this works for.

      Thanks for writing in.

    • georgy
    • January 13, 2020

    Me???? I simply LOVE your selfie. 💙

    1. Reply

      Thanks Georgy!

    • Tina Koyama
    • January 13, 2020

    I think you should sell those nearly dry pens as “pre-conditioned,” just like the over-ripe avocados are sold as “pre-conditioned” for guacamole at the grocery store. I kid you not.

    1. Reply

      Tina, now that’s brilliant!!!! You made my day!

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