I have a couple of questions regarding the SKB "James Jean" pens.
For those who have ordered from www.skbpens.com is the site and product legit?
Also, how long does it take to receive an order once placed?
Questions not relating to the site:
From what ive gathered, many people call these pens "James Jean" pens. Why is this?
Also, what really makes them so special, technically speaking? Arent they ballpoint pens? I know they allow a kind of gradient and soft stroke similar to that of a pencil....but thats the extent of what I really know about what makes the pen special.
Are there any other pens that function similarly, or give a feel similar to the SKB? I hear the Pentel RSVP ballpoint comes close. Any others?
Seriously, who cares? Looking back at your posts it seems your more considered about the materials than making art. You've made posts asking about pencils, microns, brush pens, even lamps and for god's sake...erasers. The reason why no one's replying is that people are busy making art and not worrying about some pen that JJ uses. Marko uses a generic lead pencil in his videos and I heard Mignola uses a sharpie. The materials don't make the artist.
Well, while this thread is open, could somebody please recommend me a good pen? If anyone actually knows the type of ballpoint that JJ uses that would be pretty sweet, but I really would just like the name of a good ballpoint pen. I've bought a couple pens from different brands and so far they were crap and kept on building up ink on the sides of the nib and then blotching it all over the page, or else the line was just really uneven. I know the pen isn't going to make me better, I just want to know what pen isn't going to crap out on me or blotch all over my drawing.
I think Eddieee and, more disappointingly Elwell's, responses are shameful.
Of course the tools don't make the artist. But, if the tools are of higher quality and some artist is inquiring into which tools are worth spending their, usually few, dollars on, I think that's a valid point and undeserving of snooty patronizing. I'm sure the both of you have spent your time looking for the best whatsits. It's only natural, so don't be hypocrites. I'm sure you ain't using a rock and slab to make art with.
I've used Parker Jotters and Bic Cristals. I prefer the line quality of the the Cristal, but even though they are cheap and easily available, they leave ink bombs at times which can be frustrating if you are trying to be meticulous. The Parker Jotters are beautiful pens...to look at. I have the stainless steel ones and they look like something James Bond would have tucked in his liner pocket. Unfortunately the ink quality is a bit dim. Maybe the Monteverde refills, available on Amazon, work better as said in some of the customer reviews, but the one that comes with it is...umm, nothing to write home about. I've been trying to find Bic Orange Fines. They are not available in the U.S.. They have a .8mm tip that supposedly gives a .3mm line. The SB-1000's have either a .5mm tip or a .7mm tip. The Bic Cristal has a "medium" tip. So, I'm assuming that the SB-1000's line will be noticeably finer.
I ordered some .5mm SB-1000's yesterday, so I guess I get to play guinea pig on the timeliness of their shipping, their customer support, and most importantly of all, whether the SB-1000's are worth the money. I'll post again once I get them.
Also, I mostly use my ballpoint in my moleskine. I like how ballpoints glide on cardstock.
Last edited by Sharkcellar; June 28th, 2010 at 02:10 PM.
I think it's strongly a matter of preference which pens suit you better. I personally like lighter ink and believe it or not I see the buildup of ink around the edges of the ballpoint as a positive (with little effort you can get slight brush imitation and darker accents) as long as you manage to keep it off your fingers. With that said after being a hectic pen collector in middle through high school I have come to the conclusion that (the very cheapest pens excluded) the cheaper the pen, the better. There are also many cheap finepoints but I don't have any at hand so don't remember.
is a very good mid-priced ballpoint. The ink is a bit on the lighter side, they make a slightly fatter line than average but the flow is just perfect: not too slippery, not too viscose. Absolutely no buildup of ink and feels good to grip. They also last you a million years. Design is offputting though.
Ok, here is my review of the SKB SB-1000's. I received them today, no hassles. The delivery was prompt (two days). I received a box of twelve and upon opening I had in front of me...a rather innocuous looking box of Chinese pens. I swear the box looked like something you'd pass over immediately at some swap meet. The pen's barrel is smooth and unflared, rather light in the hands. For some odd reason you can unscrew the barrel to remove the cartridge as if it is refillable. This is mostly likely a feature to make them easily assembled in whatever sweatshop they are made in (pure conjecture). How do they write/draw? The line (.5mm) is pleasantly thin, a huge plus in my opinion since I can't find a nice thin line ballpoint. I'll look into the Pentel RSVP's now since my major gripe with the SB-1000's is that I've found only one dealer and they have no contact info whatsoever on their site, in case there is a problem with the order. Also, at $11.00 for a box of 12 ($14.00 after shipping) I feel a little gouged. Sure, the line is nice and thin and responsive, but these basically cheapo pens are not worth $1.17/each. I'd laugh in a salespersons face if they tried to pull that on me at the counter. I'll see where I stand after I've exhausted all 12, but at this point, I like the pens but they are way overpriced. Also, the creepy faceless quality of SKB irks me a bit. I wonder if James Jean knows that they are using his name on their site...
Pros: Very black line. Very thin line. Very cheap (considering that there is no other .5mm on the market anywhere close, scratch my misgivings about the price before.)
Cons: Inconsistent line. Blobs up pretty quickly. Smooth cylinder barrel makes it tedious to hold, I get crampy.
Summary: This pen is a deal. But, James Jean's work is more of a testament to his skill level than to any "magic" in this pen, as is quite obvious in using the SB-1000. I really like how dark the ink is, but the occasionally misfires and ink bombs make for sometimes frustrating doodling. Not a bad investment, just be prepared for some frustration.
I've discovered a far superior replacement to the SKB-1000, the Pentel Graphgear 1000. I purchase one last week and it has proven its worth. First off, it isn't cheap. A single pen cost $15, but it is refillable and the construction quality is AMAZING. I got it here. Jetpens has proven to be an awesome resource, by the way.
slightly different topic, but you guys ever tried dip pens instead? Apart from having to dip them in ink every time, I find them so much better than any other pen. Compared to a ballpoint, its like a normal pencil versus a mechanical one. You can draw thick or thin lines by applying pressure, its a lot smoother on paper than any pen in general, and you can choose your own ink (especially india ink which is commonly referred to as the best quality ink to use).
If you're interested, you can get any handle you want, though try to find one that's comfortable. And for the nib, I use Nikko G series. You really should get a quality nib, cheap ones can really get frustrating to use. here's a quick portrait doodle I did using mine, I never went back to regular pens ever since I had it. They're used by a lot of calligraphers, cartoon and manga artists.
Another possible option would be the Zebra Technoline, which has a 0.4 mm line in ballpoint. The only thing is that the barrel is fairly short, so that might put it out of the running for some. Check a place like Jetpens for other 0.5 mm ballpoints. I've never used the SKB myself, so can't compare it to the Technoline, which I'm fond of.
Ok, perfect thread since I'm currently thinking of either getting a better quality ballpoint pen or a fountain pen.
I've mentioned this issue before in another pen thread some time ago, but am still having the same problem.
I'm currently using a cheap Stabilo Liner 808 Fine (costs around US$0.60 each). Picture .
After a few days of using, the top of this pen starts leaking a bit. Basically, the ink covers the tip and "ink bombs" the paper if I'm not careful, and I gotta constantly use a tissue to clean it off, which is a PITA.
When I draw with this most of the time, I angle the pen down at 20 - 30 degrees to produce very light wispy lines and lines that almost skip on the page(construction lines), and then when stuff are finalized, I hold it in normal writing position and darken the lines.
Occasionally, I push the pen towards the paper and use it sometimes like the way I use a pencil, though I hardly exert any force.
Is it because of this manner of using that the pen's tip wears very fast and thus leak ink?
I'm looking for a very good ballpoint pen that can withstand this sort of handling. Anyone has any recommendations?
I've also looked at fountain pens but due to the free-flowing-ink nature of fountain pens, they don't seem to be able to produce lines that almost skip on the paper, which is what I want.
And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
I just ordered pilot g-tecs to see how they work out for me.
Copic multiliners are great also but I've been using mainly Pilot DR Drawing pens in the past, I just somehow like them more. I also ordered some Pigma microns to see if they are any different. But one thing that bugs me about felt tip fineliners is that the tip sinks in very easily if you put too much pressure and then the pen is pretty much useless.
I also wan't to start shading stuff with ink but that's quite difficult with fineliners like Copic Multiliners or Pilot DRs so I wan't to try out some new ink pens, that's why i'm interested in these SKB pens... not that they are anything special but hey, there lives a little materialist in all of us.
Sounds like the SKBs are manufactured to Chinese tastes. The screw apart barrel and replaceable ink cartridges are there because Chinese consumers will buy and replace ink cartridges on even cheap ball points. What seems like flimsy construction to the western user is due to differing tastes in pen weight and handling.
i doubt anyone cares about these skb sb-1000 anymore (or s.k.b.? still dont know wtf it stands for... "Some Kind of Bull"? xD), but to explain away their "mysteriousness" i found their website (i guess they didnt pay google enough... srsly it's 2013, they should L2internet already):
these are perhaps, by a margin of ~50% or so, the cheapest pens i've seen around taiwan (usually on sale for 40c USD for a pack of 6, which is ridiculous even for the price range here. 25c if you buy them individually. 33c ea normally priced). right before school start there'd be a big pile of these. you can see that all their other pens are also tailored towards the "economical" users (e.g. students, office desk jobs). feels to me like the "no.2 pencil" kindda deal in pens (since i dont see that many bic's here, which are probably m.i.c).
they're not really refillable... in the sense that buying another pen probably costs you about the same. i think the casing is just whatever cheapest tube they found lying around that could wrap the ink cartridge... for small hands they seem to work just fine.
i remember years ago the "ink ball collection" process during writing was more severe, there would be ink running everywhere. i liked it more then. i'm slightly disappointed now (2013) that it felt slightly more dry and controlled, and not runny. but i dont really use these to make art so i'm not sure what the real effect of the change is. what i do care about is that the casing used to be prettier... they only had blue so it was clear, now they are still clear, but tinted to the ink's color. i dont think there was that ugly color ring either. i also dont really like how the cartridges are opaque, i collect pencorpses so to record that i've actually used up all the ink i have to use scissors cut down on the tube.