easy sits the crown

old crown highgate

I found an AMAZING pen. The Uni-ball Signo UM-151, seemed harmelss enough, but when I picked it up for the first time and wrote my name it was like that scene in the wandshop in Harry Potter, “the pen chooses the artist”. I have to try this out in a drawing, I said to myself. It flowed amazingly, it stayed wonderfully black, and it was just so easy to use. Sure, it could not take a wash – that’s ok. I have a lot of pens that can. But would it work on that waxy smooth regular Moleskine paper found in their non-watercolour sketchbooks? That yellowy paper upon which I have tried and failed to find a pen I enjoyed using on it? (For my Davis Moleskine I settled on the Pitt pens, as the micron just wouldn’t work with it. The one I sketched this in is one I began back in 2006…) Oh yes, it worked alright. I spent a lunchtime drawing the Old Crown pub on Highgate Hill (above) from a photo, and just fell in love with the pen. I’ve already started planning out whole drawing projects around it, like a surprise midfield playmaker. I may even take it to London with me, to meet the family. I only hope the ink doesn’t run out before Lisbon, as these pens aren’t easy to find (I see stocking up online somewhere in my future).

Incidentally, I only ever went to that pub once, but I lived a short walk from here on Hornsey Lane for three years. I used to catch the 143 bus from just across the road every day (that mad dash in the morning, oh London commuting I miss you…), and one day I did sketch it in my old long-ago ‘blue’ sketchbook, but never drew it again. I took a photo on a trip a few years ago and am only now drawing it. It’s a cool building, in an area of cool buildings.

Drawing with uniball signo

The pens have a new king.

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7 thoughts on “easy sits the crown

  1. YC in Seattle says:

    I <3 that pen too! You can get them (in many colors and tip sizes) reliably at the Kinokuniya stationery store in SF, or online at jetpens.com (look up Signo DX). Once the ink dries, they're really very liquid resistant and wash friendly. I've tried water, alcohols, all kinds of solvents. It might be the waxy "sketchbook" Mole paper that's making the ink slow to dry?

    • pete scully says:

      Yes someone else mentioned those places too. I want to go to that store because i hear they also have the fabled hi-tec C pen, but don’t know when i’m next in the city. I always prefer to try pens out before buying, but it looks like I’ll be ordering online. As for the wash, I tried it on several papers with lots of time to dry and the results were the same for this ink. I’m used to micron pens and the uniball vision micro where there is no bleed from any type of wash, straight away, as i usually put my watercolour wash on immediately. But this pen is absolutely perfect for non-wash drawing as it functions so well and does exactly what you ask, on any paper, and feels so nice to draw with, like driving a Jaguar.

      • YC in Seattle says:

        So, I just tried it… and mine bled too. :P Wonder if they changed the ink. I guess I’ve been doing ink sketches with my fountain pen for too long! Anyhow, the Hi-Tec-Cs are just a little more free-flowing with the ink, and they bleed even more. FYI :)

    • pete scully says:

      Ah! Cheers for the tip. I went onto Jetpens earlier and ordered a load of these pens (in various colours) and a couple of hi-tec C as well. I did a sketch at lunchtime though, where I sketched on top of dry watercolour paint, and it doesn’t bleed that way… Still, this is super-perfect for my non watercolour sketches. I’m well excited about getting the new pens.
      Like I don’t have enough pens already…

    • pete scully says:

      ah yes, i know the place. I dont think I went there either though, on a different stretch of highgate than where i lived. I used to go to the angel inn, or to the king’s head down in crouch end.

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