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My New Favourite Pen

I’ve been a huge fan of Pilot pens for as long as I can remember, particularly their Hi-Tecpoint V5. I’ve gone through hundreds of these. But recently I made a trip to refill my supplies of V5s, and discovered Pilot’s Frixion line of pens. Besides their silly MBA-speak name, they are awesome.

I’ve fallen for these Frixion Point pens, hard. They are as great to draw and write with as the legendary V5s, but have a new killer feature; erasability. My first thought was “yeah right, that’s gotta suck”. Nope.

They use an ink that turns transparent via friction. This makes it seem almost magical in practice. I still use pencils a lot, especially when starting to draw, when I’m still not quite sure where I’m going and erase to focus my effort. But even with the best erasers it tends to get messy as pencil lines & eraser abraded each other away, which doesn’t help with focus at all. The Frixion pens erase cleanly, the eraser does not abrade at all, and it works with the lightest touch.

Now I jump right onto a blank page with my Frixion pens, having confidence that I can adjust as I go even more effectively than with pencil. The only change I’ve had to make is around how much pressure I’m using. Any small-point instrument can easily emboss the paper as it lays down ink, and these little ruts will remain even though the Frixion ink erases so well. But it’s been easy to use a lighter touch since these pens come loaded with silky-smooth gel ink.

UPDATE #1 (May 31 2014) – Just another reason to not push too hard with these Frixion pens. I was wondering why the black lines I was laying down were not quite as black as I’d expected. Tuns out I was drawing with enough pressure to both lay down a line, and partially erase it at the same time. A lighter touch delivers the deep black I expect, but maintaining a light touch might take some getting used to when writing/drawing quickly.

UPDATE #2 (July 21 2014) – I discovered another quirk with these pens; the erasing action is caused by the heat generated by friction. This is important because if you leave your frixion-ink filled black-covered sketchbook in the sun too long the first few pages will erase! Do not store your Frixion-pen creations anywhere they might be exposed to medium-to-high heat, like a shelf that gets exposed to a lot of direct sunlight.

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