· PENBL107A - Pentel EnerGel X Roller Ball Retractable Gel Pen 0.7 mm
Overall the pens are the same except for point size. I found them to be comfortable in the hand. I have a small hand but I suspect they will be comfortable for most.
Having a selection of point sizes is nice because sometimes I like to write large, and other times (more usually) I like to write small. And, as Goldilocks would say--the middle size is just right.
The week's been a busy one, and as I waited at the garage while my car went through its 65,000 mile check up (it's a 1993 and only has about 75,000 miles-the proverbial little old lady car) and waited for Mom at the dentist, and stood in line at Costco, I drew. My examples were done with little to no supporting surface, sometimes while standing--just the way I normally use this kind of pen.
I chose to do one set of examples on a very rough, handmade kind of paper with inclusions of leaf and other matter. The other set was done on a smooth, higher quality paper. And, of course I did some writing.
The rough paper is one that I've known to cause bleeding and feathering in the past. The texture isn't heavy on tooth, but it has an uneven weave that can also make writing jagged and cause skipping. These Energel X Roller ball pens slid across the surface, smooth as butter. In fact the scans look rougher than the originals, because some of the paper texture was captured.
I expected show-through because this paper is almost translucent in places, but it wasn't bad. Again, it looks worse in the scan than in real life.
The 1.0 mm and .07 mm point sizes are difficult for me to shade in my normal manner, which is to use very fast, light strokes. Gel ink flows more slowly so the ink just doesn't go down until I slow down. This doesn't affect my writing or my drawing--just my shading. I found the .05 to flow a little better, but I'm not sure if this is a matter of point size or if the formulation for blue ink is slightly different from black.
I drew this double-page spread using the 1.0 mm on the left and the .07 on the right. (I also used the Energize pencil for some shading on the left, but more about that later.) You get the same bold coverage, but the smaller point size does allow for smaller detail.
Overall, there wasn't anything about these pens to make me sit up and exclaim in wonder that they are something different or innovative. But they're strong workhorses that you can write with on cheap and pricey alike without strain on the hand. You can do some cool doodling, too.
And I haven't forgotten the Pentel EnerGize X Mechanical Pencil. The lead advances easily. In fact, I advanced it until it was almost out of the pencil and then broke it off so I'd only have a little bit. Often, I've found that towards the end a lead will get wobbly and just fall out. This one did fall out, but it didn't get the wobblies. It was easy to load the lead back in.
It erases well--not back to 100% if the coverage was heavy, but close. And you can see the wear? Many erasers would be black and unusable at this point.
I'm allergic to graphite (or something in pencil lead anyway), and my eyes were soon watering, so all I did was shade this section of one of my drawings. Many mechanical pencils are unsuitable for shading because they'll streak or are too hard to blend. With the allergies, I don't use pencil often--but when I do, it will probably be an Energize.