Jun 12, 2018

Mark & Scribe Travel Makeup Bag: Is it worth it?

With hundred beauty brands giving away free travel makeup bag every holiday season, do you really need to buy a travel makeup bag after all? If you're a follower of beauty videos on YouTube, you probably have come across the Mark & Scribe Travel Makeup Bag by Tina Yong. I got myself one.

I wasn't into it when she first announced her new brand and the product... a travel makeup bag. I was kind of like meh... I really don't need another makeup bag after so many beauty brands keep giving it out for free. After watching her introduction video, point taken, it is sturdy and you're able to personalize your initial. Totally get it!

Still, I find no reason to buy it.

Until I found the true use of it! To carry all my journaling stationery when I travel!!! A brilliant idea isn't it?

I got so frustrated with so many little bags to carry my stationery when traveling. There's one bag for pens, highlighters, and other writing instruments. Then there's another separate bag for washi tapes, stickers, post-it notes, and other embellishments. For a journaling meet-up, I will carry an additional bag of my stamps, wax seals, punchers, etc. Since I'm diving into my journaling hobby really deep, there are a lot of meet-ups with other journalers, so I really need something practical to carry all the different stationery with me. The stationery can cost as much as makeup products. They do deserve a good carrying bag instead of chuck everything into a pencil case.

The bag has 2 sections and the top section has 3 different compartments. The zipper compartment is good for pieces of paper such as tickets, flake stickers, brochure, etc. There are 10 slots of brush holder which I use for pens, highlighters, water brush, and pencils. Under the brush holder flap, I just throw all my stamps, washi tapes, stickers, ink, etc.

And the lower section with bigger space is reserved for my Traveler's Notebook. It fits up to 2 regular sized Traveler's Notebook. There are still more space for you to put maps, watercolour, etc.

I honestly think this is a bag perfect for journaling needs. I will also use it for my makeups in the event I don't want to carry my stationery when traveling. For the two reasons I have, I think it is totally worth it. However, if you're thinking of getting it for your makeup and choose the lighter colour, it might not be a wise choice because it may get dirty over time.

The price isn't cheap, RM388.50. But if you're not earning Ringgit, I think the price is pretty reasonable. I have some Paypal balance left which I can't cash out in Malaysia. Spending USD88 (with discount) for that isn't that expensive. I can earn it back with one sponsored blog post. The quality is good, which I think make the purchase worth. It is made of faux leather similar to Saffiano leather and the hardware are really sturdy. You might get the same material makeup bag from Victoria's Secret, but I want to spend my money on a new start-up instead of a giant brand. There is another version, which is smaller in size that is perfect for jewelry.

Do check out Mark & Scribe if you want to grab one while the sale is on. 

Jun 4, 2018

Brush Pens Review & Comparisons for Calligraphy Beginners

Before I start, I would like to make a disclaimer that I'm really not good at brush calligraphy, nor I attempt to show off my "hideous" handwriting. This post is solely focusing on the quality of the brush pens and what I think as a beginner in brush lettering. 

After I embraced the Traveler's Notebook religion (thanks-but-no-thanks to Alie who converted me, now I have another hobby to spend my money on), I find myself exploring other creative departments as well such as watercolour, photography, doodling, and now... brush lettering.

Related post: Brush Calligraphy Workshop by @NoveByVivient

The conventional way of brush lettering is, of course, using a brush and paint or ink. But now we have the convenience of brush pens that make life simpler. I have tested out 7 types of brush pens and will do the comparisons for its performance, water test, and highlighter test. The pens that we are comparing in this post are:

  • Kuretake Fudegokochi
  • Tombow Fudenosuke (Hard)
  • Sakura Pigma BB
  • Sailor Permanent Ink Brush Pen
  • Pilot Fude-Makase Brush Pen
  • Pentel Fudemoji Brush Sign Pen
  • Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen

For the test, I have left blotches of water on the words for 1 night, it is pretty extreme. And I also highlighted the words with multiple layers of highlighter to ensure the words are soaked up in the alcohol of the highlighter ink.

Kuretake Fudegokochi (Hard)

In terms of writing, it gives a good precision on smooth paper. The sample that I made is using watercolor paper and some fine bleeding is seen, but not too obvious. The tip of the pen is really small and guarded by a plastic to hold the tip secured and doesn't move too much. It has a felt tip. For water-resistance, I think it did a good job holding a pool of water overnight. If you mistakenly pour a drink over, quickly dry it with a towel and it will be fine. You can also use a light watercolor paint on top of the wording after the ink is completely dry. It shouldn't run too much. As for highlighter, the performance is average. The ink follows the movement of the highlighter lightly. If you gently highlight over the wording once, I don't think the ink will run.

Price: RM18.00
The place I purchase: CzipLee

Tombow Fudenosuke (Hard)

The Tombow Fudenosuke (Hard) is probably the neatest brush pen. It has a solid and firm tip that easy to control. This is a good brush pen for a beginner. It is also waterproof and highlighter-proof. It is a perfect pen for watercolor lining. I really recommend this pen if you want to have a good beginner experience. There is really nothing to complain much about the pen, other than it is pretty hard to find in Malaysia.

Price: RM10.60
The place I purchase: CzipLee

Sailor Permanent Ink Brush Pen

I know a lot of Japanese journalers are recommending this pen and when I get hold of it, I finally know why. It has a wide felt tip that is really soft. It has the feel and grip of an actual brush, but the felt takes away a little bit of the natural feel. Because of the effect that mimics an actual brush, you can use this for Chinese calligraphy painting. How cool is that? It also works perfectly for Chinese calligraphy compared to other pens. It is completely waterproof and highlighter-proof. One downside of this pen is the control. You may require some practices before unleashing the full potential of this pen. I hated it on my first try, now I can't live without it.

Price: RM7.50
I purchase from: Stickerrific 

Pilot Fude-Makase Brush Pen

To do some justice for this pen, firstly, the brand did not claim that this is a waterproof pen. But then I think, what is the point of having a non-waterproof pen anyway? It is a pretty good pen by itself. The ergonomics and flow is easily picked up for beginners. I just don't like the fact that it is non-waterproof, that's all. For the price, it is affordable and a good pen for practice. But I wouldn't use it on my precious journal with that ink.

Price: RM5.70
I purchase from: Stickerrific

Sakura Pigma BB

This is my very first brush pen. I have it in a few sizes, all of them have a pretty same consistency in terms of quality. The only difference is the size of the nip. I love everything about this pen, it is waterproof, smudge-proof and highlighter proof. However, for beginner, the brush leans towards the softer side. To have a good control, you have to hold the brush 180 degrees straight. It might be a tough one for those who are used to write in romanized words. But if you have slight Chinese calligraphy skill, this can be easy to overcome. I'm not sure if I have gotten a faulty pen, the tip keeps leaking. Or is it the way that I hold the pen is incorrect?

Price: RM8.90
I purchase from: Kinokuniya

Pentel Fudemoji Brush Sign Pen

This pen is recommended by Alie. She said it's the best brush pen for a beginner. I totally agree! It truly represents the Chinese term: pheng leng cheng. It gives a very clean line and easy to control. If you're looking for a pen to practice - this is the one. It is so affordable, even cheaper than a normal writing pen in some cases. But it is definitely non-waterproof and doesn't work with highlighter. I still love the fact that my calligraphy always look perfect with this pen even though I'm really not good in it.

Price: RM4.70
I purchase from: Stickerrific 

Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen

Of all the pen brushes in this post, this pen has an actual brush bristle. The rest is made of felt or soft plastic, but I really love this one for the real brush. It gives the authentic brush effect (if you're looking for that). It doesn't withstand water, but weirdly it is highlighter-proof. I'm not sure what is the science behind it. The brush gives a bold, strong stroke and the amount of ink can be controlled by putting pressure at the neck of the brush when you're holding it. It has a refillable cartridge which you can replace anytime. The ink runs of pretty fast if you don't know how to control it. It can be a hard-to-use brush pen, but I love that it gives a brush effect that similar to what you can do with watercolor.

Price: RM18.00
I purchase from: CzipLee

After so many pens being reviewed above, here are my recommendations for beginners:

  1. Pentel Fudemoji Brush Sign Pen
  2. Tombow Fudensosuke (Hard)
  3. Sailor Permanent Ink Brush Pen

And if you're looking for a real deal brush pen, I would recommend:

  1. Pentel Pigment Ink Brush Pen
  2. Sakura Pigma

The ones that I think you should skip are:

  1. Pilot Fude-Makase Brush Pen
  2. Kuretake Fudegokochi

Don't just take my word for it. All pens are not made equal. The designs are different and it depends on the individual preference which type we prefer. But if you're a beginner with no direction where to start, you may want to consider my opinion.

If you have any recommendation on the pens I should try, please comment below or tag me on your Instagram. I am always experimenting and would like to know what is your holy grail when it comes to brush pens or writing pens.