Gel pens are now as ubiquitous and dependable as pencils, and the Paper Mate brand has a similar vibe to it. Can the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pen range do something special with coloured gel pens, and does this make them a useful and exciting art tool? We test out the Papermate Inkjoy 0.5 gel pens in 4 vibrant colours to see if this product of brand franchising and international stationery production outsourcing is actually a special thing hiding in plain sight. Watch the episode for more.
Reviewing Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens
Vishal: Welcome to Stationery Test Drive where we put our hearts into everything and sometimes double the hearts as is the case with this week’s test drive tool. I’m Vishal.
Minjal: This is Minjal.
Samir: I am Samir.
About Paper Mate Company
Vishal: So, Paper Mate, those 2 hearts, that’s a part of their logo in all their things, isn’t it?
Samir: Yes, the Paper Mate company is much older than the name Paper Mate. I think in the 1940s they started as the Frawley Pen Co. I assume the person who started it was called Frawley. And they were one of the pioneers of the ball point pen.
I am guessing there’s this very dramatic novel / movie that could be written and made on the heyday of the ball point pen. We’ve already spoken about some of the adventures of Milton Reynolds from the Reynolds Co. and the BiC and the Biro. So Paper Mate was also one of those initial pioneers in making the ball point pen the ubiquitous thing that it is.
I think they took on the name Paper Mate much later on, a few decades later if I’m not mistaken, but the point is that in the 1950s they were one of the first people to have these kind of mass market ball point pens. And it was a big enough industry and a new enough thing at the time that they had gigantic marketing budgets.
We’ve spoken about this in the BiCs as well that it was also similar there where they spent a lot on marketing. The Paper Mate pens had a marketing budget of 2 million dollars in the 1950s. They had major Hollywood stars in their ads.
Vishal: And just like BiC there is a connection to shaving goods, isn’t there?
Samir: Yes, because the Paper Mate Co. of course lasted for a very long time and continues but its original owners eventually sold it off to Gillette and from Gillette who actually owned a fair no. of stationery brands at one point, it went into the hands of the Newell Brands Co. which also owns Reynolds and several other brands we’ve covered.
Vishal: So the interesting thing about this and we are in india right now, this pen is manufactured in India, but you don’t get it in India, at least at retail, not easily.
Minjal: So, we believe that some part of the range of the Paper Mate Stationery objects are manufactured in India. The InkJoy variant I’ve checked on Amazon, a set is actually available for Rs. 2500 /-.
Vishal: Which is what, 30 dollars? That seems like a lot!
Minjal: Exactly! And the Paper Mate Inkjoy is quite reasonable in the US. These would easily be available for under 20 dollars or even 15 dollars.
Samir: Like a lot of brands that we have covered that are owned by Newell Brands, they kind of outsource their production to India and they have been doing that for decades.
I think when we covered the Luxor Highlighters, when we were reading up on those, we came across the fact that Luxor used to or maybe they still do, manufacture things under the Paper Mate brand. So, it’s possible that these are manufactured in the same facility but are not available in India.
Vishal: Well, all I want to say to the Paper Mate Co. and whoever is making them, please bring these out to India because they are, they literally live up to their name, they are a joy to use. And what we do on this show is find things that spark joy, we are artists and calligraphers and designers and we do test drives. And Minjal has done a test drive of this one which is going in circles.
Mandala Art with Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens
Minjal: While this mandala may look very simple, this is probably the 10th attempt at making it. And unfortunately I was stuck with the DOMS compass. These are the lyrics of the song ‘You want it darker’ by Leonard Cohen.
Vishal & Samir: Oh, yes, yes! Please see our episode for Minjal’s rant on the DOMS compass, please see the episode on Geometry Boxes and Sets that we did several months ago.
Minjal: Compass aside, these pens are really, really so good to use. A couple of observations I had was that firstly they are really fast-drying, they don’t smudge.
Vishal: No smudging, no balling, none of the stuff that you associate with cheaper ball pens and even gel pens.
Minjal: And the colors are really nice! These are good to write with, doodle with, and like Vishal said, it would be nice if they were not so expensive.
Vishal: Yeah, but I think they earn their expense, and we’ll get to that when we get to our pieces. Samir why don’t you show us your test drive?
Illustration and Lettering with Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens
Samir: Yes. As Vishal and Minjal have said, I enjoyed these thoroughly. I thought it was important after I started scribbling with these to test out not just drawing with them which is my natural thing to do but also to write with them.
And, these are really good at both. I think they are a bit unusual as far as an artist pen is concerned. They don’t quite work like the ideal artist pen. We’ve tested out the Rorito Fasty before which I think we really really loved as artists.
Vishal: Yeah, that has a very pleasing line quality.
Samir: The thing about these is that they are as pleasing or even more pleasing when you are actually writing with them. And it’s just a very, as Vishal said satisfying, calm and satisfying feeling of writing with these pens.
Vishal: I would heartily recommend the Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pen even as an artist pen.
Samir: And the other thing that I found is that this sort of hatching that I have done across these ribbon shapes, I should’ve probably recorded a live video of how quickly I did them. These were quick, I did not spend any time doing this. It was just the first try, it just came out this way.
Vishal: And, that’s usually something we associate with fineliners where the precision of the line and the ability to put it down when you want it to go down and yes, I found that as well. I really enjoyed the vibrancy of the colours also.
Illustration with Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens
Vishal: For my test, I just went for the cheap thrills of nudity. And, here is my test drive.
Minjal: That is like some roman sculpture.
Vishal: Yeah, funny you should say sculpture because applying the hatching with the Paper Mate InkJoy pens I must say, is a great joy. You get a great amount of control over it, you can layer it, you can still just put down one section and it’s fine, you can mix colours and that’s fine, you can go back in and finesse it with shadows and things like, all of that works. And that is not actually as common a thing as you would think.
And let me just say that I didn’t have any expectation from this pen. I have seen the Paper Mate pens in stores abroad and it’s always felt like a very middle of the road consumer general use. Like you have the cute stationery with binder books or sketch books or notepads, they never seemed like serious things. But, I was very surprised with the quality that I got out of this.
Samir: Yeah, the point is you can use it in a variety of different styles.
Vishal: And I must say these were not quite full when we got them. They’ve barely used any ink. Usually in cheaper gel pens, I’m used to going through half a barrel of ink on a drawing like this. So, not only is it dry its also quite economical.
Minjal: I actually came across these pens on the Jet Pens YouTube channel. Stationery enthusiasts across the world will obviously know about Jet Pens. We love their channel.
Samir & Minjal: We’re huge fans!
Vishal: Also, this is our 49th episode! And we will be back for episode 50. So, follow us on social media and you can go to inkymemo.com if you want to read through these you can find transcripts of a lot of these episodes.
Find us, follow us, we will continue to do this, stick to this channel because there are other experiments coming. We hope to see you next time. Until then, I’m Vishal.
Minjal: This is Minjal.
Samir: I am Samir. And if you would like to see more of us being awesome, which we are, have a look at the Rorito Fasty Gel Pen video which is one of favourite gel pens. And also check out the BiC colored ball pens which we also tried and were some of our favourites.