Monday, September 14, 2009

Pentel Handy-line S highlighters review and doodles

Got a handful of Pentel Handy-line S highlighters among the samples I received from the manufacturer a few weeks ago to try and review. Didn't have much reason to use them since I do not mark my books and I haven't had to highlight any photocopies lately. Finally got around playing with them a bit and found them to be quite suitable for some random doodling. Their clever retractable design eliminates the need for pen caps that could be lost. While they are refillable, I have not seen the refills available for sale at any neighborhood retailer (though they can be found online after some Googling). In my eagerness to check how they could be refilled, I unscrewed the refill on the orange highlighter by turning the push button counterclockwise until the whole fluorescent ink refill separated from the nib and could be removed through the top of the highlighter. Perhaps I did not reinsert it back in place correctly, for the ink flow did not return to normal yielding streaky marks. I removed it again and flipped the refill hoping that it would make better contact with the nib, but the improvement in the flow of fluorescent orange ink was marginal at best. Thus the lesson would be not to tinker with the refill mechanism unless you really need to replace an empty refill.
While probably not their intended use, these highlighters worked pretty nicely for some spontaneous doodling combined with a medium Pentel RSVP ballpoint pen line work. The colors show quite brightly on the white card stock as seen in the digital photographs above. When doodling just for fun, they could also be used for drawing laser blasts and light sabers. Keep in mind that fluorescent inks generally do not scan well, so you might not want to use them for illustrations that you plan to reproduce later. The scanner could not pick up the yellow and orange marks of the test doodles.
I think some of my students will enjoy these samples for drawing and marking their study materials when I give them away as prizes during our upcoming cartooning class mini contests.

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