Pen Tests in your Bullet Journals

We have previously covered how colour swatches can be useful to artists. Apart from making an aesthetically pleasing page, swatches allow you to take a quick look at what supplies you have, and help you pick colour palettes for whatever art work you wish to make next.

Bullet Journal enthusiasts tend to use pens and fine liners for their journals more than any other medium. As such, a lot of them set aside pages in their BuJos for pen tests. Pen tests are not limited to your regular ink pens, and often include liners, coloured pens, highlighters and what some of us may call “sketch pens”.

A lot of pen tests usually look like this:

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In most cases, it involves boxes that are coloured in. If you want to record the type of tip a pen has, you can also add lines like in the picture above. This is especially useful if you use these pens for hand lettering.

When it comes to pen tests, Tombow pens seem to be the most common ones used. These are especially fun to swatch as each of these pens are numbered. Given the variety of Tombow pens that are available, having a log of the colours and their corresponding number will save you a lot of time when you’re looking for a specific colour.

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You can keep track of what colours you’re missing with a grid like this:

If you find blocks of colours a boring way to go about this, you can also create a gradient zentangle-like pen swatch:

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I am also a fan of swatches like these:

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Remember to include your brush pens in your pen tests. You can test out the colours at different opacity.

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If you use metallic, fluorescent or acrylic paint pens, use black paper.

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You can also split your page spread into black and white like this:

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…Or test white ink on small patches of black like this:

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Some people organize their pen tests by colours.

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The fun thing about making pen test pages is that you can make it into an art exercise. What are the most creative and artistic ways in which you can display your pen swatches? Here are some ideas to get you going:

Ice cream flavours:

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Sticky notes:

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Palette boxes/trays:

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Doodles of the pens you’re testing:

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Do you think pen tests will be useful for you? In which way would you go about it? Let us know in the comments!

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