A self confessed fountain pen geek, Ian runs the really popular and engaging Pens! Paper! Pencils! blog as well as being an awesome sketcher. Ian has put together a great Ask Me Anything session for us, my particular favourite section is when Ian shares his productivity hacks and techniques. Enjoy...
1) Describe yourself in three objects
Pencil, wine glass, house (home).
2) Wood or Mechanical Pencil?
3) Ballpoint, Gel or Fountain Pens?
4) Sketchbook or screen?
5) Tell us about a couple of your favourite materials to work with?
The first has to be the humble wooden pencil, although to be honest my favourite is the not quite so humble Tombow Mono 100. I feel connected to my drawing when I use a wooden pencil in a way I don’t ever get using something else.
Just recently I’ve really got into drawing with the Sailor Fude DE Mannen fountain pen, which is a jolly long name for a fairly cheap pen. It has an angled nib which means you can vary the line width by changing the angle at which you’re holding the pen. It’s very expressive and a lot of fun. I’ve been using De Atramentis Document Ink in it which means I can add watercolour afterwards.
6) Which country or continent is your favourite for Stationery?
It’s hard to choose between Germany and Japan. Germany has Faber-Castell, Kaweco, Staedtler, Roterfaden, but Japan has Pilot, Platinum and Tombow. I think Japan just edges out but there isn’t much in it.
If you ask me about paper, though, then France would win because that’s where Calepino notebooks come from.
7) Apart from your own blog, which other stationery blogs would you recommend following?
8) Do you practice any productivity techniques or hacks?
Oh my goodness, do I ever.
It was Getting Things Done, via Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders, that got me into fountain pens in the first place. Making note taking a pleasure, by using nice paper and a nice pen, meant that I actually took notes. Apart from a couple of years when I went all electronic it’s been an ever growing passion. So that’s one productivity tip: turn chores into pleasures, if you can.
My most useful analogue tool is probably the Tickler File, which gave its name to Merlin’s 43 Folders site and is described well there and in the GTD book. I still use a lot of GTD ideas but I’ve merged them with some ideas from a book called Getting Results the Agile Way, by J. D. Meier.
I use OmniFocus to keep everything together along with notebooks for thinking things through and for keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
As the head of a small but quite complex centre for children out of school I have to wear a lot of hats and keep a lot of plates spinning and if I didn’t invest time in systems and plans it would quickly unravel.
9) And… we’ve got to ask. What’s in your pencil case?
It depends when you ask and it depends which pencil case you mean! My day-to-day pen case is a Nock Co Hightower that contains, today: Platinum President fountain pen; Staedtler 925-25 mechanical pencil, Pilot Coleto multipen, Ateleia Brass Pen (with a Hi-Tec-C gel ink refill), Retro 1951 Betsy rollerball, Nock Co notepad.