Posts tagged ‘pens’
Now that the Silhouette SD has restored my faith in gel pen drawing with a digital diecutter, I’ve been testing various fonts for that single line look. To recap, many fonts will give a single line look at very small sizes (say a tenth of an inch high or less) but ones that look single line when drawn larger are harder to find. MTC has a cool feature to thin out regular fonts for a single line look but an algorithm is never going to match the aesthetics built in by a skilled typographer so the search continues.
I tested the fonts below with Staples mini gel pens, which have a very fine tip, in the Chomas Creations holder. You’ll get better results at smaller sizes and with broader tip pens such as metallic gel pens, for instance. A sample of my results are shown below. Click the image to enlarge it.
OK at ~ <1 inch tall
OK at ~ <.75 inches tall
OK at ~<.5 inches tall
OK at ~<.3 inches tall
OK at ~ <.25 inches tall
All of these are available at fontspace.com. As with the last post, each is rendered at the largest size that will still appear filled in. I’m only printing a few letters of each now for these samples so as to save time and preserve ink.
Another batch of pre-filled fonts for your gel pen enjoyment. Be sure to test a letter or two with the font, size and pen you want before committing to the long drawing process. Take this from someone who has run out one gel pen in the process so far. When you look at the regular printed version of the font, you will see how very different they look rendered with gel pens, and this will help you learn to spot good candidates yourself.
I had a prior post where I gave a rather contorted procedure for filling in the fonts that you draw with Cricut markers, gel pens, etc. Today I had a better idea. Find fonts that already have a “fill” that works with the Cricut. So I tested a bunch of fonts with my gel pens and when one seemed promising, I reduced the size until the fill looked solid. Some look really nice with the crosshatch showing, as well. All of these are freebies from either fonts101.com or dafont.com.
Keep in mind that these take a long time to draw, so plan ahead. If you want to use markers instead of gel pens, there are many more options, or you can use the fonts above at even at larger sizes. Also see this previous post about single line fonts.
Looks like between Chomas Creations (Custom Crops and/or Staples pens) and Cri-Kits we have the gel pen holder conquered. Both holders and the pens that accompany them will do a fine job on small images cut directly from a cartridge as shown in the image below, drawn at 3/4 inches high.
There remains a significant problem when cutting from a computer however. I compared a Provocraft cartridge image with a similar, node optimized, SVG in SCAL and MTC. As you can see, all of the computer-driven versions have significant “jiggle” compared to the direct cartridge image. (Click on the picture to see the enlarged image, also drawn at 3/4 inches high.)
The Chomas holder with Staples pens seems to do a slightly better job with the computer-driven drawing than the Cri-Kits pen/holder (at least with the dark blue pens I tested) but the results at small sizes are still not very impressive with either. (For reference, the top upper case ABC is 1/4 inch tall)
It helps some to increase the size of your images. Here is the same node-optimized letter at about 1-1/2 inches high using 3 different pens. As you can see, the ballpoint Silhouette Sketch pens do not show the jiggling quite as much. It makes sense that the more free-flowing the ink, the more pronounced the jiggle is.
I also tested various speeds and pressures but could not see any improvement. I also tried optimized images (minimum nodes/control points) and polyline images (many nodes/control points) and the results were still unimpressive. My guess is that the disparity has to do with the coordinate systems for cartridge cutting (perfectly matched) versus computer-driven cutting (imperfect conversion). I am further convinced that this is a machine limitation because I’m told that the same files draw smoothly with a Silhouette cutter, and because no one else has been able to show me an SVG that cuts as smooth on a Cricut as a cartridge.
I also tested the Staples ink tube/tip in the Cri-Kits pen shell and vice-versa. You can enjoy using the inexpensive Staples pen innards as refills in your Cri-Kit holder, just turn up the pressure until you have contact with the paper. Unfortunately, the Cri-Kits ink tubes do not work in the Staples pen barrel, because the exposed tip is too long, even at minimum pressure.
BTW, there are lots of great gel pen ideas hitting the blogs right now like this post from my good friend PapaSue , this one from Denise at PaperPastime, this one from Shelly at Paper Flowers and this one from Samantha the Scrapmaster.