as a fun study in contrasts (for me at least, i am easily amused.) i decided to follow yesterday's $300 pen set for one that will set you back less than $10. if you are roughly as old as i am or younger you probably have used these pens, in fact i was a little surprised to see that they are currently still in production and for sale not only online but worldwide and in actual stores like walmart, target, staples and pretty much everywhere art markers are sold. the particular pen that i used for this review has somehow survived at least ten years and several hundred miles that i moved during my twenties. this is happening, today's pen is the sanford mr. sketch scented watercolor marker, although it is probably remembered as the only markers that we were not only allowed to sniff, but kinda encouraged to. it kinda reminds me of those fake cigarette candy sticks that had a hole running down the length with powdered sugar inside, or the bubble gum cigarettes... yes, those did exist (and actually still do except they no longer can "puff" powder sugar out, the tip aren't dyed red and they are called candy sticks.)
but i digress.
these pens came in a variety of colors, limited in scope to the amount of "non-toxic" odors the were legally allowed to use. (i'm not saying that's accurate, just that it sounds as plausible as any other reason)
the reason that i was a bit surprised that they were still being made is that, even in the second grade i knew that all these pens had going for them was that they smelled nice and that, sadly, that did not translate to them tasting good - don't judge, you know you tried it too.
so other than the scented factor there really aren't any reason to buy these over say, a crayola set. the felt tip wears down extremely fast, especially when you consider that these pens are used by children, and children are hard on delicate things. they dried out quickly with use or if you left the cap off, water could kind of re-activate them but once dry, you might as well throw it out. these pens are smooth, good glide, thick bodied for little fingers, and messy, the ink will stain your hands and clothes, even if you're careful you'll probably end up with ink on the heel of your hand. so consider that before handing these over to a child.
i wouldn't recommend these pens, they don't send a good message about sniffing things like paint or markers, there are cleaner tools out there, they are not durable (the only reason i had one still was that it somehow survived years of pen purging, that i haven't used it at all, and will be discarding it after this post.) basically, if you want to get a kid a pen set go with crayola or rose art. you'll have better results with those brands.
it seems that sanford has opted not to include this product line on their website: http://www.sanfordb2b.com
you can find more information on these pens here: wikipedia and here: staples
what they say:
(edit: for a nsfw version of the third sketch go here: nsfw)