Getting To Know Azizah Asgarali

by Tony Short
If this next person isn't on your radar, either as a blogger or somebody to follow on social media, I guarantee she will be once you finish reading this Q&A.
Azizah runs the Gourmet Pens website, a site I know only too well having spent an unhealthy amount of time reading her reviews - and don't even get met started on the number of hours I've spent watching her short, yet mesmerising, videos of her writing and script samples. 

1) Describe yourself in three objects

Cat, glow-in-the-dark sticker, terrarium with a tiny pond.

2) Wood or Mechanical Pencil?

Wood! Although mechanical pencils are really cool, I enjoy the smell, feedback, and entire experience of wood pencils. Sharpening, various leads, using different parts of the lead to achieve different lines, finding the lead you want - of course, you can do some of this with mechanical pencils as well, but for me, wood takes the cake.

3) Ballpoint, Gel or Fountain Pens?

Fountain pens, primarily, although I use ballpoints and gel pens as well. I like fountain pens not just for the pretty factor, but more so because of the special nibs and the unique writing experience they offer.

4) Sketchbook or screen?

Sketchbook, if by sketchbook, that also includes any paper or notebook that I can use to draft and write things in! I used to type my reviews but I find that I can think about them better and express myself more clearly when I hand write them. I think when they’re handwritten, my thought process keeps up with my hand, so it’s not running all over the place. Even though it takes longer to hand write drafts, I find it more enjoyable.
I’ve tried all sorts of productivity apps and note taking apps and I never end up using them. We don’t click. I like my lists on paper, even if it’s not as efficient.

5) Tell us about a couple of your favourite materials to work with

Flexible nibs float my boat, whether it’s a steel flex, a dip nib, or a vintage Waterman nib. I love them all! Each one offers a different experience, each allows me to create something unique, and I love getting to know each new nib and figuring out what works best for it. I love feeling the ink between the nib and paper, watching the tines glide, and seeing the final result. 

Azizah Asgarali Image 2
Azizah Asgarali Image 3

I really enjoy the Sailor Nagahara King Eagle nib, even though I’m sure all Japanese users cringe when they see me use it. I know I don’t use it for the actual reason it was made, but I love using it for lettering. It’s broad and juicy, and makes inks shade, sheen, shine, and pop. 

Azizah Asgarali Image 1

I also really, really enjoy the Pilot Parallel calligraphy pens - usually the 6.0mm, because it lets me create some huge, fun things, and at the end, I can splatter ink all over the page to really enjoy the color I’m using. They can be put together to create gradients of ink and there’s a few different sizes - I really love these.
Lately, I’m also really loving the Pilot double-broad nib from the 78G. 

Azizah Asgarali Image 4

6) Which country or continent is your favourite for stationery?

Japan is pretty popular, because they know their paper - Life Stationery, Tomoe River - but also their pens and nibs - Sailor, Pilot, Platinum. Germany gives me Pelikans and a Montblanc here and there. 

7) Apart from your own blog, which other stationery blogs would you recommend following?

My Reader is packed with all sorts of great, entertaining, educational, and gorgeous blogs. I enjoy The Postman’s Knock and the JetPens blog – I learn a lot from them. These Beautiful Pens is another favourite!

8) Do you practice any productivity techniques or hacks?

I always try to do complicated things - I try to work with productivity apps and syncing and all that, but it never works. In the end, all I do is write everything down in a notebook. Everything goes into the same notebook: lists, drafts, posts, reminders, everything. It’s probably not the most efficient or organized system, but it works for me and I like it because it’s simple. 

9) And…we’ve got to ask - what’s in your pencil case?

This wouldn’t be complete without this question! I carry more than a sane person should, I think.
  • Karas Kustoms Bolt - Hot Pink - EasyFlow9000 refill
  • Uni-ball Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip - Black - 1.0 mm blue refill
  • Karas Kustoms Render K - Aluminum - Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4 mm Grape refill 
  • Uni-ball Jetstream Multipen - black, blue, red - 0.7 mm refills
  • Namiki Yukari Nightline Skyline - Medium nib
  • Namiki Yukari Nightline Moonlight - Medium nib
  • Montblanc 146 Bordeaux - Music nib
  • Montblanc 146 Black - Oblique Double Broad nib
  • Classic Pens LB5 + Nagahara King Eagle nib
  • Midori Traveler's Notebook Passport + 2 refills
  • Mitchell Leather Field Notes Cover + 2 refills
  • 2 Midori bullet pens

Azizah Asgarali Image 5

I tend to stick to the regulars for my carry pencil case, and use all other tools at home. I haven’t quite mastered the art of an 'art journaling' or 'snail mail' case. I like the idea of it, but I can’t narrow down my choices enough to make it portable.  

10) Do you have any current projects? 

I do have a few things in the works, some of which are stationery related: I’m trying to learn Uncial, Foundational, and Copperplate calligraphy. I’m experimenting with folded-style nibs. I’m trying to learn Dutch, and I’m brushing up on my French, all of which give me a great excuse to write more. 

Still not following Azizah after this amazing Q&A? Head over to Gourmet Pens or connect with Azizah on Twitter and Instagram. Be warned, though, you may just lose a lot of your time watching those mesmerising videos.