Yearly Archives: 2019

3 Back-to-School Bullet Journal Ideas for Students

By Mandy Mair of @productivedoodling

Hey everyone! It’s Mandy here, better known as @productivedoodling! I have been bullet journaling for a little over two and a half years. Every year when the new school year rolls around, I use my bullet journal to plan and stay organized.

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Notebook with to-do packing list scribbled on it, beside a laptop bag and a coffee cup

6 Essential Tools for Starting a New Job

Is there anything more exciting, yet nerve-racking, than starting a new job? Beginning a new position exposes you to new people, tools, and exciting challenges. But being new can also be a little daunting. One way to relieve the new job jitters is to know you are walking into your first day fully prepared for whatever’s ahead. Here are the essential tools you’ll need to start off your first day on the job right.

Infographic of essential items to bring on your first day of work including personal identification, notebook, reliable pen, professional workbag, lunch bag, and confidence

Personal Identification

Unless you completed all your paperwork prior to starting the position, you’ll need to meet with HR on your first day to set up payroll, benefits enrollment, and fill out other company-specific paperwork. Some of this will require a form of personal identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or social security card. Bringing one or multiple forms of ID on your first day will not only show your preparedness, but also let you concentrate on your new duties and responsibilities earlier.

Notebook

On the first day of a new job, it’s best not to rely just on your memory. Bringing a notebook will ensure that you have a place to store critical information such as office procedures, login credentials, security codes, and even your colleague’s names. Choose a notebook or notepad that is easily portable, so you’re able to take—and retrieve—notes while you’re on the go.

A Reliable Pen

A notebook doesn’t do any good without a proper writing instrument in hand. You need a pen that is reliable, smudge-free, and stylish. For a pen that makes a statement, choose the Sarasa Grand gel pen. Its sleek design and quick drying ink is perfect for taking notes on a busy first day on the job. For other great professional but stylish options, turn to the STEEL line.

Briefcase/Bag

You’ll want to make a good first impression when you first walk into the door. Carrying a briefcase or purse not only looks professional, but also frees yourself from carrying belongings in your arms, so you’ll be ready for a handshake without any awkward stumbles. A briefcase or bag also provides a safe and organized place to put important papers or items you’re given throughout your day.

Lunch Bag

The first day is critical for meeting your coworkers and starting to build a working relationship. While it can be tempting to leave your workplace for lunch to take a deep breath and digest everything, bringing your lunch allows you to connect with your coworkers and show you are interested in being part of the workplace culture. Bring your lunch in an insulated lunch bag that will keep everything fresh and look stylish. It will also save you money in the long run!

Confidence

The most important tool you need to bring with you is confidence and a positive attitude. Remember to be true to yourself—after all, it’s how you landed the job in the first place! Show up on your first day with the confidence to learn and grow, and a positive attitude that’ll show everyone you are the real deal.

There is a lot of new job advice out there, but what you bring with you is just as important as what you do. Whether you are preparing for your first job or you are a seasoned pro, these items are vital for a successful first day on the job. You’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way. Learn more about how you can Choose Different.

Illustration of a Fennec Fox on black paper next to a Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil, two Metallic Brush Pens and several Sarasa Clip Pens

How to Draw a Fennec Fox with Zebra Metallic Brush Pens

By: Artist Ambassador Sandra Strait

Hello! I’m Sandra from lifeimitatesdoodles. Today, I’m going to show you how to create a realistic illustration that pops on black paper with Zebra Pen products. We’ll be drawing a Fennec fox. It’s about the size of a chihuahua and is a nocturnal desert animal. Let’s get started!

A grouping of a single Zebra Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil, two Metallic Brush Pens, and several Sarasa Clip Pens laid out on black paper

Tools:

Zebra Metallic Brush Pens
Sarasa Clip Gel Retractable Milk Colors
Sarasa Clip Gel Retractable Shiny Colors
Sarasa Clip Gel Retractable Assorted Colors
Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil 0.5 mm
Black PaperA simple sketch of a Fennec Fox drawn with pencil in circular motions

Shapes

The Fennec fox in this drawing is curled up, so the shapes are mostly circles. Start by creating a circle for the head and another for the body. Once you have these two circles in place, you can begin adding more detailed shapes, such as the almond eyes, pointed ears, and so on.

Sketch of a Fennec Fox in pencil on black paper

Step 1

Now that you’ve had some practice, sketch out the fox using the same techniques we reviewed earlier, only this time on black paper with the Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil. I like this pencil because it shows up on black paper, but the brush and gel pens we’ll be using later easily cover it up once the artwork is complete.

Sketch of a Fennec Fox on black paper with bronze strokes creating the illusion of hair

Step 2

Use the Zebra Metallic Brush Pen in bronze to begin creating the fur. Your strokes should show the direction and length of the fur. I used shorter strokes around the face and ears to indicate short hair and used longer strokes on the bushy tail.

This color creates a beautiful base that will be blended into other colors, but will leave the impression of fur glinting in the moonlight. Make sure to leave lots of black space. We’ll be filling in this space later with more precise detail.

Illustration of a Fennec Fox drawn on black paper with colored with Zebra Pen Metallic Bronze Pens

Step 3

Create highlights for the eyes with the Sarasa Clip Gel Retractable Pen in the Milk White color. Then, color in the surrounding area around the eyes with the Shiny Gold shade.  Add highlight on the nose with the Milk Blue Green color.

The Milk White and Milk Blue Green colors of the Sarasa Clip gel pens create a soft cool glow on the black paper. I used these colors to then create the lightest fur. Begin by filling in the black area we left open earlier, and overlap the edges over some of the metallic bronze strokes we made with the Zebra Metallic Brush Pen.

Be sure to leave some the black paper showing. That black adds drama.Fennec Fox illustration on black paper created with Zebra Metallic Brush Pens and Sarasa Clip Pens

Step 4

Now, let’s add some additional detail. Use the Sarasa Clip Retractable Gel Pen in Brown to deepen the color in the eyes and add shading along the left of the face, in the area between the nose, leg and hip and all along the bottom of the fox.

Overlap the metallic bronze color with strokes of the Sarasa Clip in Shiny Orange. Use it to brighten the areas along the back, the top of the hip, and the center of the face and tail.

If you feel some lines need to be blacker, especially around the eyes, nose and face, use the Sarasa Clip Retractable Gel Pen in Black to darken the area back to the color of the paper.

Assess your drawing and add more of the colors as you feel they are needed.

Final illustration of a Fennec Fox laying curled up in the grass on black paper

Step 5

Make additional strokes and dots with the Zebra Metallic Brush Pen in Gold to draw sand around the fox. Blend it with strokes of the Milk White and Milk Blue Sarasa Clip Gel Pens. Use these pens to draw abstract shapes in the background.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I love the way the Zebra Metallic Brush Pens and Sarasa Clips stand out on black paper. If you want learn how to hand letter with the same Metallic Brush pens, check out Erin’s tutorial.

A Navy Sarasa Grand Retractable Pen transposed next to a Smoke Blue Mildliner Double Ended Highlighter & Creative Tool

7 Ways to Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

When it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want, what do you do? How do you handle work and personal life? Work-life balance is something everyone struggles with at one point or another, but it is achievable. Just like anything else, it takes skill and practice. Check out our 7 tips to help achieve a better balance, and to start feeling happier both in and outside of work.

Set Realistic Goals

Everyone has goals they want to achieve in both their professional and personal lives. But sometimes we reach too far or make our goals too big and as a result, they become overwhelming and feel unachievable. Start by setting realistic, SMART goals; ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. These types of goals can be tackled by breaking them up into smaller steps and goals. You’ll feel satisfied achieving small wins along the way and stay motivated to move towards the next step.

Learn to Say No

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and work starts to spill into personal time, it’s often a sign that you might have too much on your plate. Learning how to say no is critical in achieving better work-life balance, but it will first take some practice. Get comfortable with your assertiveness by practicing during situations where the stakes are lower. This can help you build courage to say no in more difficult situations—after all, confidence is a muscle we all need to exercise. You’ll find that you’ll feel happier and more balanced when you prioritize what you really want and say no to things you don’t.

Be a Planner

Still feeling like there’s never enough time for everything? If so, you might not be scheduling your time effectively. Putting your to-do’s on paper in a planner can help you become better at time management, and more easily keep track of events, appointments, errands, and tasks. The smooth flowing ink of the STEEL G-402 Gel Retractable Pen makes creating lists easy, while the STEEL PM-701 Permanent Marker is perfect for drawing attention to your most pressing tasks.

Concentrate on One Thing

Take every day and every task one step at a time. Oftentimes when we think we’re multitasking, we aren’t really doing two things at once—but instead, doing individual actions in rapid succession. Take a task, whether it be professional or personal, and give it your full attention. Finish the task, and then move on to the next one. Being “where your feet are” allows you to be present in the moment and focus more clearly.

Have the Right Tools

Whether it’s needing a specific piece of software to better perform a function in your work role or having the right pen in hand to help you stand out in your office meeting, having the right tools matter. When you’re equipped with products that are reliable and high quality, you perform better, too. The Sarasa Grand Retractable Pen combines quality performance and style, making it the perfect tool for crossing off your to-do list and making a great impression. If you’re looking for durability and reliability without compromising on sleekness, look no further than the STEEL F-701 ALL METAL Ballpoint Retractable Pen.

Disconnect from Time to Time

It’s easy to get sucked into tasks and feel like you have to be available 24/7 for both life and work. Taking time to disconnect from the outside world can be difficult, but it is necessary. Put down the phone, put away the computer, and take a deep breath. Giving yourself time to disconnect can help you refocus and go back into work refreshed and ready to take on anything that comes your way!

Practice Self Care

Being burnt out can affect not just your mental wellbeing, but also your physical health. In order to destress and restore, we recommend intentionally setting aside time to practice selfcare—otherwise, it may never be a priority. Do the simple things that will make you feel better; Drink lots of water, take a walk, unplug, and take quiet time when it’s necessary. Taking care of yourself will positively effect both your work life and your personal life.

Attempting to find work-life balance can be tricky but if you start with small steps, you will see how they lead to big changes. There are many benefits of work-life balance but the biggest is being able to enjoy both separately. You can love your job and love your downtime without sacrificing either.

Preview of the August bullet journal design created with Zebra Pen Mildliner Highlighers and Zensations Brush Pen

3 Summer-Themed Bullet Journal Layouts to Simplify Your Life

By: Fatimah of @studychaii

Hi! It’s Fatimah from @studychaii and I’m here to introduce you to different ways you can use your creativity to effectively bullet journal over the summer. Summer can always become a bit hectic, so creating organized monthly spreads can help keep you grounded and ready for summer productivity. Here are some ideas you can implement into your own bullet journal!

July bullet journal monthly design featuring sea creatures drawn with Zebra Pen Mildliner Highlighters and Zensations Brush Pen

*The specific Sarasa Clip design pictured on right only available in the Japanese market.

July Bullet Journal Design

For the July bullet journal design, I created a simple calendar in my journal. Keeping a calendar will allow you to view your summer days collectively. It will also help you to plan your days and responsibilities accordingly. If your summer month is going to be very busy, I also recommend using the color-coding system to make sure you can distinguish different events throughout the month!

For this design, I used the Zebra Pen Zensations Brush Pen and the Zebra Pen Mildliner Double Ended Highlighter & Creative Tool. I used the brush pen to draw out my doodles all around the page and am in awe of how it turned out! I love how the brush pen is flexible yet stable, allowing me to outline my illustrations with control and produce doodles with variability in line width. This effect helped make it appear more comical. In addition, the use of the Mildliners helped my summer events to stand out with its colorful pigmentation.

Weekly timetable bullet journal design for August. Features hot air balloon drawings created with Zebra Pen Sarasa Clip gel pens and Zensations Brush Pen.

August BUJO Design

For the next bullet journal design, I created a weekly timetable for each day of the week. Timetables are a more in-depth way of planning your days, since you are planning your days by the hour. Now that time is incorporated into your planning, it can help develop a habitual routine. This method of determining whether your responsibilities can fit in a day makes it easier to accomplish your summer goals! The reflection section at the bottom can help sort out your days, as you can include ways in which you can change or add to your timetables after a week of following your routine.

In this design, I’d like to highlight my use of the Zebra Pen Sarasa Clip Gel Retractable Pens in the Milk Colors and the Mildliners. The milk colors were perfect for the soft colored theme I was aiming for. I used the Sarasa Clip gel pens to color in my doodles with a lined pattern and went in with the Mildliners on some of the illustrations in order to add variability in texture. I then went in with the same pattern on my timetable. Adding color can help important or habitual events in your timetable stand out as well!

Reflection bullet journal design for September created with Zebra Pen Mildliner Highlighers and Zensations Brush Pen

September BUJO Design

For the last bullet journal design, I created a September reflection page. In this spread, I decided to write out my September goals, and reflect back on my accomplishments and highlights of my July-August summer. This reflection serves as a way for me to learn from events that took place in the summer and help motivate me to do more amazing things for others and myself.

In this design, I used the Mildliner Double Ended Highlighters and Zensations Brush Pen. The double-sided feature of the Mildliners really helped bring my spread to life. I used the fine end of the highlighter pen to outline the words and the images and used the bold end of the pen to color in small doodles I had drawn around the page. In this way, the coloring balanced out! In addition, I used the brush pen to letter small words as mini headers to the sections of the spread. The versatility in this brush pen contributed a great deal to the collection of summer spreads, as it allowed me to letter in huge letters for heading, and in small letters for mini headings!

Thank you for reading and I hope this helped. I wish you all a very productive summer!

Drawing of a Grevy's zebra created with a STEEL F-301 Ballpoint Pen

What You Can Do to Help the Grevy’s Zebra

Educational infographic of the Grevy's zebraThe Grevy’s zebras are in grave danger. Just a few decades ago in the 1980’s, there were approximately 15,000 in population. Over the last 30 years, that number has dropped almost 80% and today, fewer than 3,000 remain. About 2,812 of these special zebras live in Kenya and 230 live in Ethiopia.

At Zebra Pen, we strive to celebrate uniqueness and individuality in everything we do. Our spokesanimal Zen, a Grevy’s zebra, is an important part of our culture and represents this commitment to honoring individuality.

Learn how you can make a difference in helping to save the Grevy’s zebra with these tips.

Learn About Conservation Efforts
Education is key to helping the Grevy’s zebra because more you know, the more you can help! You can visit Grevy’s Zebra Trust to learn all about the animals themselves but also the conservation efforts this organization is leading.

Practice Ecotourism
Practicing ecotourism is a great way to help many endangered species. When you are on vacation, visit or volunteer with organizations that help protect wildlife.

Spread the Word
Be an advocate for the Grevy’s zebra. Tell their story to your friends, family, or on social media. By spreading the word, we can reach more people who can help.

Opt for Vegan Clothing
Avoid animal-skin products that support illegal hunting of these animals.

Provide a Donation
You can also provide monetary donations to the Grevy’s Zebra Trust where all the money goes directly to the conservation of the Grevy’s zebra.

 

"Love" hand lettered with Zebra Pen Metallic Brush Pens

Hand Lettering Tips for Beginners Using Zebra Metallic Brush Pens

Hey everyone! It’s Erin from @the.lettering.fern and I am here to tell you all about the Zebra Metallic Brush Pens. I’ve tried many different Metallic Brush pens and these Zebra ones are some of the best! They POP on black paper, write smoothly, and have a great flexible brush tip. The pens have plenty of ink to give you those juicy downstrokes when hand lettering.

There are 3 parts to this hand lettering tutorial: Basic strokes, some letter connections/words, and finishing up with a small project. The Metallic Brush Pens from Zebra Pen have a soft and flexible tip, so you can get a variety of stroke sizes. Let’s get started.

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Photo of two Grevy's zebras, alongside a water bottle, metal straw, and Zebra pens

Help Save Zen’s Friends with these Eco-Friendly Tips

From the Black Rhinoceros, African Lion, and Chimpanzee to the Asian Elephant, there are many endangered species at risk of extinction. At Zebra Pen, we believe in the wonder and beauty of all Zen’s friends. We’re committed to supporting these animals and helping them flourish for future generations. This year, we are proud to once again partner with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE). The AZA SAFE program strives to keep endangered species safe by increasing conservation action, spreading awareness, and educating the public on ways they can help. Check out these environmentally-friendly tips to learn how you can make a difference for Zen’s friends and for animals in your local ecosystem.

Purchase Metal Straws

Plastic straws can end up in oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water and ecosystems which can directly impact wildlife. Straws can often be mistaken for food by animals, causing them to suffocate or become seriously injured. Plastic straws can also become lodged in nostrils, or cause other serious harm. Reduce your use of plastic straws by purchasing metal straws to use and reuse instead.

Bring Your Own Coffee Cup

Single-use coffee cups can accumulate quickly—but can take decades or longer to decompose. Instead of buying a cup from your favorite coffee shop, bring your own reusable thermos. Many stainless steel cups/thermoses keep drinks colder or warmer for extended periods of time, and they are more environmentally-friendly.

Reusable Bottles/Containers

Speaking of reusable containers, using a reusable water bottle and other containers can drastically decrease your footprint and reduce waste. Each year, pounds and pounds of trash, mainly comprised of plastic items, are deposited into oceans and other bodies of water. Aside from being environmentally friendly, using a reusable water bottle is also more cost-effective than purchasing water bottles, and can help you save up to $200 a year.

Donate to an Organization

There are countless organizations that help support endangered species and their habitats. The AZA SAFE program is dedicated to helping save animals from extinction by aiding in conservation efforts, public awareness, funding and more. Help support these organizations by making a small donation and sharing your passion for saving the environment and endangered species with your friends.

Volunteer Time

Volunteering is another amazing way to contribute and help save wildlife in your community. Organize a neighborhood cleanup, or volunteer at your local wildlife conservatory or zoo to do your part in protecting animals and their habitats. Research opportunities in your area and beyond to help make a difference in the lives of animals.

Making a difference in your local ecosystem and beyond is easier than you think. Incorporating just a few small eco-friendly practices into your daily lifestyle can go a long way. Learn more about how we’re supporting the AZA SAFE program and helping out Zen’s friends.

Five Easter DIY Cards

Hello there! I’m Angie from @anjcreativeletters.

Today I want to show you how to make easy and simple Easter cards using different Zebra pen products!

Let’s Begin!


Card 1: Happy Easter

Materials:

Zebra Funwari Brush Pens

How to make it:

Just simply write “Happy Easter” at the center of the card.
You can use you lettering/calligraphy style using the Funwari Brush Pens.


Card 2: Easter Wishes

Materials:

Zebra Funwari Brush Pens

Zebra Mildliner Creative Marker

How to make it:

At the left bottom part of your card, draw leaves and florals using Mildliner Creative Markers.

At the top right corner of the card hand letter “Easter Wishes” using the Funwari Brush Pen.


Card 3: Some Bunny Loves You

Materials:

Zebra Extra Fine Brush Pen

Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil

Zensations Colored Pencils

Zensations Technical Drawing Pens

How to make it:

Draw 3 bunnies horizontally using the Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil.

Trace your bunnies using the Zebra Technical Drawing Pen and color the tracings using Zensations Colored Pencil.

Write the word or hand-letter “Some Bunny Loves You” around the bottom part of the card.


Card 4: He is Risen

Materials:

Zensations Colored Pencils

Zensations Technical Drawing Pen

Zebra Medium Brush Pen

How to make it:

This card is as simple as Card 1, but first you draw a frame about 1 inch from the edges of the card.

Hand letter the word “He is Risen” inside the frame using the Zebra Brush Pen.

Color the empty space outside the frame using the Zensations Brush Pen. Get creative with your frame design!


Card 5: Happy Easter – Floral Wreath

Materials:

Zebra Extra Fine Brush Pen

Zensations Technical Drawing Pen

Zensations Colored Pencils

Zebra Drafix Technical Pencil

How to make it:

First draw a circle outline centered on the card using the Zebra Drafix Pencil.

Next, draw some florals and leaves to make a wreath. Use the Zebra Drafix Pencil first, then finalize your wreath design using the Zensations Technical Drawing Pen. Color your wreath as you like using the Zensations Colored Pencils.

In the middle of the wreath, hand-letter “Happy Easter” using the Zebra Extra Fine Brush Pen.

The Best Advice for Soon-to-be College Graduates

Graduating from college is an exciting milestone that signifies the end of one journey, and the start of another. With graduation steadily approaching, it’s natural to feel a little lost, and even scared, of what’s yet to come. The best part is, you don’t have to have everything figured out. Your story is just beginning, and it’s time for you to learn as much as possible in the next few years.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Life is all about experiencing new opportunities and embarking on adventures. It’s also about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Use this time and energy to explore new hobbies and interests. If your job takes you to a new place or unfamiliar city, do as much exploring as possible. The most successful people aren’t always those with the best grades or best internships, but sometimes the people who are able to adapt to new circumstances and environments.

Keep Your LinkedIn Updated

LinkedIn is an awesome tool to leverage when staying connected to classmates, former supervisors, professors and more. You can also use it to browse job openings, stay up to date on current events and trends in your industry, and share your professional accomplishments. Be sure to support your classmates and friends on LinkedIn as well and take a genuine interest in articles and updates they post as they are likely to return the favor. Make sure you update your LinkedIn frequently with new skills, certifications and awards to reflect your professional experiences. Ask a mentor or former supervisor to write a recommendation on your profile. This shows you have made a good impression on former employers and would be an asset to a new company.

Ask Lots of Questions

You don’t have all the answers, and you’re not expected to either. Asking questions is essential to growth. It’s also acceptable to make a few mistakes along the way. According to Inc.com, many college graduates set unrealistic expectations for themselves early on in their careers that are nearly impossible to live up to in terms of job satisfaction and lifestyle. It takes time to build your career, and it’s important to remember that your first job (and even your second, third or fourth) is rarely your dream job. Use this period of growth to ask as many questions as you can and learn new things. Your future self will thank you.

Cherish The Little Things

Life isn’t always perfect, but there is something good in every day. Don’t let a bad day or even a bad week stop you from enjoying this time in your life. Go out for dinner with a friend, or attend a fitness class to get your mind off work and unwind from the week. Make sure to spend at least an hour each day that honors you, and be sure to practice self care. Try writing in a journal each night before bed to reflect on your day and keep track of your progress. For a smooth, weighted writing performance, use a Sarasa Grand gel pen. The Sarasa Grand is the perfect pen to bring to a big meeting, and makes a striking first impression. For other professional, durable and stylish pens, turn to the STEEL line.

Honor Your Own Journey

Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” In the age of social media, it’s easy to compare your journey to that of your friends and classmates. Remember, what you see on social media is a highlight reel. Everyone follows their own path in life, and everyone is fighting an internal battle you know nothing about. The path to success is rarely linear, and you have your entire life ahead of you. Be kind to those around you and know that you are doing just fine.

Make New Connections

While it’s important to stay in touch with classmates, professors and past mentors, it’s also important to use this time to expand your network. Get to know your new coworkers and supervisors and take the time to grab lunch with them when possible. Ask others about their experience and use their advice to better your own career.

 Do What Makes You Happy

At the end of the day, life is too short to be anything but happy. Friends, family and the relationship you have with yourself are the most important things in life. Pursue the things that make you excited to come to work in the morning, and never stop exploring your passions. You can’t find true happiness from a paycheck.