Q&A with Don Clark from Invisible Creature

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Invisible Creature has been a well known illustration and design company for over a decade now. If you are in the design industry you have known of them for sometime. If you are not, you have probably still experienced their work in your local Target without even knowing it. From in-store graphics to the gift cards they’ve created and possibly you’ve even purchased.


They have done so much work in the music industry that you probably have a CD with their designs as well. Bands/artists such as Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, Alice in Chains and Lecrae to name a few.


Or perhaps you have used these stamps from the USPS…


They also designed some posters for NASA including “The Grand Tour” poster that is framed in our offices. This poster lead to a call with Don Clark to discuss the possibility of a collaboration. One year after our first phone call we were excited to release the Creepy Scrawlers, the first collaboration project for Retro.



R51: Would you consider yourself a “pen” person? Have you ever received on as a gift?

DC: You know, before this project I’d have to honestly say no. I wasn’t familiar at all with “pen culture” since I essentially only use a stylus and pencil for drawing. I have some cool brush pens that I use on occasion but my work is created almost entirely digitally at this point. (Cue sad trombone sound here). And I think like most people, we find ourselves writing less and typing much more these days. We have a few ball point pens around the house but don’t give them much thought. This project with you guys was enlightening in many ways and made me think of pens in a whole new light!

R51: Did you know about Retro51 or the world of pens before this project started?

DC: I did know there were nice writing pens out there, but had not hear of Retro 51, sadly.

R51: Do you use a pen in day to day life? Doodling ,note keeping etc.

DC: I would say yes, I definitely do use a pen every day, but mostly it is to jot down a phone message at the studio or for a quick sticky note. I wish I had more time to doodle these days. I’d say 100% of my drawing time is for a client or specific project we are working on. If I am experimenting or sketching, that would usually be done on my Wacom Cintiq with a stylus.

R51: Did you find designing on the pen was difficult? or did it come together really well?

DC: Actually, it did present a few challenges that I enjoyed figuring out. Namely when it came to creating something that was going to be printed so small – and on a curve. Since we had so many characters featured on the pen (and the holder), I needed to make sure that certain elements didn’t become too tiny or obscure. I had fun playing around with stroke widths and sizes to determine how small I could go with things.


(Original Sketch)

R51: Do you have a favorite monster? or favorite 5?

DC: That’s like asking if I have a favorite child! Ok, Ok, it is hard but I think maybe this guy? He just looks soooooooo guilty.


R51: Did you ever surprise yourself with one of the Scrawlers you created? Like you look back and think “that’s crazy.”

DC: Well I do think it’s a little crazy that I haven’t counted the amount of monsters yet … I should do that. 

(R51: there are 17 monsters on the pen and 69 on the packaging)

R51: Did you name any of them? For some reason I felt like this guy’s name would be “Igor.”


DC: I haven’t yet but I think the guy above should be named “Benny.” He looks like a “Benny.”

R51: Do you think you’ll add onto these “Creepy Scrawlers” in any ways? Another poster or t-shirt perhaps?

DC: I’d love to do another series of all new creatures in a completely different color way sometime!

R51: If you were to design another pen theme what would you want to do?

DC: Yes. Birds! 

R51: Would you consider yourself a “pen” person now?

DC: Can I be a Retro 51 “person”? If the answer is yes, then I am definitely a pen person now.

R51: Big thanks to Don for working with us and taking the time to give some insight on this project! We hope you like your Creepy Scrawler as much as we do. To see more of their work check out their website. For help finding a dealer with these still in stock please contact us.


What is your favorite Scrawler?


Do you want to see more collaborations?



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Creepy Scrawlers by Invisible Creature

Just in time for Halloween…


The Creepy Scrawlers come out day or night and are ready to write around with you. Put them in your purse or pocket and take them with you to work or school and see what happens!* You cannot deny their mischievous smiles, googly eyes and sharp teeth, plus they glow in dark! Several fun monsters are printed around this Tornado Popper’s barrel and complete with matte black trim. Each rollerball pen is engraved with the limited edition number and limited to only 1313 pieces. They are packaged in a  FULL graphic tube with even more monsters covering it. Pick one up and be prepared for the adventures you’ll have.

*Retro51 and Invisible Creature are not liable for any mischievous behavior that may occur with them in hand.

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Retro51 is proud to work with Invisible Creature on this first Tornado Popper collaboration. We have long looked up to this design and illustration firm and we jumped at the chance to work with them. If you don’t recognize their name, you’re sure to recognize their work with Target, NASA, LEGO and Nike to name a few. Read more about the design and illustration duo here. Below is a small sample of their work.


If you need help finding this design please contact our customer service. Hurry though, only 1313 were made.


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New Tornado Popper – Old School


It’s back to school time so get stocked up on supplies and what’s more important than a fine writing pen! This new Tornado Popper is dedicated to growing and continuing to educate yourself whether you’re in school or not. When you pick up this twist-top rollerball you control your fate. You are the bus driver for your future. This fun design has been printed with graphics from a school bus and finished with matte black trim. Each pen’s top ring has been engraved with the serial number and topped with a stop sign finial. Old School is a limited edition of 1234 pieces so don’t miss this bus because it won’t be back tomorrow! And don’t forget your cootie shot.


If you need help finding a dealer please contact our customer service.

Life is too short to carry an Ugly Pen!®

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Space Race Apollo Fountain Pen

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission, and Retro51 is proud to present the Apollo Fountain Pen in celebration of the brave men and women who made such an achievement possible. This capped fountain pen is printed with graphics of the Saturn V rocket that launched the infamous Apollo 11 flight. It is finished with rose gold accents, limited edition number engraved on the top ring and graphic moon footprint on the top disc. It is limited to a total 1151 fountain pens worldwide and packaged in a commemorative tube. Pick up your Apollo Fountain before they also become history!
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Astronaut Scholarship Fund (ASF). ASF is a 501(c)3 non-profit that was created in 1984 by astronauts to encourage university students to pursue scientific excellence and ensure the United States would remain the global leader in science and technology for decades to come.
Contact us if you need help finding a dealer.

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The Shield – Tornado Popper


Police officers have the toughest job and we really need more than just one week to show our appreciation! The latest Tornado Popper is dedicated to the blue, to the men and women who serve and protect us. This rollerball’s central feature is an acid-etch police badge in a stonewashed pewter finish with police cruiser inspired graphics printed around the barrel. It is complete with stealth black accents, engraved limited edition number and top ring with shield print. Whether you are an officer, retired officer or the loving family behind them, The Shield is dedicated to you.

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A portion of  the proceeds will be donated to Assist the Officer Foundation – Dallas, Texas Chapter to help provide assistance to officers and their families facing any number of life-altering situations incurred as a result of the officer’s service. For more information on ATO visit https://atodallas.org


·         Rollerball refill – REF5P
·         Limited Edition of 1515 pieces (significant for May 15th – Peace Officer’s Memorial Day). 
·         Standard Tornado size
·         Printed graphics + acid-etched badge on the barrel
·         Top Disc imprint – Police Shield
·         Stealth Black accents 
·         Limited Edition numbering on top ring 
·         Graphic packaging tube

Contact us if you need help finding a dealer for The Shield. For other Retro51 Fine Writing Pens visit Retro51.com

Life is too short to carry an Ugly Pen!®




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Stan – Tornado Popper


Ice hockey is one tough sport. From skating around the rink on blades to slap shots that exceed 100 mph to checking and dropping the gloves, it’s not a sport for anyone worried about their smile. The latest Tornado Popper celebrates one of the oldest and toughest sporting leagues and championship trophy – the Stanley Cup. It has been designed after the hockey rink with the five rink stripes, nine face-off spots, two goals and skate marks printed over a clear semi-transparent acrylic. It’s finished with gloss black accents, limited edition number on the top ring and vintage goalie mask adorning the top disc. Don’t let this limited edition get by the 5-hole because it’s sure to score big with fans of The Show.

Available at participating Retro dealers. Email customer service[at]retro51[dot]com for help finding a dealer.



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NEW Tornado Popper – Birds & the Bees

Let me tell ya’ bout…


And the flowers and the trees
And the moon up above
And a thing called “Love!”

We could all use a little “love” and why not start with this fun Tornado Popper that’s sure to spread the love. You can’t help but write joyfully with this rollerball covered with love birds, butterflies, bees, plenty of flowers and even a stork delivering a bundle of joy. The barrel has been printed with a literal interpretation of the song complete with chrome trim, serial number engraved on the top ring and a bee printed on the finial. Each rollerball is loaded in a matching graphic tube and loaded with a special prize inside (sticker). Pick up one of these limited edition pens and you’ll be singing… Let me tell ya ’bout the birds and the bees…  

Now available at Retro51 Dealers. Contact us if you need help finding a dealer.


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Three New Designs for September

The kids are back in school, the weather is starting to cool down and Retro51 has three new designs to kick off September!

(These are new editions to the Retro51 and Smithsonian collections i.e. they are not limited editions). 

chippino sales sheet

Fifteen years ago, the Retro 51 team took a trip to an old Italian fishing village where they learned of a wonderful dish called Cioppino which inspired a new collection that quickly became a fan favorite.  Fortunately for all of us, we managed to unearth the original seashell barrels and have cooked up a fresh new batch!  The Cioppino Rose Gold Edition features heavily plated rose gold accents that bring a new level of sophistication to the Tornado collection.  The genuine seashell barrels are painstakingly crafted to transform the rough shell into a perfectly fitted piece that radiates color and iridescence. This timeless capless rollerball features Retro 51’s signature knurled twist top and can easily convert to a ball pen with a refill change.

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Think about someone you know that loves dinosaurs and will open this officially licensed Smithsonian rollerball pen. Inside the commemorative tube they will discover a metal pen where you can actually feel the bones. It’s been plated in stonewashed copper to give it an unearthed look and finally top printed in ivory to highlight the several dinosaurs that wrap around the barrel.The top ring has been engraved with the Smithsonian name, plus it’s numbered and then imprinted with the Smithsonian logo on the top disc. This pen is sure to make you roar!

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Amelia Earhart set two of her many aviation records in a bright red Lockheed 5B Vega. In 1932 she flew it alone across the Atlantic Ocean, then flew it nonstop across the United States – both firsts for a woman. These feats made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot. The Smithsonian acquired the Vega in 1966 and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum to this day.

The Vega by Retro 51 has “rivets” acid-etched into the metal barrel with bright red lacquer finish and then top printed with the Vega’s original golden pin stripes. It is complete with antiqued brass accents and the Smithsonian logo on the top disc. It is packaged in a commemorative tube that doubles as a pen stand. Pick up this rollerball pen for a flight enthusiast in your life.


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Officially Licensed Smithsonian Collection by Retro51 (from left to right): National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Corona Pen, National Air and Space’s Vega Pen and National Museum of Natural History’s Dino Fossil. Each Tornado rollerball pen has been numbered on the top ring and then packaged in a commemorative tube complete with foil stamped logo. What other Smithsonian theme should we explore for a future design?

If you need help finding a retailer with these new designs, please contact our customer service by calling or email. Contact info can be found here: http://retro51.com/e_contact.html


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Creative Writing with Rob W.

RETRO 51 BULLETIN by Rob Woodruff


At the annual Ya-Ling festival in Manhattan, two burly knurly-knobbed Tornado rollerballs wearing bandanas got into a Cursive dispute with two elderly Acrylics: an Umbra and a Cotton Candy who were on their way to Lincoln Plaza to view a documentary about Eisenhower. The heated exchange, no doubt fueled by Absinthe or Vino on the part of the masked Tornadoes, escalated into a physical assault in Shark Alley.  


Luckily, two nearby Rescue Retros armed with Easy-Flow 9000 ballpoints quickly intervened to lend a Hand. A Dog, floating like a Butterfly, dispensed a flurry of mixed-martial metaphors and a Buzz delivered several perfectly timed, stinging rebukes that subdued the ruffians until a squad of Desk Sets arrived.


The heavily inked rollerballs were apprehended at the scene and later identified as Bandits Jesse and Billy. Both were described as well-known, brightly colored Poppers always looking to spill some ink. Fortunately, the thin blue line has their Numbers and knows their Agenda but acknowledged they are nothing like the Radicals the Desk Sets occasionally encounter.


Two Japanese tourists, smartly dressed in Blue & Gray Stripes, said they were just photographing the NYC Skyline when the brouhaha erupted like a Lava Flow. The self-described 3rd-degree black belts in Sudoku said they were preparing to intercede when the Rescues appeared like bolts of Lightning out of the clear True Blue sky.


Another witness, Juliet (last name withheld), was overheard saying, “anyone that gets into a scribbling match with those Rescue Retros will be easily out-doodled. If I hadn’t been sitting here waiting for my friends Betsy and Jackie to go get some Hot Coffee I would have missed the whole thing.”


Later, the Buzz, with a Twinkle in her eye, told our reporter, “we Rescues might start out as ballpoints but we’re Tornadoes, afterall, and can easily handle any rollerballs, and we definitely know when and where to draw the line. I would happily Zap those Jokers again, she added.” She and the Dog then departed to a Medley of Cheers from a small group of nearby Elite festival attendees.


The ailing Acrylics, bruised and with minor scratches (but fortunately no chips), were escorted to Dr. Gray’s office for new refills, a brief Infusion of Red Wine, and to have their clips adjusted. Then it was just a quick Zip over to see their Legal pencil to see if charges should be filed. Declining to Bill the distraught victims for their services, the providers said their work for elderly Retros is covered by RetroCare with just a $7.50 deductible. Both victims asked to meet their rescuers to extend their “Thanks” and hope to send them each a Daisy Bouquet.


After hosing the Blue Streak and Bubblegum off the sidewalk, Engine 37 departed with sirens quiet but lights flashing.


As of 10:00 p.m. the assailants’ brother, Sundance, had yet to post bail.


Can you count how many Retro51 product/pen names were used?



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NEW Tornado Popper – Dynasty


According to historians, blue and white earthenware originated as early as the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty and became broadly popular in the 13th century during the Yuan Dynasty. By the 14th century it was mass produced and traded throughout the Eastern world and continues to be popular to this day. The latest Tornado Popper ‘Dynasty’ is printed with a dragon, phoenix and floral motif inspired by these historical artifacts. They are finished with stonewashed pewter accents and complete with the Chinese symbol representing “fortune” imprinted on the top disc. Each rollerball pen has been numbered on the top ring and packaged in a commemorative tube with only 888 pieces produced. Make sure to get one for your collection before they become history themselves.


Please contact our customer service to find a dealer. Email: sales[at]retro51.com or call 972-479-1405. Some dealers will post links within the comment section as well.



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