Artist pens

Here is a post for members of my sketch club who wanted more info about artist pens.  (I am not covering fountain pens because they are a totally different critter and require their own post.). If I post something without visuals, no one will read the post, so enjoy the sketches. 😂

First rule of thumb, buy a pen that contains permanent ink or your sketch will die a slow fading death…..

Bic pens are awesome to use for sketching but as anyone who has left a post it on the wall knows….Bics can fade, especially if left out in the light. They are great fun to sketch with so I usually use them in my morning pages.

Sharpie “permanent” markers are NOT permanent, so don’t get that baseball autographed with a sharpie, let alone sell a sketch that you used a sharpie to draw a subject.

One of the better inexpensive pens is the Uni-Ball Vision Fine point…the dream pen of Tommy Kane.  I was using the Copic Multiliner SP until I picked up the Uniball.  They are easier to get (no long drives to Dick Blick) and you won’t have a heart attack if you lose them because they don’t cost an arm or a leg.  They hold up to watercolor and Tombows.

There is also acrylic paint markers that is a niche that started small but now Liquitex and Winsor Newton and others have joined in.  They aren’t cheap so keep those coupons handy! Pictured are the Liquitex and Molotow.  The Molotow has been on the market for a while. Molotows are also refillable.  Not a very large selection of colors  but they have a divine neon orange.

Sharpie also makes paint pens.  The waterbased ones don’t give you a headache but the color selection isn’t so great.  The white is handy for adding highlights.

Pitt Pens by Faber Castell come in a large range of colors, sizes and are permanent, lightfast and waterproof.

Copic sketch markers are dual tipped.  Alcohol markers are not usually permanent so be aware of that when using these.

Uniball Signo White pen is awesome for white highlights.

Copic Multiliner SP is permanent and I used to use these all the time.

Gel pen by Jelly Roll. Lots of fun colors!

Tombow – lightfastness is questionable, but for sketches and things to be scanned, smooshing around with a waterbrush, they are fun!  I might have to carry these instead of watercolors!

4 thoughts on “Artist pens

  1. I love how you draw. Of all the pens you showed and listed, I own the UniBall, which is my favorite because of how smoothly it writes (unfortunately of the dozen I purchase, my last one finally died) and the Gelly Roll (white only). My pens I use to write in my calendar, since I can’t draw for any amount of money, are the Micron and the Zig. You can tell I’m a collage and mixed media artist, not a person who draws and paints like you. LOVED this review, though. BTW, I own the smelly Sharpies, not the paint pens.


  2. I love pen posts! I’m a penaholic for sure. I agree with everything you said above and also here are a couple of my brand new favorites: Stabilo OHPen especially the S size. Love it! and the Edding 1880 I don’t think this brand is new but I’ve never seen it. I bought this one in Finland but I think it’s available on Amazon. Lastly, I do like the new Tombow Lettering pens, too.


    1. I just saw the Tombows lettering pens on Hobby Lobby’s website. Have you checked out Drool. I also have the Staedtler ball point pens. They have brown and orange! I’ll have to check out the Stabilo pen you mentioned.


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