Oh My Word – on Pens

Whether you like art journaling, journaling on your scrapbook pages, hand lettering or sketching with pens – PENS are important tools in your arsenal.


Over the years I’ve gone through several different pens and so I thought I’d give you a review in black and white of the most notable ones.  I haven't had enough experience with dip pens to have formed an opinion on them, yet.


Who isn’t looking for that perfect white pen? I have four white pens that I work with and only one of them is one I’d chuck into the bin.




Montana Paint Marker, Extra Fine, Shock White Pure. I love the thin writing line. While it doesn’t always flow as smoothly as I like, the paint is waterproof and that is the only reason that I don’t only use the…

Uniball Signo UM-153 White. Smooth as silk. They call it the ‘broad’ line pen. It is the most white, lovely writing I can get. Very consistent. Alas, not waterproof – otherwise I would never stray.


Liquitex Paint Marker, Titanium White. A nice 2-4mm line. Thick white line. Waterproof. For me, much more consistent than a Sharpie.

Bad and Ugly

Ranger Inkssentials Opaque Pen – splotchy, grabs the paper and when it does write, it usually leaves an ink trail along the outside of the stroke, with the ink flowing around the ball instead of smoothly. Not waterproof.





Marvy LePen Technical – I know, you are surprised. But I find them to have a more consistent nib than the Copic Multi-liner for a smooth ink flow. I like varying line widths – and for this alone, Copic Multi-Liner and Marvy LePen Technical Drawing Pen get high marks for the range of line widths available. But when it comes down to it? I really only need fine and thicker.

Uniball Vision Needle – micro and fine are so similar that there is no point to getting both.

Uniball Signo UM-153 in black. SMOOTH again. Like its white counterpart, writing with this pen is simply a joyful experience. If I had only ONE PEN in my traveling bag, it would be this one.


Zebra Mackee Pro Multi-Surface DX. Ironic that they call it a fine point. For me it is the perfect nice wider line when you want to call something out in your lettering or drawing. Consistent. Writes on everything.

Variable Line

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Hard. Great variable line depending on the pressure you apply to the nib. The fine cross hatching you can achieve and the drawing line make it a favorite. But for writing I prefer the Uniball styles mentioned. For general sketching – this one wins.

Bad and Ugly

Variable Line

Akashiya Sai ThinLine Brush Pen – Extra Fine in Sumi Black. Very inconsistent ink flow. I was looking for something in a brush pen that would work like, well a well-loaded brush. This is not that pen. The only reason is doesn’t go into the bin is that when you go for a wide mark with the brush, it actually looks like you are running out of ‘paint’ on a brush. And for a more painterly look, it works. But not well enough to recommend that you buy it.


Pilot Hi-Tec C Gel Ink Pen .04 Black. Not any better than the Uniball Needle or Signo and it bleeds when wet.

So that's my word on pens. Do you have any favorites that I haven't listed?

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