What You'll Find Here

I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

I've been teaching both in person and online workshops for almost twenty years now. You can find out more about my classes by scrolling down along the right hand side of my blog. I strive to make classes accessible to everyone (both beginner to advanced).

I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

Thanks for stopping by!

-Kelly

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Pen List




Oh, how I love my pens. Here's a little blurb I wrote about my favorite pens-you know, the ones that work and really write on acrylic paint and what not...

Just so you know, my first criteria in using anything in a class is that I must *buy* it for myself. I must buy it, try it and LOVE it.

Another criteria for a pen to be "good" for me is that it *must* write on (obviously, dried) acrylic paint without skipping, jumping or getting all gunked up!

My final criteria for a pen to be "good" is that it's non toxic or doesn't have an odor to it. I can NOT use a pen that smells in any way. Regular sharpies-NO! (Besides they leave a halo effect on your pages over time). Anything oil based-NO! Anything with xylene-NO! Anything with a bad, scary warning label-NO! I might sound like a pain in the ass, but really, it's what works for me. My boy only has one kidney and I'd like to keep both of mine in case he needs one-or both ;)-one day.

You should also know that I work for ME. I am not sponsored nor do I represent ANY company. I buy my pens from a variety of sources-

the stores I teach at-see the links to the right of this page...all of those stores carry at least some of my favorite pens. I know that Debbie at Frenzy Stamper has LOTS of the water based sharpie poster paint pens in stock and she also carries the best selection of sakura pens. Yes, she will mail order.

When I want a pen fix, I go to Jetpens. They are one of my most favorite places on the planet to buy pens. I LOVE them. They have free shipping over $25 and they are FAST. Seriously. I LOVE this company. It's a small mom and pop company, too-yay for mom and pops! Get on their email list, too. I LOVEEEEEEEEEE their pens. They're the ones who sold me my some of my pen cases that I LOVE...you know the kind that hold a shitload of pens.

Some Tips for Working with Pens and Markers (added 21 May 2014):

1. Make sure that your surface is completely dry if you're using acrylics or acrylic mediums.

2. If using watercolors or watercolor crayons, go over the surface (when you are finished and everything is dry) with a thin coat of gloss medium to seal the watercolors and give it a surface that has some tooth. Keep the application thin and you may have to work in small sections so that the watercolors don't mush around.

3. Keep an even hand. I've noticed that a LOT of folks are heavy handed with their pens. The ink should flow from the pens. 

4. Keep a piece of scrap paper that is uncoated nearby so you can test your pens on it.

5. Test your pens on similar color/kind of paper before you use it on your artwork that way you can see if the color is what you want and if it does what you want. 

6. Keep your pens capped and stored flat when not in use.

7. If you are using a paint marker, shake (always with the cap on) the pen and pump the tip up and down on scrap paper to get the ink flowing.

8. Keep the pens in a cool, dry place (away from heat or anything that will dry them out.)

Soooo in no particular order, here are my favorite pens:

Gelly Roll Glaze and the Gelly Roll Souffle Pens both from Sakura-

Glaze pens
Souffle pens

All gel pens are NOT alike! The Sakura Gelly Roll Glaze and Souffle are the *only* gel pens that I have found to work 100% and NOT skip. I go through the black and the white pens though a lot (I use them a lot though!!)

The difference between the Glaze and the Souffle is the glaze are a "gloss" finish. The souffle are a "matte" finish. They write on most surfaces (including glass, but I don't care about that, I just want to use them in my journals!) The Souffle will write and actually show up on virtually any background-I love them. Keep in mind though, with all of the pens, how they "look" on a page, depends on the background color and the pen color you are using. That means if you are using a red pen on a red (or pink or orange) background, the color will not pop or be as vibrant as if you were using a green pen, for example...

Another thing you need to know, the Glaze pens-there is a white pen and a clear pen. The clear pen is a "resist" pen -think of it like invisible ink, write with it, let it dry and then use a brush marker over it, voila! The white pen is a real white pen (the following is true for both the Glaze version and the Souffle version): it will write clear but dry white! It is a REAL white pen. It is the BEST white pen on the market, IMO. It's $2 of easy love.

Also another plus, you can paint over these pens! YAY!! They are permanent.

One thing: the slower you write the more "raised or embossed" the pens become. You have to write reallllly slow for them to be really embossed. I don't care about this feature of the pens. I just love the pens!!

The only thing I don't like about the pens: they don't label the damn pens. To find out which of the pens is clear vs. white, I have to hold the pens side by side to figure out that the cap that is the most opaque is the real white pen.

The other thing that I don't like about the pens: there aren't any new colors. C'mon, it's January 2010 (I was told that there's a rumor afloat that there may be 3 new colors debuting at CHA this year. Three? Ok, I'll be happy if it's true, but three? Really? With the whole line of COLOR in the Sakura pens and products only three?). WHERE are the new pens?!?! I'll never forget asking one of the "suit men" at CHA a couple of years ago if they were coming out with new colors. He looked at me strangely and said "Aren't the 20-something colors we have enough?" Um. Are you frickin' serious? No. Come on. Get off your lazy ass and come out with some new colors. NOW.
please.

CONFIRMED 1/14/10: Sakura IS coming out with TWO new colors!!! Woot Woot!
They will debut at CHA this January!

I *LOVE* these pens. If you only buy one kind of pen, I would strongly suggest either of the glaze or Souffle! I've used other Sakura pens and other gel pens but they are not the same as the Glaze and Souffle. Trust me on this one.

Update September 2013: BIG TIP: Like most gel pens, the ink should flow from the pen. A few people have had problems with these pens. I've noticed that the majority of folks who have problems with the pens are pushing too hard when they write. Write normal and let the ink flow from the pen. Make sure they're capped and stored flat when you're done.
Uniball Signo white gel pen- I started using these several years ago when they first came to the U.S. I loved how vibrant and crisp the pens were and cheap, too. About $2 a pen. I recommended them to everyone I came across. They were a great pen. The bad thing is: they dry out/run out very very quickly. Also, they are NOT permanent. Once Sakura came out with white pens in the glaze and souffle, I tend to lean towards those instead.

Update as of September 2013: I'm not using these pens as much as I used to. I've noticed that even after an extensive drying time, they are leaving white marks on the pages that are next to them. If you do buy them, make sure that you buy the Japanese version and NOT the America version as the American version tends to dry out very quickly (often times after just a few uses) vs. the Japanese pen which lasts until there's nothing left in the pen.

Uniball Signo DX 151-I LOVE this pen. It's tiny tiny tiny. I love it for tiny writing. Waterproof, too! It doesn't always work well on acrylic paint. 

Update: September 2013: Another pen that I'm not using as much. When I want a black pen, I reach for my .35 Rapidosketch. I can do wonders with it. 

Uniball Signo Broad UM 153 Black-Unlike the white uniball signo, this one doesn't tend to skip as much. The ink flows from the tip. Not permanent but if you want something that writes smoothly on paper, this is a good choice.

Update: September 2013: Another pen that I'm not using as much. When I want a black pen, I reach for my .35 Rapidosketch. I can do wonders with it. 


Sharpie Poster Paint Pen (waterbased)- I love these pens. LOVE them. They are cheap too. They run about $3 each. They come in several different "nib" sizes. The only nib size I do NOT like is the one that looks like a big, fat bingo marker and costs about $7. That is the only one I do NOT like.
I LOVE the extra fine pen. I Love all of the different tip size options. I love the colors-oh wow, wow WOW. My favorites are the Black, White and Flourescent pink. I have them in every color but those are the colors I use the most. I wish they'd make one in Paynes grey...

One thing, if you buy them, make sure you get the WATERBASED and NOT the oil based. I don't like using anything oil based. Nope, not for me at all.
Another great thing, unlike most sharpies, these don't smell!!!

When you first buy them, put them upright, and press down once on the nib. It's called "burping the pen". It will help with the air that is inside the pen and makes them last longer. Then shake and pump the pen like the directions say...If you have problems writing with the pens and the ink isn't as intense as it was when you first used the pen, make sure you shake and pump the pen!

I loveeeeeeee these pens. You do need to try the different tip sizes-they rock!!


Update 6/18/2010-The Poster Paint pens have been replaced by what are now being called PAINT pens. They are available in water based and oil based (personally, I do not like to use anything oil based). You can get them in different tip sizes and colors as well!


UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2013: Water based Sharpie paint markers are still available (phew!) I noticed the other day that the packaging is new. There are eighteen colors available in extra fine tips (including their new (6) glitter and pastel colors), three fine tip colors, eleven in medium tip and five in bold point (my least favorite of the group.) I love, love, love these pens as they will write on a variety of surfaces and unlike regular sharpies, they don't smell nor do they leave any kind of weird halo effects on my pages. Extra fine is my favorite tip!
Another substitute (same ink, similar tip, same Sanford company) is the Uni Posca Paint pen. I've only found one distributor for it in the U.S. so I've been keeping kind of quiet on the pen. They are readily available in the U.K.. In the U.S.-(see above note on Sharpie paint pens).
http://www.durablesupply.com/pospainmar.html




Update September 2013: Molotow One4All Water Based Paint Markers-I LOVE these markers! They come in a wide variety of colors (forty) and have tips that you can change out! I tend not to buy them in colors that I already have in water based Sharpie paint pen form (especially since I already have a lot of those.) I *love* their extra fine tip (available in black, white and as a replacement/interchangeable tip to the 2 mm pen case.) You can also buy refills for the pens! What's not to love? It truly is an excellent marker.



First up, the lattes and the sweets which are similar to the Sakura Glaze and Souffle pens. What I love about the Lattes and Sweets is the TIP. SKINNY. Also, the colors are different! I never leave home without at least one pack of these! Oh yes, the whites both write clear and dry white. The pens are also a matte finish. I LOVE these pens!!! LOVE! Finally, they do last a LONG time. I used my original set for several years before I had to buy replacement pens. Keep the pens on tight and stored flat when not in use. Keep them away from the heat, too.

Update on 12/9/2011 on the Sweets Pens. The Sweets have been discontinued but the Lattes are still available. More here.

Update on September 2013: It looks like the Lattes have also been discontinued. SNIFF. 






The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen-I love the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. You can write on dried paint with it (some times. It can be temperamental on paint. I'll write and then write over it on top 'til it comes out) and paper (obviously). I LOVE the brush pen. Expensive. Hard to find. But, I love it. Find it here.



Sakura Micron Pens-a huge favorite with illustrators. Again like the other pens, they come in nine million colors but I love BLACK. I do like these pens but the tiny nibs give me a hard time on acrylic paint so watch the nib sizes. I love how the pens are permanent, crisp and intense with color. I love how they are also waterproof that I can paint over them or use my Neo Art crayons on them. Watch the nib size though on acrylic paint...tiny nibs tend to skip and gunk up on the paint...the bigger the nib size the fewer problems you should have... 

Update: September 2013: Another pen that I'm not reaching for as much as I used to. 

Pitt Pens from Faber Castell- Black.
I have bought these in every color but I only really use the black. They are a nice crisp, permanent, vibrant black. My preferred tip is the "brush" pen. Love how you can paint over them once dry, too. They now come in a big fat size, too which is fun! It also comes in paynes grey-love!!!!


Update: September 2013: Faber Castell Pitt Pens recently came out with a Big Brush pen in WHITE. It's not a truly opaque white and it's only available in a bullet tip but it blends beautifully and adds that hint of white where you need it. I also tend not to use these a lot though I know a lot of folks who LOVE the Pitt Pens. I haven't been using them lately.


Zig writer and vellum pens-Zig makes a damn good pen. Their Vellum Pens are AWESOME. Not only permanent and waterproof but you can write on acrylic painted pages AND photographs! Yes, photos! AND they don't come off!! The writer and vellum pens come in nine million colors but BLACK is my favorite. I don't like a lot of the nibs other than the "writer" pens which are a bullet shape.


KOH-I-NOOR Rapido Sketch Pens-

****MY FAVORITE BLACK PEN OF ALL TIME.*****
These aren't anything new. These pens have been around for a long time. Out of all of the refillable pens on the market (that includes the Rotring pens which are fun to use-love those tips, but the ink isn't dark enough for my liking and I haven't experimented with it yet finding other cartridges for it), this one of is my most favorite. I love the black India ink that comes with the pen (yes, I have used other inks with the pen as well. I do prefer some inks over others and it mainly depends on the colors I want and the ink consistency). I own a few of these pens (including the Rapidograph pens) for the difference in tip sizes. The .35 is my favorite tip size. It's a fine, detailed line. I've been hesitant to recommend this pen here because of all of the maintenance that is recommended in taking care of the pens. Um. I'm lazy. I'm the first one to admit it. I've had this pen for months now and I haven't cleaned it. I use it almost daily. I've had to fill it a few times (easy to do-fill it about a third of the way, not all of the way!). I do keep the pen stored flat. There is a ton of information on the web about the care and upkeep of this pen (cleaning it often, being careful not to drop it, care of the tip, don't take the little wire out, etc...) that I'm not going to get into here. Google the pens and you'll find it. What I love about the pen though is the consistency of the line, the thin detail writing, sketching and drawing I can achieve with it. It doesn't skip and it hasn't failed me yet. I love using it with a good permanent, waterproof ink. If you use it filled with a good ink, you can write on dried acrylic paint with it! It's one of my favorite pens and I rarely leave home without it. Well worth the money. Look around because I've seen it in all price ranges from $25 to half the price.

Update: September 2013: Whenever I want a black pen, 99.9% of the time, I reach for my Rapidosketch pen. 

Updated and revised May 2014:
Some Tips on the Rapidosketch:
1. Make sure that you only fill the pen a 1/3 of the way. 
2. Do NOT press hard on the tip or else you will break it! Write normal and the ink should flow. 
3. Have a rag handy. Fill the well only 1/3rd of the way. Sometimes (especially after refilling it) you may need to wipe the top of the pen off with an old rag.
4. Keep the pen flat when not in use. 
5. When you need to screw the cap back on (or the other bits of the pen after filling it), gently twist and screw it back together until you can't twist anymore. Don't force it or over twist it or else it can crack.
6. I can't stress enough that you have to be careful with the tip. If you have a heavy hand, practice and be gentle with it. The ink should flow from the pen.
7. I never clean mine. I just make sure that I use it a lot (every few days.) I've had the same pen for years and have never had a problem.
8. Have a piece of uncoated scratch paper nearby to test the pen if it gives you problems. Sometimes just gently rolling the tip around as you write on scratch paper helps. 
9. The Rapidosketch ink works on paper, dried acrylics and acrylic mediums, tape, transparencies and more. 
10. If I could only recommend one black pen, this is it.






Pentel Metallic Brush Marker-Another pricey pen but well worth the $9! These pens last a long time. I like them for several reasons-it's a good, solid ink. If you write with it, it pops off the page (no fussing to try to "see it"). The brush tip-oh it's just yummy and soft-it flows and moves and glides across the page. It doesn't smell. I am a big fan of non-toxic art supplies and the fact that this doesn't smell nor does it come with a warning label about potential health problems are big pluses to me! I've been using these pens since they came out and if you're looking for a great metallic pen with a brush tip, look no further.

 

Copic Markers-
There are different versions of the copic markers-sketch, ciao, dual tipped, multi-liner).

The sketch copics, Ciao Copics, Wide copics are all Dual tipped. Multi-colors galore.

One nice thing is that the pens are refillable.

I do like their black multi liner pens in various tips for detail work and fine line work. These are waterproof, pigment based pens.

One thing I’ve found though is you have to be careful of what colors you are using on other colors. For example, you can’t use a red pen on a pink page and really expect it to show up all that well (unless you’re going for the subtle look). One thing that I’ve thought about is that the pens were primarily made for work that is meant to be reproduced (manga and anime). So, over time, I’m not sure what that will mean for the work done with the pens. 

In all honesty, it's not one of my favorite pens but I know many artists who love theirs and use them on a regular basis. I'm not one of those artists.




*****

My disclaimer: all of the info above is written and compiled by ME via a trial and error process. If you are ever not sure of if a pen will work or not, bring your journal to the store with you and test out a page on a painted page! That's what I do!


Also, KEEP THE CAPS ON THE PENS when not in use. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I bring my pens to classes and then sometimes people forget to put the pens on them, they dry up very quickly if you don't recap them so just watch out for this.

Keep the pens flat-like they are laying on a desk. This is the best way for most pens to be stored... I know they look pretty in your special cup with the caps up facing you, but be forewarned, over time the ink will drop to the bottom of the pen and you can kiss it goodbye. How do I know this? It happened to me. Nine gazillion dollars worth of pens that I could just toss in the trash. Keep 'em flat. Keep the covers on 'em. Use 'em up! Love 'em!

All of the vendors above are ones that I have personally bought from. I ONLY recommend vendors whom I have bought pens from. Jetpens, Durable Supply, Kinokuniya, Cute Tape, and Frenzy Stamper are my favorites. Check your local Mom and Pop shops, too!

Finally, no one paid me nor did I receive any form of compensation for this post. ALL of the pens mentioned above were bought and paid for by ME at the shops I list above. I don't work for anyone but my students (and myself!)

You may also be interested in:

Questions? You can leave a comment here in the post or email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

What's your favorite, must have pen?

34 comments:

Ann K. said...

Being a pen addict myself, I always love your posts about pens. Thanks, Kelly!

Melanie said...

My favorite pens are whatever you tell me YOUR favorite pens are, lol. I love you sharing your observations! I bought some of the sharpie poster paint pens, just waiting for them to get here (backordered til Jan 20!) I can't wait to try them out!

mwquilt said...

For sketching I really like Micron pens because they come in really fine nibs and the ink will resist water.

But for art journaling I am going to try out the alternative white paint pen you mentioned in your blog post, because its really hard to get the Sharpie paintpens here in the UK, so I am really grateful to you for mentioning something that I am likely to be able to get in England :-)

T and J said...

I'll need to save up and hopefully take your pen class in March.

Joanie Hoffman said...

you're killing me...i'm poor and i want ALL those pens (well, i may have some of them already, but not ALL of them).
xox,
Joanie
p.s. I really do appreciate your updates, I just like to whine sometimes.

Kelly Kilmer said...

Joanie,

LOL. I ain't rich-or even anywhere near close to being. ;)

Just remember-I'm putting up the pen list so that you guys can pick and choose. You don't NEED all of them. They're just so that you have a list and know what works and what doesn't with mixed media art ;)

Sandy said...

Love it when you do the pen post. It's great. I love all my pens and love discovering new ones. I can't have enough pens, I don't understand why. And I even have to have certain kinds to write with everyday. Just werid I guess. lol

caroline douglas said...

OMG, this is the best post ever!!!!
My current favorite is the Torpedo by Retro 51. Love to hold it and drawing is a charm! I'm going back and studying...

Mermaid said...

Ok Kelly, You rock. I must disagree with you however, You are rich. You give of yourself incessantly. You keep things simple. You know the ultra conservative right is wrong. You are a wonderful intelligent fun loving woman/artist. I admire you.

Zura said...

Thank you for sharing this, especially all the details you gave about each pen. And for the link to Jetpens. Great site!! I often read a blog called penaddict.com. I'm a pen junkie and, like you, struggle to find pens that write well on acrylic in my art journal.

Kelly Kilmer said...

:D Thanks Mermaid for putting a very big smile on my face. I've always said that I'm rich in all of the right ways-love, family, having good friends and doing what I love... It's not money that we should be after but love, friendship, health, peace -all the things that make us truly rich, wealthy and quite happy.

:D

Annetteski said...

Thank you for the pen review. I am in love with a different Koh-i-noor pen, called the Nexus (link below)

I am a huge fan of technical pens - but unfortunately those I have are no longer sold so when I run out of cartridges for them I'm done (I've learned once I find a pen I love to get refills, back ups etc.)

http://www.dickblick.com/products/koh-i-noor-nexus-studio-pens/

Barbara Hagerty said...

My favorite pens for acrylic are the Faber-Castell pens--all of them. Especially the gray scale and all of the colored Manga pens. These never, ever smear when dry on acrylic. I love the Microns, but they do take longer to dry, and sometimes don't dry completely on my acrylic pages. The Faber-Castells will even write over glue if there's some residue on the page.

Thanks for this post! Please tell us what ink you like to use best when writing over acrylic with the Rapidograph.

krwebb said...

Kelly,
I found Sanford Sharpie Xtra Fine Water Base Paint Markers
at simplysolutionsinc.com for $2.06 each. Don't know if that is a good price or not? ... Karla

One Creative Queen said...

Kelly - I love you and your pen list. I'm also a pen addict and have been ordering from Jet Pens for a long time - definitely a great site!

I agree with your pen list - what a comprehensive, great list for people not sure about pens. I wanted to make 2 comments...

I also LOOVVEEE the BIC MarkIts. I especially love the ultra fine (for writing) and the fine (for drawing). They are a fantastic substitute for Sharpies - and they don't smell at all. A++++++ (No white since it's more of a "marker" like Sharpie, than a pen - but you can't have everything.) Fantastic color selection - 36 pens for around $20. They last FOREVER.

Another awesome white pen - with nice, bright, opaque ink that will write on just about anything (not glass, etc) - I've been pretty impressed with? Rangers Inkssentials. (I spent a long time looking for good white pens - of which there are few. I'm a white pen FREAK!) The Pentel Hybrid Gel is a decent pen - but if you put it away and don't use it for 2+ weeks, forget it. Every single one I've ever bought has dried up and stopped working - even though I can still see most of the ink in the barrel. Frustration! IMO, you are right on in your assessment of the Glaze & Souffle white pens - but the regular Sakura white pen? FAIL. Pen-Touch is awesome - but the plain Sakura white gel pen? I'll never buy another. Ever. (And I love Sakura, using their gel pens for loads of applications.)

Ok, and my quick little note to add: I would never, ever disagree with you on pens (you are the Master, after all!), but I have to say something about your Zig comments. You say:

Zig makes a damn good pen. Their Vellum Pens are AWESOME. Not only permanent and waterproof but you can write on acrylic painted pages AND photographs! Yes, photos! AND they don't come off!!

I've been an avid Zig Writer user forever. I love their huge variety of colors! However, they are not waterproof - and the permanency of the pens is questionable. They are water based, which automatically suggests they are not waterproof.

I'm not real familiar with their Vellum Writers - so I can't speak to those. If you were only referring to those, I'm sorry - I was on the fence about whether you were talking about the Writers and/or the Vellum pens. So you will have to share your insight about the Vellum pens and what they can do...but I wanted to point out that I have ruined countless projects by forgetting the Zig Writers are not waterproof. They will not write on acetate (ink kind of beads up) and they won't completely dry on shrink plastic. Zig Writers are wonderful for scrapbook pages, doodling, etc - but if you use them on anything that you will be top-coating (with paint, varnish, etc), be prepared.

I'll put my soap box down now...but thanks for a great post - and for listen to me prattle on about a subject I also adore! xx

Marilyn said...

Just read this about pens and the one about gesso and gels and such.
Very informative. Thanks for clearing up some things for me.

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Wonderful information, thank you! I'm following, now! :)

Kazumi said...

Hi Kelly!!!

I <3 my pens, but I constantly have a problem with the ink with my very thin 0.38mm ball point pens (Ex: uniball signo). They still have ink in them but they don't write as consistent as when I first bought them and I HATE throwing them out. Is it because they're clogged up at the tips (b/c they're so thin)...I've tried warming the ink so it will run smoother but it works for a about a second then turns back to scratchy writing. I was wondering if you knew.....

Kelly Kilmer said...

Hi Kazumi,
How do you store your pens?

I've had problems with my white uniball signo drying up and it still looks like there's a ton of ink in it. I haven't had problems with my tiny tip uniball pens *yet*.

Some tips-

Always store pens flat!

I had someone suggest to me that you heat the tip of the pen for about 10 to 15 seconds with a Hair Dryer. That it should loosen up the ink. I don't have a hair dryer so I haven't tried the tip. A heat gun would be too hot.

Try scratching the pen out on different types of scratch paper and in different directions to see if that helps. Sometimes I've sat and done that on a pen that went all wonky on me and it helped (sometimes it doesn't)!

I hope this helps...

Kara Sjoblom-Bay said...

A friend of mine recommended the Pilot Hi-Tec-C gel pens. I just bought a pack of the 0.25 mm pens and so far, so good. Pilot makes a similar gel pen, but according to my friend, the Hi-Tec-C pens write on more surfaces. I don't think they are widely distributed in the U.S. (all the good pens are in Japan, apparently), but jetpens.com carries them. I got mine at Maido in San Jose, and I bet Kinokuniya sells them too.

Kelly Kilmer said...

For pens that skip or seem dried out, someone suggested putting some undu in the cap of the pen. Then put your cap back on the pen. Wait a few minutes. Wipe off any excess undu and try writing as you normally would.

I haven't tried it yet! If I do, I will post!

Kazumi said...

Thank you Kelly!! The hair dryer worked great on some of the pens!! Even on some of the dried ones, you can see the ink melting down and it wrote okay! However, some of the pens went back writing scratchy but I think it may be because I sometimes write on paint and whiteout and the tips are clogged up when it was still wet. Anyways I will try out undu to see if it works, but you saved me from throwing away a cup-full of pens!

JAN said...

Thank you for a fantastic article..i have had so many pens ruined trying to write over acrylic painted areas...i am in the UK and a lot of the pens are not available here do you know of any more brands i could try that write over painted surfaces with no problems..hugs janet

carolynsn said...

What a great article! I loved it! I'm off to AC Moore hoping they have some to try. Thanks so much for your post!

Beth Fuller said...

I'm obsessed with pens too:
My favorites are:
Stabilo 88 (all colors)
American Craft's Black pens .03 and .05
Artline Drawing System pens
I just found that I do like the Prismacolor new fineline pens (not the big honkin' graphic markers).
I'm ALWAYS searching for a good brown pen. Thanks for this post! (Even if I am reading it way late!)

Karma said...

Kelly!

I love this pen post! I just received my JetPens package with my new latte pens and the pocket brush pen.

Wow! You were not kidding about the latte's. The white is really white and I loved watching it go from clear to white as it dried! And the black pocket brush pen is magical. Rich black, neat brush tip.

thanks for the great recs!!

An Evolving Artist @ Swallowcliffs.blogspot.com/ said...

I am still trying to find a tutorial on how to buy ink and refil the copic pens. Can you do one? I have a few copics, but since I don't quite know much about them I am hesitant to try to buy the ink and I really want to know how you go about refilling them!

Kelly Kilmer said...

If you google how to refill copic markers, a TON of tutorials come up including youtube videos. :)

risna wira ditya said...

wow, thats a lot of pen treasure! :)
im only use pigment liners snoman for my tees design or sketch-mostly the cheapest ones :D

Cindy McMath said...

What a great resource Kelly - thank you! I am looking for a new best black pen as my Microns have been frustrating me lately and I tried a Pitt but did NOT warm up to it. I will give some of these a go! Pens are so personal aren't they? BTW I took a class from you in 2005 at ARTwerx in Vancouver BC Canada. I still remember the most magical thing from that class was learning about the white gel pen! I was a real newbie then. :)
Best to you.

AM Photo & Art said...

Hi, can you recommend art supplies that don't smell? I have a chemical sensitivity, I love doing art but it is limited because of smells. And lately my prismacolor oil pencils have been giving me a headache. I love doing things hands on but I'm about to do more digital art because of no smells lol. I'm using Prismacolor Illustration Markers that I love, but it is limited on colors. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Amy M.
Instagram @amphoto_art

Kelly Kilmer said...

@Amy,
I don't like smelly products either. All of the tools and materials I use and recommend are water based and don't smell. Hope this helps.
Best,
Kelly

Learning With Dignity with Ms.H. said...

Hi Kelly!
Thank you so much for all of your wonderful information on pens! I'm sure I will enjoy your blog page now that I know about it. I'm wondering which pen you would use on white ceramic. I am doing a piece with Sakura Identi Pen and I'm worried it will not last with simple soap and water (if someone were to use that). Should I bake it when I'm done? I'm a newbie, but it's ok if you say, "BIG MISTAKE!" I'll just put the piece behind glass and use the correct pen next time.

Thank you!

Best,
Jillian

Kelly Kilmer said...

Jillian,

Thanks for the comment. I'm a paper artist and unfortunately, I don't know what's best for ceramic. I would recommend writing Sakura and asking them as they definitely should know the answer.

Apologies for not being able to answer this completely.

Best,
Kelly