Exploring Pens & Brush Pens

On a quest to perfect hand lettering and mastering the art of journaling I have discovered that one must choose their tools wisely.  Seriously, there are like a million different types of pens, markers, inks for pens, colors, transparency, opaqueness, lightfastness, the categories go on and on and on.  My head is spinning!  What to do? Well, do your research, make sure you find a product that meets your needs, and experiment. (By the way, if you love pens and stationary this is the best part, it’s like playing with new toys.)

I recently got an insert for my passport travel journal and the paper is black with a white grid from PenguinPaperCo on Etsy.  I needed to find opaque pens to write in it.  So off I went on a journey that well for lack of a better word was magical.  I knew about gel pens, specifically Gelly Roll pens.  I think everyone has at least heard about them, they have been around a long time.  Most of these pens come in pens size 0.6, 0.8, and 0.10.  I prefer a fine line and if you are not careful you might purchase one that is not the correct size.  Sometimes I also find that the ink stays wet a little too long and if you close the book, well now there is ink on the opposite page. All in all, it’s a good pen, it comes in a million colors and finishes i.e. glitter, metallic, neon etc. I just need to explore more with these pens and see what they got.  Drawing with the Gelly Roll Moonlight pens was like a throwback to everything glow-in-the-dark!  I felt like a kid again!

Zen Doodle on Black Grid Paper

I did discover Uni-ball Signo gel pens. They write very smoothly and also come in many colors.  These are great on the black paper and really stand out.  My next conquest was to find an opaque glitter pen and let me tell you that was a challenge.  Most glitter pens are not meant to be opaque.  My Copic glitter pens come in an amazing color pallet which makes them unique from the usual packs of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, black, gold and silver.  And for us artists, the more color choices the better.  However, the Sakura Decorese Gel Pens are able to write on black paper and I am very excited to try them out.

Sample swatch using pens and water brush to blend

For those who absolutely love hand lettering, you must check out the Zig Fudebiyori brush marker, especially if you love brush pens.  This brush pen has a nib that is not too hard and not too soft, it’s just right. Also, they are made with water-based dye ink so they are water soluble and can be blended.  If you need a more permanent ink, try the Faber-Castell PITT brush pen marker.  These are made with Indian ink and are waterproof.  These are great if you are going to layer colors, inks, or watercolor paint because it will not bleed or smear.

There are so many different kinds of pens, I feel that there really isn’t enough time to play with all of them.  Seriously, I could spend all day drawing and feel absolutely complete in the universe. (It’s the little things that make me happy.) For all of us who love to journal, doodle, draw, and scribble these are just a few of the many, many different pens available for us to explore our creativity.  Have a favorite pen?  Leave a comment and share the creativity.

Artfully yours,



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