If you’ve ever drawn anything in your life, you have a good idea about how much your drawing tools can impact your work. On good days, they can act as an extension of your imagination. On bad days, they can leave you shaking your head and wondering why you even bother calling yourself an artist… or is that just me? ;)
I started drawing with a few tools and over time have had the chance to try out a bunch of great pens. There are a few I keep coming back to and some I keep in my bag at all times. Here’s six of my favorite pens so far:
I discovered this pen through Ali Nelson at a Plywood People Retreat. It quickly became one of my favorites. It has just enough give and allows for different line thicknesses. I have heavy hand pressure and the Fude is strong enough to resist my hulk smash grip. Love this lil pen! Uhm plus it's sparkly.
The Tombow was the first lettering pen I ever used! Dusty gifted me the set with both the hard and soft tip pens for Christmas. I spent the rest of break scribbling and drawing. I love these to start on because they aren’t so expensive. You can get a good idea of what your hand pressure is like and base your future purchases on this!
My father-in-law gave me a box of these and I have been using them for all my circle paintings. The paint in the pen is xylene based. It has a little bit slower dry time, and damn, it is permanent. The Deco Color allows for a very solid, smooth, and shiny monoline look.
My friend Carrie Keesling-Getz recommended the Molotow pen family. SO GOOD! They are like the Deco Colors in that they give a nice solid line. They dry pretty fast and are safe to use on mirrors and glass. They are refillable which just makes me heart flutter with happiness!
I have used these pens before but only recently for design and lettering applications. They are, again, not so expensive. If you lose one, you’ll recover. :) The Flair comes in such a good variety of colors. They don’t give too much and allow for a solid monoline look. They do smear, but I’m finding I can work with that. I have been able to create some cool looks by intentionally smearing or wetting the paper.
I had used the Microns by this same brand and not been super impressed. The nibs are just a little too hard (even for my iron grip) and only seem to give even color on smooth paper or if you're holding the pen exactly perpendicular to the paper. BUT, recently I discovered the brush pen version. So amazing! It has move give then the Pentel Fude and Tombow Calligraphy, but the short tip gives enough stability to get some really controlled lines.
Top photo of my pencil note card and fude pen by Angie Webb.