The right artist’s pens can transform ordinary drawings into something special. It will create clean, crisp lines and provide a nice contrast between the ink and the drawing surface. The best pens have acid-free ink. The style of the pen should be suited to the job that needs to be fulfilled, and the pen should feel comfortable in the artist’s hand. It should be lightweight but not cumbersome. The nib should be commensurate with the desired line width. Finding good ballpoint pens for drawing can seem daunting to the beginning artist, so we have compiled this list of good ones for drawing, starting with what many artists consider the best, the Copic 1.0mm Multiliner pen.
The best pens for drawing
The best pens for drawing are best not because of the brand but what they allow the artist to achieve.
The best pens for drawing have the following qualities:
– archival quality and fade resistant ink
– good line width with consistent quality
– good weight and balance
– good nib size
– good feel in the hand.
Let’s go further into this topic by looking at the ballpoint pens I own or have used to draw and continue to use to draw when not using my Sakura Pigma Micron pens (which are not ballpoint pens).
Why is the Copic 1.0mm Multiliner among the top of the good ballpoint pens for drawing?
There are countless reasons why the Copic 1.0 Multiliner is among the top excellent ballpoint pens for drawing. The reasons include quality, the economy, and the environment. The densely pigmented ink in this pen shows up and holds very well on the paper’s surface. The lines look crisp and clean, and it comes in a wide range of point thicknesses. It is comfortable to hold in the hand and flows beautifully. The cost is very reasonable for such a high-quality pen, and the refillable aspect means fewer of them will end up in landfills. The pens come with a variety of thicknesses, so the artist can vary the line width.
What is the difference between the Copic 1.0mm Multiliner and the Copic Multiliner SP?
The SP stands for Special Edition and refers to the fact that this pen has a metal tip instead of a plastic one. The result is a much more precise line. The Multiliner SP is also refillable, like the regular Multiliner.
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen
While not actually a ballpoint pen, this pen comes fully loaded with a good supply of high-quality ink that flows beautifully across the page. The ink is water-resistant so that if water medium is used over the lines, they will remain steadily in place. Even though some feel that the nibs wear down too quickly, less pressure can easily remedy this problem. The nibs are made of densely-packed fibers. Like Copic 1.0, the nibs are available in varying widths.
I own so many of the Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens it is not funny. My work desk, art studio and my drawing desk literally has a box of these on each one. I always have some lying around as they are so reliable. The blacks are black and they never require re-work or going back over the line to make them darker.
Sakura Gelly Roll Pen
Gelly roll pens by Sakura are good ballpoint pens for drawing because they come with metal nibs that do not wear out and also because they come in a vast array of fabulous colors, some with sparkles if desired. Neon colors and metallics are included in the mix. Gelly rolls are the higher quality and more expensive gel pens than generic ones for coloring, that are good for the artist who prefers a wetter ink that flows even more smoothly than the previously mentioned pens. The ink is relatively slow drying but is also waterproof.
Pilot Hi-Tec C
If you are an artist drawn to the thinnest lines, the Pilot Hi-Tec is perfect for you. It can draw in your choice of ultra-narrow 25, .3, or .4 drawing lines. This pen has ultra-thin nibs and comes in an assortment of beautiful rainbow colors. The Pilot Hi-Tec C’s lines are always consistent, smooth, and fine, and the ink dries rapidly.
Staedtler Pigment Liner Pen
Staedtler pens are manufactured in Germany and come in hard cases for storage and protection. The ink these pens contain is considered by artists to be close to flawless. Their black ink does not bleed through the paper and is suitable for cross hatching and drawing over time after time. They have steel nibs with soft tips that enable the free-flowing ink to be applied without pressing or resting the nib downward. The resulting lines are clean and consistent, and these pens rarely skip. Their only downside is that if stored cap-down, the ink can dry out.
Master Micro Pen
Another alternative to good ballpoint pens for drawing is the Master Micro pen. Like Sakura Pigma Micron pens which I have reviewed here, this pen’s sturdy marks are reliably sure and are great for creating storyboards, animation, or creating the types of lines needed for architectural or other professional work. They work well for any type of lettering, line work, or ruler work because of their steel nibs. The pens are well-balanced and easy to hold for long periods of time. The cartridges are gravity based, so the tips become automatically refilled as needed.
If these are out of stock I recommend the Sakura Pigma Micron which are a little more expensive but worth it.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
Another non ballpoint pen that deserves a mention are the Tombow dual brush pens. Tombow dual brush pens are popular among watercolor artists and the creators of brush stencils. They are reliable, affordable, and come in a grayscale color to achieve true blacks. The company also manufactures a colorless pen to use for smudging. As part of their unique design, these pens come with self-cleaning brushes that renew themselves after being used for blending. A soft ink flow comes from their steel nibs and enables them to be used for high-quality line work.
Pandafly Micro Fineliner Pens
Used primarily for comic and technical artwork, the acid-free Pandafly Fineliner comes with a wide array of styles and tip sizes. The pen uses pigment-based ink with rich, true colors that do not fade. Every line is solid and avoids bleeding, even when using stencils. These pens are famous for not skipping and can be counted on to deliver every time.
What Are Good Ballpoint Pens For Drawing For Excellent Artists – Wrap up!
To recap, if you’re in the market for good ballpoint pens for drawing and sketching, the Copic 1.0mm Multiliner is an excellent option. It’s one of the top-rated pens on the market, and it can provide you with precise lines that are perfect for detailed work. So, if you’re looking for a good ballpoint pen for drawing, be sure to check out the Copic 1.0mm Multiliner!
Additionally, if you decide to go ahead and try one of the other recommended brands you can’t really go wrong.
All will provide long-term high-quality line work that can be used for not only sketching, drawing, and cartooning but also writing on a day-to-day basis.
Don’t risk your artwork or waste your time on cheap ballpoint pens that use ink that will fade. Pick the right tool for the job.
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Joseph Colella is a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While he holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent style he spent years trying to get into various Art degrees from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), and failed to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. In his spare time, he writes for the this blog, WastedTalentInc, where he shares practical advice on art, making art, and art materials. Joseph’s art has been sold to collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art and copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com