Before we get into what Sakura Pigma Micron pens are, let us go into the background of not only the pen but the Sakura company that manufactures these fantastic pens.
The History of the Sakura Pigma Micron pen
Sakura’s involvement in drawing materials began in 1921 when Sakura developed a crayon.
The company was disappointed with the failure of these crayons to mix or overlay and started to look for new products that would be better. By 1924 they had come up with the very first oil-pastel.
They called this product “Cray-Pas,” which was the two words, crayon, and pastel, combined.
The company remained in the art materials market. It continued development work, which ultimately led to a new ink product which they called Pigma Ink.
The real leap forward was when Sakura found a way to breakdown the particles in the pigments so that they could pass through ultra-narrow nibs.
The development of the Sakura Pigma Pen was an application of that technology that was aimed at architects and others involved in drafting work.
In 1986 Parent company, Sakura Color Products Corporation of Osaka, Japan, established an American subsidiary Sakura Color Products of America, Inc.
Later in 2002 the company also established a subsidiary in China Shanghai Sakura International Trading Co., Ltd
Now that we have some background information about the company, here are some of the more common questions I receive about the Sakura Pigma Micron Pens.
Questions You May Have About Sakura Pigma Micron Pens
What Are Sakura Pigma Micron Pens?
The Sakura Pigma Micron is the pen that made disposable technical pens possible.
It was the first one launched using a revolutionary and proprietary ink called Pigma.
The Pigma ink contained in these Pigma Micron pens was perfect for drafting work and was incredibly long-lasting.
The pens themselves are actually inexpensive and come in several nib sizes.
* #005 – (0.20 mm),
* #01 – (0.25 mm)
* #02 – (0.30 mm)
* #03 – (0.35 mm)
* #05 – (0.45 mm)
* #08 – 675 – (0.50 mm)
The pens are disposable, so no refills are available. They are simply a “use and then throw away” product, making them a problem for those that care about the environment.
* The ink used in the pens is almost impossible to alter important documents.
* The ink is fade resistant
* The ink is chemically stable
* Pigment-based inks used in the Micron will not bleed
* Once it’s dried, if you spill anything onto the page, it will not run.
The pen is both sturdy and easy to grip. The cap stays affixed firmly to the pens, and if dropped, they will not break. If you stick to using “Bristol Paper,” which is smooth, the nib will last a lot longer than if used on watercolor paper (for example), a paper which has far more texture.
What are Sakura Pigma Micron pens used for?
Microns by Sakura were originally used for drawing fine lines in technical drawings for fine detail in art.
These pens are designed for drawing on quality paper.
If these pens are used on rough surfaces, the life of the pen will be severely reduced as rough paper will act like a sponge sucking out all the pigment from the pen.
It is not advisable to use these pens on any other medium.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen is ideally suited to the following types of work: Drawing, Note-taking, Archival Legal Documents, any task that requires long-lasting ink.
What is the thinnest Sakura Micron Pen?
The Sakura Micron pen that draws the thinnest line is the Sakura Micron 05, which draws a 20 mm line.
This width compares with the Uni-ball Signo Bit UM-201 Gel Ink Pen, which is the world’s thinnest pen and draws an 18 mm line.
Are Sakura Pigma Micron pens good?
Just like Copic Markers, Sakura Pigma Micron pens have a solid following.
They are considered to be excellent pens for using in a journal and for illustrations.
Personally I love using them with a good Moleskine journal for writing and sketching. Try it out and tell me what you think.
The pens are known for reliability, and the smooth action of pens is legendary.
What colors are included in a Sakura Pigma Micron pen set?
The full range of Sakura Micron colors is shown in the chart below.
The full range is only available in the .45mm nib size. Other nib sizes only come in limited color selections.
How long do Sakura Micron pens last?
So, how long will Sakura Micron pens last? Quite obviously, the answer is depending on how much you use them.
The type of paper you use will also have an impact. Some papers are more absorbent, and some papers will draw more ink than others.
Researching this subject on the Internet I found that there were a lot of users who commented that they do not seem to last as long as some other quality brands.
Sakura state that they are disposable pens and that (apart from running out of ink), they should last up to 24 months if used correctly.
Sakura America state that the typical write out length of Sakura Micron Pens is:
#005 – 875 metres (0.20 mm)
#01 – 800 metres (0.25 mm)
#02 – 775 metres (0.30 mm)
#03 – 750 metres (0.35 mm)
#05 – 700 metres (0.45 mm)
#08 – 675 metres (0.50 mm)
The above figure is the approximate write-out length for a black pen at various line widths.
How do you refill a Sakura Micron pen?
Sakura Micron pens are not designed to be refilled.
They are a disposable pen.
If you really must try to refill the Micron pen, then YouTube has several videos on the subject.
However, you cannot buy Sakura Micron inks so that you will be refilling them with different ink, so they will no longer be Sakura Microns.
If the fact that the Sakura Micron is disposable is a problem, you are better switching to a Copic Multiliner SP, which is a similar pen but has refills.
How do you unclog a Micron nib?
You can take an unclogged nib from a pen that has no ink and replace your nib that is clogged.
Remove both nibs, which will be attached to a long wick (remove that too).
Using needle-nose pliers, move the unclogged nib to the pen with ink in, and gently insert the nib and make sure it is sealed tightly in the nib holder.
Leave the pen for about three hours to allow the wick to pull the ink through again.
How do you store Sakura Micron pens?
Sakura state that the Pigma Micron pen should be stored horizontally, laying on their side.
How do Protect the Nib on a Sakura Pigma Micron pen?
When using your Sakura Micron Pen, you should try to hold the pen at 90� to the paper.
This tip should reduce wear on the nib.
Avoid using the pen on rough surfaces, and do not press too hard on the pen.
How do you stop the ink bleeding when using the Sakura Pigma with a ruler?
When you use a Sakura Micron with a ruler, the ink will often seep under the marker and ruin the work.
Here is the solution: Tape a couple of coins to the underside of the ruler at both ends. This hack will raise the ruler, so that it is just off the paper and it no longer touches the nib, and it will solve the problem.
Are Sakura Pigma Micron pens waterproof?
All Micron pens are waterproof. Additionally, they are on-smear when dry, chemical proof, and fade resistant. Micron pen ink should not bleed through most papers.
Is Micron ink toxic?
All products that carry the ACMI Certification seal have been thoroughly tested, and a toxicological check has been carried out.
The seal is a way of showing which art products have been tested and are known to be safe.
Products that have undergone this screening can be labeled as ASTM D 4236.
The ink contained in the micron Pigma pen is non-toxic and has passed the appropriate certification.
Pigment-Based Pens V Dye-Based Pens
So with Sakura Pigma Micron pens being pigment based rather than a dye based or ink based, I have included a comparison on the two types.
What is the difference between dye and pigment-based inks?
Dye-based ink uses a coloring that dissolves in a liquid.
Pigment-based ink has tiny solids suspended in the liquid.
Think of dye-based inks as sugar that has been mixed with hot water (it dissolves).
Think of pigment-based in as sand mixed with warm water.
The sand hangs there in the water. (thanks to DTM Print for that analogy, which sums it all up).
When you first use a dye and pigment ink, the results do not look very different.
However, Pigment inks will last for twice as long if left in the sun than dye inks.
If you are creating works of art, plans, and documents, you need the original to last a long time, then use pigment ink.
If you need the original document for limited time because you will reproduce them, then dye ink is a better option.
It was the discovery by Sakura of how to reduce the size of these particles suspended in the liquid that was what allowed the company to launch Pigma ink.
The particles (pigments) inside Pigma ink are so small that they can flow through very small apertures.
It was a major technological breakthrough.
Sakura Micron pens have a good reputation, and most people buy them with high expectations.
The needle-sharp tip is ultra-fine and allows very precise lines to be drawn.
There is a learning curve as you have to develop a style where you refrain from pressing down hard on the pen.
If you use too much pressure on the nibs, there is always the possibility that they will break, or you will force excess ink out onto the drawing.
Each of the nib sizes has a different color selection available.
The only nib size that has the full-color range available is #05, which has a size of 45mm.
The other nib sizes have a limited variety of colors.
The pen writes in a smooth, non-scratchy way and presents no problems.
If you are content with the limited range of colors, the fact int cannot be refilled, and the environmental effects of using the pen, then you should be very happy purchasing Sakura Micron pens.
You can buy six-packs of Sakura Micron pens for a reasonable price.
These usually come in at just a couple of dollars per pen.
Compared to Copic, they are much cheaper, but of course, the Copic is refillable.
The choice is yours.
Pigma Micron Technical Specification Summary
The ink used: Pigma Ink by Sakura
Is it Waterproof: Yes
Is it fade and Chemical resistant: Yes
How many sizes of nib: Seven
Will it smear when dry: No
Will it feather when dry: No
Does it meet ACMI: standards: Yes
Is it evaluated for Cosmetic use: No
Is it suitable for fabrics that will be washed: No
15 colors (refer to the color chart)
Note: Not all colors are available in all nib sizes.
The Sakura Pigma pen is a useful product for those engaged in drafting and artists who want to draw thin lines.
The pen is particularly useful if the work needs to be kept for longer periods and where the writing must not be easy to alter.
I am not particularly keen on adding more plastic waste to the environment and would prefer a refillable version.
However, that is not the case at the moment.
Genuine Sakura Pigma Micron pens seem to be a great quality product and have many great features but beware of fakes.. That is for another article.
Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As 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 Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney.
While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.
His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia.
He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.