Friday, January 24, 2014

A Study of Pens

This is another line-play series I did, maybe 10 days ago.  These are all 5-1/2 inch square.  The fat gray line is acrylic paint, the other lines are pens ~ white Uniball Signo gel pen, black Pitt Artist pen, copper PenTouch pen.

Regarding pens in general, I've slowly been trying much of what's available, buying a couple or three different types with each order of supplies from Dick Blick.  In my experience, the ones that are often heralded as the next best thing since sliced bread, frequently disappoint.  Pigma Micron is one of those for me, although many artists regale them.  So be it.

The main thing about pens, though, is that you find you need a variety of types in order to use them on a wide variety of substrates and applied media.  Some are permanent but not waterproof, some are both permanent and waterproof, which you need if you plan to do anything on top of the ink.  Some write on anything, some won't write on crayon or pastels, like the non-paint markers (and especially the porous-tip pens like Micron, Pitt, Sharpie).
Then there's nib size.  Like with paint brushes, there's no standardization.  One brand's .5mm nib will be fatter than the next brand's.  So you end up buying a lot of pens just to find a few that work for you.

The ones I like best for laying down a good solid line and which write on anything are the acrylic paint pens.  Only a few brands have really fine nibs, most have wider nibs for applications on posters and other larger work.  My faves in this category are Sakura PenTouch, Sakura IdentiPen (dual nibbed, fine and ultra-fine), and Sharpie Paint ultra-fine.

Uniball Signo UM-153 in black and white are probably the best gel pens, their gold is a winner as well.  These write really well on most things, but they're not waterproof...which can be a problem.

I have countless other brands of pens in my collection, as well, and I'm always adding more.  Some I write with occasionally only.  And I weed through my collection periodically to get rid of the ones that don't work for me.  Another factor that I take into consideration is how the pen feels in my hand.  Some are simply too thin and hurt too much to write with for any length of time.

The ones I mentioned above are the best I've found for the art applications I've been using them for.  Pens for just writing have their own idiocyncracies and are too numerous to mention.  Except to say that I prefer my handwriting with Sharpie Ultra Fine Point pens, but the nibs break down easily and the pens run out of ink too quickly.  Thank goodness, though, they're only about a buck a piece at Blick.

The best selection of art pens is at Dick Blick.  The best selection of writing pens and many art pens is at Jet Pens


ileneharris said...

This is a really good, in-depth study of pen types. I am saving it so I don't need to do all the work you've done.

jacki long said...

Good to know Connie, and thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

I ♥ the Faber-Castell PITT big brush pen for big scribbly writing (a bit pricy but worth it) and my very newly discovered favorite for my normal sloppy print/scribble writing is the Pilot BRAVO, which I ♥ beyond all "things"! TMI?

Meg Fowler said...

Great post, Connie. I see a few I'll have to try. I agree with you about my favorite writing pen, the fine point Sharpie. Dark black and permanent. I buy them by the dozen at Sam's.

Roberta Warshaw said...

Thanks for all the helpful info. I just now discovered the hard truth about the white gel pen that I was so in love with.

Leslie said...

The drawings look like crazy wandering rivers. I'm glad you wrote about the pens you're using cause I've been eyeing the the last few posts, wondering what they all were. Will be near a Blick in a couple days so will try the PenTouch and the Pilot Bravo.

ginigin said...

My fave acrylic pens are the UniPosca xf set from jetpens. They have never failed me and also work great on rocks, though I'm going to get another white one since the rocks are a bit hard on the tip. Thanks for all your thoughts on the pens. As always, really love seeing your work.

juliaD said...

Hi Constance, Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, I think you are one of the most watchable collage artists I am seeing currently, I love your colour combinations and design, and I look forward to seeing your latest art always, and your words concerning my therapy work is so spot on. Yes, I agree so much with continual personal growth for therapists, as staying stuck where you are, doesn't help anyone. .....x

Anonymous said...

Miss Connie,

demystifying the pens! So I am not the only one with a huge collection of mainly ordinary pens.
i can't help buying them.

Thanks for some good tips here.