Friday, 11 May 2012

The Thing About Pens...

One thing that I totally struggle with in my art journalling is working with the layers and then writing on top of them. I LOVE to create depth in my backgrounds, and the last step of my journal pages is penwork. I have ruined so many pens with this final step of my process, and it's been getting to the point where I can't afford to buy more pens!

Enter the Wishkeepers Creativity Collective. My good friend Lisa Poast turned me on to this blog and in particular this post. They go through a list of TEN pens (different brands, nibs, etc.) and explain each of them in great detail including what kinds of surfaces they write on.

Here is the one that caught my eye (taken directly from the Wishkeepers Creativity Collective Blog):

1. Copic Markers/Pens

For a lot of art journaling techniques that use gel medium or oil pastels (even the water-soluble kind), other pens just won’t work over the top of the medium. Oil pastels, in particular, have a tendency to gum up even the most hardy of writing implements — we’ve even managed to kill a Sharpie or two in trying to write over it. (Shannon: I SO know what they mean! I've killed so many pens the past few years!)

Not so, with Copic pens and markers. Made for japanese manga, they’re a solvent-based ink that will literally write on anything — oil pastel and acetate, glossy surfaces or porous. (Shannon: Ok, I'll bite...)

Back in 2003, these were much rarer, and only came in the marker sets with one broad nib and one chisel nib. Now, though, Copic has both fine-line and thin brush tips (as shown) that are much more like “regular” pens vs. markers, with the same kind of rugged ink that’ll write on anything. (Shannon: no way! That's AWESOME!)

One note: in our tests, these pens bleed like CRAZY through untreated paper, and they smell kind of…odd. Not Sharpie-bad, but odd. Use in a well-ventilated area, and only over other media.

I went IMMEDIATELY to Amazon and ordered this set - hopefully one of my last pen purchases for a while!!

What pens to you love? Please share your thoughts and help educate us!


  1. let me know how they work....

    I just got the pen that Christy Tomlinson carries in her store Scarlet Lime ( uses but haven't tried it yet..... she uses it over all her mediums and it works for her..... so I will let you know.....

  2. For the past couple of years I've been using the Sakura Pigma Micron pens that come in a variety of sizes (.005 - .08). I've used the exclusively for Zentangle work, which I do on top of hand-dyed tissue that I apply to my gourds. I seal the surface well with Golden gel medium, and the pens just glide along the surface. They are permanent and durable--I love them. I recently tried using Pitt pens for the same purpose and wasn't as please with them. So that's my 2-cents-worth!

  3. I'm LOVING my uniPOSCA paint pens (water based and odourless). I use water soluble wax crayons in my backgrounds a lot, and gesso - and these pens write on both surfaces and actually every surface I've tried so far.

    I'll be interested to read how you get on with your Copics - some people love 'em, others don't..... Good luck!

  4. I have been hooked on Sakura for a while, my first loves. I have recently branched out and do love copics but right now I am sewing some wild oats trying to find a pen set I want to settle down least for a while!!! So many out there and so little money to experience them


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