Sunday, August 8, 2010

On the types and use of pigment ink pens

I have used numerous pens over the decades, starting with the titanium-tipped technical pen in the mid-eighties and moving on to disposable pigment ink pens.

For many years, when I was sketching in England, I was reliant on the Eddings pigment ink pens. That lasted me for three or four years. I had only found Eddings here once and I found that it had dried up!

For the next decade, I had used Pilot pigment ink pens. These and the Edding ones were used in a lot of my major pieces, larger scale ones which I no longer do.

Now, I use a mixture. Copic, Uni, Faber-Castell, Sakura and ZIG-Millennium. I am retiring the Copic and Faber-Castell pens soon, and will rely mainly on Uni.

I will retain my Sakura and ZIG Millennium ones.

My views:
  • Eddings - Average. (if I recall).
  • Rotring - Initial heavy ink flow, even with the smaller tipped ones, resulting in thick lines. Leaky nib.
  • Copic - Weak tip, poor nib, easily spoilt. Small ink well.
  • Uni - Consistent ink flow. Medium ink well. Good nib.
  • Pilot - Small ink well. Dries easily. Uneven flow later allows them to be used for textures.
  • Faber-Castell Ecco - Small ink well. Average nib. Better than Pilot.
  • Sakura Micron - Good flow, good nib.
  • ZIG-Millennium - Good nib. Average flow.
  • Artline - Good.

My top preferences:
  1. Uni
  2. Micron Sakura / Artline (Equal ranking)
  3. ZIG-Millennium

Not recommended:
  1. Copic
  2. Rotring
  3. Pilot

Of course, my use of them is consistent with my drawings and my style. Others may have different usages like drafting and also different styles of drawing.

I also cultivate my pens. In what sense? Older pens are used to do textures while newer ones with their smoother flow are used for certain line work and hatching.


  1. An extensive review I must say. I have relied on Rapidograph (which is not exactly meant for drawing) for many years until I have to stop drawing altogether. Now, it seems Artline is our editor's choice here :) I'm not sure, I think I'd used Uni in the past that gives quite a uniformed black without patches if you try filling a big portion of a picture. If I ever have that kind of time again, I might explore some of your recommendations. Thanks a bunch for the posting.

    By the way, I'm Red Herring

  2. Yes, that titanium-tipped one is the Rapidograph. I used it to the extent that it leaked! Like you, I used it for many years.

  3. May I know if there is a reason for your editor to have a choice?