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    « If Yes, Delight | Main | No Frills Prompt 24: Reflection »

    All About Getting Words on Dark Backgrounds

    So here's the situation - you've created the coolest art journal background BUT it's super dark, whether black gesso, dark patterned paper, a mix of darks, or just a mix of colors, textures, not completely flat and smooth and white! You want to get words on your art journal background, so the options are...

    1. Write on something else and attach to your paper - ie. correction tape, paper, printed paper.

    correction tape {details here}


    you could print and attach your words with glue or tape 

    2. Write on the background with a bright neon, vivid or metallic marker/pen.

    write in Sakura Gelly Roll - moonlight

    sakura gelly rolls - moonlight: brilliant lines on black paper

     write in Sakura Gelly Rolls - metallic - smooth ink flow and good visibility on black

    Gellyroll metallic - gold

    write in tree house paint marker, pink, fine tip - visible on black but not as opaque as the sharpie poster paint markers - the tip is wider than the sharpie extra fine paint marker - found these at Hobby Lobby {tested below}

    Sharpie poster paint markers - these are called either "Sharpie water-based paint marker" or "Sharpie poster paint marker" and might be packaged differently but work the same way

    top = yellow extra fine point

    bottom = fluorescent yellow fine point

    last I checked, the fluorescents come in fine but not extra fine point and the extra fine point is a much more crisp line - I love using these for embellishing with dots or edging black letters {tested below} 

    3. Write in white on a dark background, but which white pen/marker?

    sharpie poster paint marker, water based, extra fine point

    sharpie paint marker, oil based, extra fine tip - these gum up fairly quickly after I start using them and they have a yukky odor...

    sharpie poster paint marker, water based, medium tip - fantastic - great for art journalists

    treehouse paint marker, white fine tip - visible on black but not as opaque as the sharpie poster paint markers - the tip is wider than the sharpie extra fine paint marker - the silver marker is great on black

    sharpie markers that often get confused...

    top = Sharpie oil-based paint marker, extra fine, white

    bottom = Sharpie water-based poster paint marker, extra fine, white

    I love the water-based poster paint marker and do not love the oil-based paint marker

    Sakura Gelly Roll, White , my favorite

    testing sakura gelly roll pens on black paper {here's a detailed review of gelly rolls}

    testing all sorts of pens on black paper...

    4. Paint your words in acrylic paint.

    white acrylic paint with a brush + stencil

    Suggestions for writing on dark or black backgrounds or black gesso:

    Sakura Gelly Roll, medium white or metallic {esp silver and gold} or neon colors
    Sharpie Poster-Paint Markers, white extra fine {the water-based type}
    Sanford Uni-Ball Gel UM-153 gel pen, white
    Rapidograph or fountain pen with white opaque ink

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    Reader Comments (8)

    I love all your pen overviews!

    The white pen is a Uni-ball Signo UM-153. You can find it here: They're awesome! :)

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

    My favorite white pen is also the Uni-ball Signo UM-153. The silver and gold are awesome too! I order mine from Jet Pens as well.

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmber L.

    Thank you so much for posting this information! I love the Gelly Roll Moonlight pens too! The only issue I'm having is trying to paint anything over them, it smears them away. I just recently ordered some of the metallic Gelly Roll pens from amazon for really cheap.
    By the way, I love your blog! Your journal pages are so full of color. I absolutely adore bright colors!

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaris

    Sara and Amber, I will definitely try the UM-153, I've heard so many good things about the pen!

    Karis, I've not tried to paint over the moonlight markers - generally I use gellyrolls on the top layer of my doodles or art journal pages. They should be permanent, perhaps they are not completely dry, or the medium on top is dissolving them somehow?


    06.6.2011 | Registered Commentergypsy

    Your run downs on art supplies are super helpful. There's not enough money or time to try them all myself, so I love it when someone does posts like this. Your Sakura pen post was great. Always look forward to your blog...

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

    I posted a link to this post on my blog here:

    Hope you check it out!!

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

    i luv sakura pens! i'm such a pen ho. ur idea of using the bright pen over the paint swatch rocks! i also like this white pen i just discovered at the craft store by marvey it's sorta like the white jelly roll pen. all my white uni-ball signo's dried out before i finished using them.

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered Commenterteddi

    I usually use white acrylic ink with a pen+nib or the method of journaling on other pieces of paper and adding to the page.
    Fun post.

    06.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMissKoolAid

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