Favorite Pens for Writing, Sketching, Doodling & Drawing


I draw every single day. Drawing is a diversion and a challenge wrapped into one. These are my favorite pens for drawing!

Pitt Artist Pens
Faber-Castell PITT artist pens have "pigmented India Ink that is permanent, waterproof, light-fast, orderless, acid-free and archival (pH neutral)" and they come in a bunch of nib sizes, from big brush (largest) to extra super fine (smallest). I like the extra superfine (XS) tip PITT pens in black, sanguine or sepia. This is a fun kit with black pens in all of the nibs.

Black PITT artist pen, extra superfine nib, watercolor paper

Black PITT artist pen, extra superfine nib, watercolor paper

The PITT pens {smallest up to the M nib} are good for writing on paper, lettering, line work, doodling, mandalas and sketching. An inexpensive luxury. If you draw with them, you can watercolor immediately without the ink bleeding. I keep them in my backpack, purse, on the table. The PITT pens {brush and big brush nibs} are good for varying your line widths, hand-lettering and "coloring in" your doodles. PITT pens are popular with art journalists - they write on most surfaces and come in 48 colors. I indulged in a huge set of PITT brush pens, and the kids use them for their doodle art.

Reference for PITT pens... nib sizes: Brush, Medium = 0.8 mm, Fine = 0.6 mm, Superfine = 0.4 mm, Extra Superfine = 0.1 mm.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pen.
Microns are essential tools for writing, lettering, detailed line work, doodling, drawing mandalas, sketching. They come in several colors and tips, so they can draw finer lines than PITT pens. The nib is fiber with a tiny metal shaft. They dry immediately and are permanent so minimize smudging. These are extremely good quality pens, but be aware that if you are heavy handed you'll find these more sensitive to nib damage than PITT pens. The Sakura Pigma Brush pens are offered in a smaller array of colors but those colors are all bold and intense. The red is fabulous!

Sakura Gelly Roll Pens.
I love Gelly Rolls. My kids love Gelly Rolls. They are metal-nibbed gel ink pens that come in a wide array of colors and even sparkles and neons. The ink dries more slowly than PITT or Micron pens. When dry, you can paint over the lines with watercolor or gouache or whatever. My favorite for doodling is the black Gelly Roll. The ink in these pens flows smoothly and deliciously! I love them so much that I made an entire Sakura Gelly Roll Reference Guide.


White Uni-Ball Signo UM-153 and White Sakura Gelly Rolls.
Lovely flow and consistent on slightly uneven surfaces. Opaque. My go-to pens for writing and drawing on dark backgrounds. Looks lovely on black gesso, dark acrylic paint, dark watercolors. The Uni-ball is slightly better, because it flows better on super uneven and glossy surfaces. Read Getting Words on Art Journal Pages.

Sharpie Water-Based Paint Markers.
If you plan to write on dark backgrounds, you'll need a white opaque marker or a neon marker. Opaque, sturdy and write on anything. Keep in mind that these lines are NOT THIN and elegant like the Uni-ball or the Gelly Roll above. But not Sharpie oil-based paint markers. They clog, drip, and smell bad!

Sharpie Ultra-Fine Point Markers. 
My daughters use these markers for drawing mandalas, doodling, drawing ribbons and sketching. There is bleed-through on thinner papers, but the color is vivid and saturated and the tips are sturdy. 

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. 
I like to "color in" doodles with colored pencils, although they tire my hands. My kids use these for drawing, doodling, making maps and mandalas. They are rich and saturated.

For information about art materials, see Art Journaling 102