Must Haves: Black Fine Point and Other Assorted Pens

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being the typographic nerd that I am, I have quite the stash of fine point pens. From 0.05pt all the way up to a thick marker pen, if I see it I will find a reason to buy it for my collection. It's even gotten to the point where the mug I store all my black pens alone is running out of room!

If you are a hopeful designer, illustrator or just like to collect stationery the first tip I can give you when beginning your quest for a stunning pen collection is to pick out the waterproof "pigment" pens. This means that if you want to add watercolour to your work, or if there's a small spillage of water, your linework wont be totally ruined by running along the page.

I don't really have a particular favourite brand of finepoint pen, I like to try everything available to me and broaden my collection, I instead tend to pick out my pens by their size. I buy my pens from a range of shops, department stores to stationery stores to art shops, these sort of prices range from RRP of $2 all the way up to $30 and more. If you're not as committed as I am to your precious fine point pens, I'd suggest sticking to the lower end of the spectrum and buy in the bulk packs. But if you are someone like me who does line work illustrations or typography as both a hobby and a career path, then forking out for some of the higher end art pens is worth it.

I have a handful of favourite pens that I constantly use, they're always hiding in the bottom of my pencil case going to and from university or laying around in assorted places in my apartment. I like to use these for everything; doodling, typography, bookwork and my university work itself.

My top five are:

3.5mm Parallel Pen by Pilot
This has been a very recent purchase, something that had been on my wishlist for a long time and with university starting up again I felt like it was a purchase well made. I have never used a calligraphy pen before, and have used a fountain pen only a handful of times, so this was almost a new experience for me. It only took me a couple of hours of constant practicing to master this pen, and I am having a great time using it! It's very easy to use and produces great linework, the only difficult part about this kind of pen is figuring out the angel to draw with to produce the cleanest line. This pen is from the higher price range, $29.99 for the pen and two ink cartridges, then $1 per refill.

0.8mm Millennium by Zig
This has been one of my trusty steeds, one of my ultimate favourites. It has wonderful movement, and the nib doesn't break after a lot of use and the ink is pigment so is able to be used around water without running. There isn't much else to say apart from it's a must have, it's the perfect point size being not too big and not too small. The price range is on the lower to middle side of the scale, approximatly $5 per pen.

0.6mm Permanent Universal F by Staedtler
This isn't honestly a pen that I like to use all the time, but when I do it never fails. The ink produced is one of the truest black shades I have seen. The ink dries almost instantly and is waterproof on "most surfaces". This brand is one of the most trustworthy brands to go and works wonderfully. This is approximatly $5 per pen, this brand has a lot of different "types" of pens, ranging in different nibs to different point sizes, you can get a great collection from this brand alone.

0.7mm UB-157 by Uni-ball Eye
This pen is a rollerball pen, meaning there isn't a felt or plastic tip at the end but a ball that rolls around (like a roll-on deoderent!) which means the linework can sometimes be uneven, especially if the ink is running low it can sometimes not even work at all. The pen states that it's waterproof, but it does however take a long time to dry and smudges very easily when in contact with your hand or watercolour. This is one of my cheaper pens, paying approximately $4 per pen and can come in bulk sets also.

0.1mm Drawing Pen by Zig
This is one of my top favourite pens, one that I have been using for almost everything and I will need to buy a new one very soon! This nib is plastic and because it's such a thin point, it is very easy to snap or split under a lot of pressure. I like to use this for small or light text, or for faint poutlines with watercolour illustrations. This is another slightly expensive pen for the size it is, being $6, but as it's a fairly rarely sized nib so it can be a mission to get a hand on, only a few brands make them.


Here's a handful of typographic drawings that I have made recently, which all involve each of my favourite pens. If you would like to see more of my design work, check out my online portfolio! Comment below if you want more details on what pen was used for what piece.

What are your "must have" design and art supplies? Are there any type or brand of pens that you feel like I should go buy? What do you think of my typographic work, do you think I should try to dabble in a wider range of freehand line work? Do you want to see more of these kinds of design-y posts? I'd love to hear what you have to say.

- Louise x

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