Which Pen is Best for Drawing?

Artists Tools at The Hamilton Pen Company

With more and more people opting for mixed media in their art work and with the popularity of the pen as a key tool in any artist's kit, the question should be asked… Which is the best pen for drawing? 

Obviously we begin this with the caveat that - as with art - there is a large amount of personal preference and subjectivity that goes with the experience of using a pen for drawing and creating art. With that said, there are certain characteristics which lend certain pens to artistry more than others. With brands specifically catering to artists' pens and also the creativity which comes from utilising a writing instrument NOT uniquely designed for artistic purposes, the options are almost endless. Then factor in the use of bottled inks and fountain pens or brush pens and the mind truly boggles!

What is clear, is that your work can be transformed merely by the pen that is used -  should you choose a pen as your weapon of choice! Poor ink-flow, unsaturated colour tones or inks which do not behave as expected can all create disasters in your artistic process! Here at The Hamilton Pen Company we have compiled a list introducing some of the best pens to use for drawing and art. It should go without saying that this list is purposefully quite general, if you are looking for something more specific or specialist please do get in touch! 

Generally, we are looking for the following criteria in a quality artist pen; archival ink (specialist to ensure longevity), fade resistant and/or lightfast ink and pigmented ink to ensure that lines and colours will be retained over time. Additionally, you may be looking for specific characteristics like water-proof pens, bleed proof inks or even something as simple as colour variety within a brand. All of these factors will play a role in your decision. Without further ado, here are our picks of our favourite pens at The Hamilton Pen Company for drawing and creating a-in no particular order…

The Best Pens For Drawing: Legend Status! - Sakura Pigma Micron

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Sakura Pigma Micron has made an appearance. For many, the Sakura Pigma Micron is synonymous with drawing pens…and for good reason. Highly valued as a lettering and fine line work pen, the Sakura Pigma Micron creates a satisfying line with depth which is not known for bleeding or smudging and is archival safe. The sturdy yet fine tip is familiar to many although there is little variety available among the nibs even for seasoned pros.

The Best Pens For Drawing: All Rounder - Pilot V7 Rollerball

Although the Pilot V7 rollerball may not be the priciest pen on the list, it puts many other competitors to shame!  What the Pilot V7 delivers is an experience that is something of a hybrid between a ballpoint and a fountain pen. The ink is delivered in a smooth and fluid flow although it lacks the scratchiness that lends itself to accuracy if you are looking for something for fine line work. The pen itself is comfortable in hand and the line produced is smudge proof even for left handed users. The main critique of the pen is that the ink flow is quite fast and this isn't always ideal for highly detailed work that may be more associated with tattoo design, graphic work and technical drawing but for more free flowing and organic approaches. An aspect of this pen that we appreciate is the transparent ink reservoir which means you will never run out of ink mid-project!

The Best Pens For Drawing: Cool Colouring - Chameleon Colour Tops

We may be stretching the definition of drawing here but the Chameleon Colour tops have made such an impression it would seem wrong not to include them. Although technically more about colouring in, there’s no limit to what can be done with these wonderful tools. Chameleon colours create smooth, seamless colour-to-colour blends with their award winning patented system. To create a similar effect would normally require multiple pens and a whole lot of skill and patience. With the Chameleon colour top system none of that is required! Quick and easy is the order of the day so that you can concentrate on your creative endeavours! Produce highlights, contrast, shading and gradients with just one pen and enjoy seamless colour-to-colour blends.

The Best Pens For Drawing: Graphic - Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Pen


The Kuretake ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka pen is a water based pigment liner drawing pen and is available in tip sizes - 0.1mm, 0.2mm and 0.5mm, ideal for precision drawing and writing. Contains sepia water based pigment ink which is lightfast, odourless, xylene free and smudge proof with watercolours or alcohol-based markers. The pen itself seems unremarkable from the outside with its lightweight and well designed barrel but the real star of the show is the tip. This pen performs! The tip produces pigmented and sharp lines perfect for drawing.

The Best Pens for Drawing: Lettering & Calligraphy - Sakura Pigma Professional Brush Pen

Going back to a much loved brand among artists, Sakura Brush pens offer the ultimate in versatility.  These durable brush nibs respond to instant changes in pressure or direction with a silky smooth, accurate and consistent ink flow. The legendary Pigma Micron is what Sakura are known for but they also produce some of the best markers and graphic pens making them a favourite among professionals, students and amature creatives the world over. 

Established in 1921 in Japan, Sakura constantly strives for innovation and leading concepts, this has resulted in a product range varying from drawing instruments for creative applications at the highest level, to functional writing materials for the home, school, office or industry. 

From super fine hairlines to big, bold strokes, the Pigma Professional Brush Pen is an excellent addition to anyone's collection.  The deep black, archival quality Pigma ink ensures the mark will last a lifetime.

Artists who prefer brushes will appreciate the flexibility of a portable brush with continuous ink flow, avoiding the need to dip the brush and carry messy inks. Manga and comic artists, illustrators, and lettering art professionals will enjoy the expressiveness of thick to thin strokes with ease and fluidity.

The Best Pens For Drawing: Style & Substance - J Herbin Glass Dip Pen

This one is more of a guilty pleasure! For calligraphers, scrapbookers and all artists who enjoy ink, glass dip pens will be a familiar sight. The joy of working with bottled ink (and there are so many options on the market these days!) is unparalleled so why not extend that joy to your artist's tool of choice too! 

The beautiful hand-made glass dip pen from J Herbin is the perfect option for artistic calligraphy and craft work. Reminiscent of 16th century Venice, each pen is an individual work of art. The fine glass tip is twisted in a light spiral to hold the maximum amount of ink.This particular glass dip pen is as attractive as it is well crafted and barring forceful drops , will last a lifetime.

The Best Pens For Drawing: Fibre Tips  - Staedtler Triplus

These are not your everyday felt tip pens waiting to be smashed into a colouring book, the sophisticated fibre tips from Staedtler are a world class artists tool. The Staedtler Triplus Colour is an excellent fibre tip colouring pen from internationally renowned manufacturer Staedtler. The Triplus fits perfectly in the hand for effortless, fatigue free writing, drawing and colouring. The ergonomic triangular shape encourages correct grip so the hand remains relaxed and unstrained, even when used over longer periods of time. The tip of the Triplus is sturdy and pressure resistant with a 1.0mm line width. The ergonomic triangular barrel lends itself to effortless periods of work fatigue free! The water based ink washes out of most fabrics so, if like me you tend to get fibre tip pen ink everywhere, have no fear of stains and mess! Oh and they are available in 48 colours!

The Best Pens For Drawing At The Hamilton Pen Company

We have barely scratched the surface of the varied and intriguing pens on offer at The Hamilton Pen Company for artists and artistic types alike. There are no rules in art (don’t tell my former art teacher i said that though!) and anything goes! Sketch out a landscape with a fountain pen, form a portrait with a marker, work that canvas with a pencil…wherever your creativity takes you we have the tool to follow you.


 Shop pens for drawing and art at The Hamilton Pen Company.


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