Ink pen advice

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Ink pen advice

Postby Sammy Boy » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:31 am

Hi everyone,

I am looking to buy some ink pens for my drawings. As someone who has been very lazy and only used pens to go over my pencils, I would like to get your advice.

Specifically, I am after an ink pen that:

- Goes over pencil marks fairly smoothly
- Does not smudge
- Does not bleed (or as little as possible)
- Is generally of good quality

Also, not sure if ink pens are waterproof (or can be) ?

Price is not too big an issue, though I am hoping to spend no more than 20USD for one ink pen. If this price limit is unrealistic for what I'm asking for, please let me know.

Thank you. :)
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Postby Maledicte » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:04 am

By "ink" pen, do you mean anything other than regular office writing pens?
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Postby R86 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:11 am

I'm assuming you mean fine-line ink pens as opposed to ballpoint or nib pens. I picked up a set of Faber-Castell pens, of four varying thicknesses, for US$13 just recently. The thickest of the four seems to have run out already, which mystifies me. I am not having any such problems with the other three. Granted, for the price I can't complain, and I was under the impression at least that this is a good brand name. And while I'm not inking directly over pencils, but instead using a light box to trace the pencils, still I'm not noticing any significant problems with smudging or bleeding.

But I am by no means a real artist, just a dabbler, so please take what I say with several [s]grains[/s] teaspoons of salt. :)

ETA: If the thickest pen doesn't come back to life soon, I'll try to pick up a matching pen with the plastic "brush tip." I had one of these once and it is quite intriguing. Not bad for (jet black) hair, at least in close-up. ;)
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Postby Maledicte » Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:41 pm

I recommend Faber-Castell pens too. I find the ink isn't as thin as in Sakura micron pens. Copic makes good pens too, but they're pricier. Neither brand smudges or bleeds (though I find that paper quality affects bleeding just as much as ink quality).

Other brands:

Prismacolor - pricey, but the ink is dreamy-smooth. It sacrifices density though, so if you want a nice dark black you have to go over the lines again. My favorite brush-pens of the lot however.

Zig scrapbooking pens - very cheap, can find them at places like Walmart. Nothing fantastic but I find them dependable. Then again, dependability in a pen is pretty fantastic.

Tombow - makes a nice dual-ended brush pen. Ink is meh, but convenience is a plus.

Staedler pens - not a fan. Good ink quality but poor flow.

And while I'm not a huge fan of Sakura micron pens because of price and ink, they're the most easily available, also their Graphics line of markers are nice and sturdy for thicker lines.

And of course, some people do great with Sharpies. *shrug*
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Postby MrKrillz0r » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:35 pm

I use Staedler pens and I like em' so far. But then again I'm a totally new to both drawing and inking so I just bought the first thing I found.

Seems like the next ink pencils will be from Faber-Castell though, after reading this thread. :D
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Postby Sammy Boy » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:10 am

Thanks for the advice everyone, much appreciated.

Maledicte (post: 1484862) wrote:By "ink" pen, do you mean anything other than regular office writing pens?


I think I used the wrong term. I probably should have typed "texta" or "marker".

I'll check out the Faber-Castell stuff, I have an old mechanical pencil of that brand (used to be my dad's - from the early 80s) which is still in good condition. :)
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Postby Nami » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:24 am

I use a variety of different types of Faber-Castell, all of which are excellent in my seeing. However, I've recently switched over to Nib, which is much messier because it deals with ink in a bottle. However, if gives me the manga-look I'm going for and I really do enjoy it.

Faber-Castell is a fine choice.
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Postby Asuka Neko » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:30 am

I think it all depends... I've drawn stuff that I really like with just ball-point pens, and I've also used some fancy kinds that I really didn't like. I agree with the Faber-Castells, that's what I use when I color stuff with markers.

I also like Sakura Micron pens because I can find them in really teeny-tiny sizes, so if I'm drawing small stuff, they're nice. I also have found these Pilot ones that I really like. They're just regular pens, but they ink very well and they can also withstand a lot of erasing (which the Fabers and Sakura ones can't), so they're nice to use if your pencil work is really messy.

I think I also have some Prismacolor ones... but I don't know if I've ever used them.
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Postby Nami » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:48 am

XD To summarize this for you dude, it takes a good arsenal of pens to get the effect you are looking for. As Asuka mention, Sakura Micron make for smaller, more detailed things. While Faber-Castell is good for larger and basically everything. I, myself have never used a ball-point, but I hear they are good.

All it really is man, is testing them out and seeing which ones you like best. In fact, you may end up liking one from each kind, or everyone for a different use. ^_^ They are all helpful for me when I made errors, I can easily correct it with a larger pen, or if I need to make some tiny change, I use a smaller pen.

Best advice? Just try them out and see which is best. ^_^ Everyone has a different taste and style and that REALLY effects the way an artist uses a pen. :) I can say this with the utmost confidence, since most of my friends are artists as well as my grandmother, mother and sisters. So the way you use a pen, or how you like a pen will really depend on how you draw. ^_^
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Postby Maledicte » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:36 am

Nami (post: 1485037) wrote:I use a variety of different types of Faber-Castell, all of which are excellent in my seeing. However, I've recently switched over to Nib, which is much messier because it deals with ink in a bottle. However, if gives me the manga-look I'm going for and I really do enjoy it.

Oh I love nib. Need to get back to using it more. I like to use Speedball bowl pointed nibs with Daler-Rowney Calli ink.

I'd like to get back into doing more brush-inking as well, but I only have cheapo brushes. Need to invest in nicer ones. ^^;
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Postby Dante » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:40 pm

I recommend not going over the pencil, or if you do, just make sure that you made if light enough that you can ultimately erase it afterwards (make sure the ink dries and test on a separate piece of paper to make sure it won't smudge). If you choose to avoid drawing over the pencil, just grab some tracing paper and place it over the pencil work, or if you want a thicker piece, the best way to do this is with a light table (although they're too expensive for just one project, but you might be able to borrow one at school).

As far as the pens, I used to use Fabre Castel Manga pens but eventually switched over to the cheaper Pigma Senseis, which I enjoyed just as well. Currently I don't even use those too much as I'm drawing on paper and then going directly to a tablet. That takes some getting used to, but it makes a nice line if you're doing digital and with ctrl-z, it's far more forgiving of mistakes then pens are. You can even make multiple layers so that you can ink on one, then color in below that to get a perfectly colored sample without having a hard edge.
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Postby Nami » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:05 am

@Maledicte: :3 Nibs are fun. I really should look into a ballpoint, I like checking out everything. What kind of ballpoint do you use? o.o

@Pascal: ctrl-z is my fwwwiiiend! :3 XDD
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Postby Dante » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:45 pm

Nami (post: 1486405) wrote:@Pascal: ctrl-z is my fwwwiiiend! :3 XDD


Have you ever had the situation where you go back to regular drawing with a pencil, make a trial action and then instinctively reach for ctrl-z when you don't like it, only to be shocked to find it doesn't work for RL drawings XD.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:55 pm

If you're interested in thinking outside the regular inking box a little bit, check out a bottle of Higgins Black Magic ink (Windsor & Newton is also good, as I've found), for use with a fountain pen nib, or as I prefer, a thin (or thick, depending on the results you want) brush. Inking with a brush has actually become my method of choice, as I feel like it gives me a lot more control over line width, and how much area I can cover. Also it just feels SO much smoother when you're inking over anything. XD I love it, and definitely recommend trying it, especially if you're in art for more than just a hobby.
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Postby airichan623 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:31 pm

Maledicte (post: 1484889) wrote:I recommend Faber-Castell pens too. I find the ink isn't as thin as in Sakura micron pens. Copic makes good pens too, but they're pricier. Neither brand smudges or bleeds (though I find that paper quality affects bleeding just as much as ink quality).

Other brands:

And while I'm not a huge fan of Sakura micron pens because of price and ink, they're the most easily available, also their Graphics line of markers are nice and sturdy for thicker lines.

And of course, some people do great with Sharpies. *shrug*


I own the Farber-Casteel Manga pen set (which has 4 black pens of various sizes and 4 gray brush pens), as well as a Pigma Sensei Manga Pen set. Both of these do not bleed.(at least not when you don't IMMEDIATELY try to erase your pencil marks- wait a mere 30 seconds just in case. :) ) However, with the black Farber-Casteel brush pen you sometimes have to go over your ink again, because it fades a little with harsh erasing [I draw very very hard so I have to do a load of erasing]. Pigma Sensei doesn't usually need this. However, the Farber-Casteels don't dry out for a VERY long time. I kept mine for a full year with regular use. But by the time 6months of Pigma had gone by, the 2 smallest nibs are close to being completely dry. :( sad face.

In conclusion, for approx $22, the Farber-Casteel manga set is your best option.

For super-duper dark things, try using actual calligraphic ink with a metal nib; but its very smeary-but very sharp.

See my deviantart for examples of Farber-Casteel drawings. :D
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Postby Nami » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:53 am

Pascal (post: 1486491) wrote:Have you ever had the situation where you go back to regular drawing with a pencil, make a trial action and then instinctively reach for ctrl-z when you don't like it, only to be shocked to find it doesn't work for RL drawings XD.


YES!! YES!! I totally have. It was hilarious. I was all alone and I got annoyed and put my pointer fingers where I normally would when using ctrl-Z and I said; "Oh... dang it. -_-;" XDDD

@Corrie: O_O Can you buyz that in Michaels?

@Airi: I have a tip for that. Find a MOO eraser, its made in Korea, its about 3 dollars and the only place I've seen it is Hobby Lobby. BUT IT IS AMAZING! it doesn't dull the ink!!
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:59 am

Nami (post: 1486613) wrote:@Corrie: O_O Can you buyz that in Michaels?


Probably not, as Michael's (as I know it) is leaning more and more towards crafts and less towards art supplies. Then again, I don't have a Michael's in
my hometown, and only shop at the one in my college town on Sundays, when Hobby Lobby is closed. XD I bought my particular bottle of Black Magic from Borders.com, I believe, and I know Hobby Lobby carries Windsor & Newton inks, as well as inks from other brands I'm less familiar with. Check it out, though; it's definitely awesome! Inks and watercolors have become some of my favorite mediums to use. XD
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Postby Nami » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:13 am

Oh, forgot the apostrophe. *chuckles* XD; That's true, I've noticed that. Alright, well, I wish there were a Hobby Lobby near me. ^^; I'll have to look it up online, I love Hobby Lobby. Ooh! I love watercolours unfortunately, I can't get my hands on any at the moment! It's always slipping away. :( Inks are amazing~ I shall look for the black magic then! :3
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Postby Dante » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:29 pm

[color="Red"]IMPORTANT NOTE:[/color] When buying from Micheals, always get a half price coupon, from the newspaper. 50% off $22 is $11 free! I cannot stress how important this is for any artist, we don't want you to starve just to do art!
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Postby Nami » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:33 am

:O Pascal is so right!!! Michael's is really expensive! ^_^; coupons rule.
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Postby Sammy Boy » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:35 pm

Thanks for all the responses and tips. :)

I ended up buying Faber-Castell's PITT Manga pens. Just haven't had time to do any drawing lately though...
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