Journaling Pens: American Crafts vs. Copic vs. ZIG

Reported by Reyanna Klein

I’m a journaler. It’s always been my favorite part of scrapbooking. I just love telling stories, and I love sharing my thoughts and observations in my scrapbooking pages. So naturally, I’ve always been interested in pens made for scrapbookers. I really wanted to find my favorite… find the best pen on the market, the pen that makes me love journaling even more.

And even if you don’t journal much in your scrapbooking and you don’t write inscriptions on the inside of your cards, perhaps having a pen you love will motivate you to *want* to write more.

I decided to do a pen comparison of the American Crafts Precision Pen, the Copic Multiliner SP, and the ZIG Millenium. I reviewed all three brands using their 0.1 and 0.5 tips.

I think it’s important to add that I didn’t really have a loyalty to any brand in particular, so I didn’t really feel a bias toward any of the three before I did this comparison.

There are different textured cardstocks out there, and most scrapbookers have a preference (I know I do!). Therefore, I decided to test three different textures: canvas, orange peel and smooth.

Here are my favorites and observations:

0.1 Tip on Canvas Textured Cardstock
My favorite of the three: Copic Multiliner SP
Observations: Although the Copic point feels delicate, it was still so soft and smooth to write with. The American Crafts Precision was nice as well, but not as smooth. The ZIG Millenium with this small tip felt coarse and rough on this texture.

0.5 Tip on Canvas Textured Cardstock
My favorite of the three: Copic Multiliner SP
Observations: Writing on canvas texture is not my favorite thing. That being said, this Copic pen made it much less painful. (Tee hee.) They all wrote roughly on this texture, but the Copic was much smoother over-all.

0.1 Tip on Orange Peel Textured Cardstock
My favorite of the three: American Crafts Precision Pen
Observations: The AC Precision wrote nice and smooth. It felt easier to write with than the other two on this texture. The ZIG was coarse, but not as much as on the canvas texture. And the Copic, though smooth, made a sound (similar to a scratching sound) as it pulled across the paper. I’m sure this is due to the fact that it has a delicate and softer tip.

0.5 Tip on Orange Peel Textured Cardstock
My favorite of the three: Copic Multiliner SP
Observations: The Copic was the sharpest of the three on this texture while still feeling smooth as I wrote. It created a very crisp line and still felt soft as butter.

0.1 Tip on Smooth Cardstock
My favorite of the three: Too hard to decide!
Observations: Eek… you know, smooth cardstock is a tough one. I suppose these pens were pretty much *made* to write on smooth cardstock, and that’s why I’m having a tough time deciding. They were all pretty good, but just different and good in their own ways. I think this really depends on how you like your pen to feel. If I had to categorize them, they would be: ZIG – hard, American Crafts – medium, Copic – soft. So I guess I’ll be like Goldilocks here and say perhaps the American Crafts would be a good “favorite” for the average scrapbooker. Not too hard, not too soft, but just right. 🙂 And I think I use all three of these… depending on what mood I’m in and if I’m writing fast, slow, cursive, doodling, etc.

0.5 Tip on Smooth Cardstock
My favorite of the three: Copic Multiliner SP
Observations: All three wrote nicely on the smooth cardstock, but I preferred the crispness of the letters and the soft butter-like feel of how this Copic wrote. I’ll use this Copic for a majority of my journaling (unless I need to switch to the 0.1 tip for smaller spaces).

And here are the specs and my observations of each brand:

ZIG Millenium – $2.99

  • pigment ink, acid-free, archival-quality, lightfast, waterproof, fade-proof, non-bleeding
  • available online and at most scrapbook and chain hobby stores
  • comes in different sizes
  • comes in different colors (and the ZIG Memory System Writers come in different colors as well)
  • rough, strong tip
  • not a smooth write
  • feels best on smooth paper

American Crafts Precision Pen – $2.29

  • acid-free, fade-proof, waterproof, non-bleeding
  • available online and at most scrapbook stores
  • comes in different sizes and colors
  • smooth, good control, strong tip (medium compared to the other two)
  • doesn’t skip/makes good, clean lines
  • feels best on smooth paper
  • 0.5 feels thicker than the other two

Copic Multiliner SP – $6.71

  • acid-free, pigment ink, water and copic proof, non-bleeding
  • available online and at some hobby stores
  • comes in different sizes and colors
  • refillable ink, replaceable nibs
  • soft, smooth tip
  • great for doodling (free-flow feel)
  • smaller tip (0.1) demands control of pen
  • smaller tip (0.1) makes a bit of a scratching noise when pulled over paper quickly
  • professional quality
  • feels good on both smooth and textured papers

Where you can buy them (some offer free shipping with $25 purchase; others offer shipping deals)…

American Crafts pens at and also at
Copic pens at and also at
ZIG pens at and also at

All in all, I’d have to go with Copic as my go-to journaling pen… mainly, because I love the *feel* of it on paper. I do love the American Crafts as well, and the American Crafts pens do *look* best on many of the examples I gave. I’ll still keep both around for everyday use. 🙂

After I tried these Copic pens and compared it to the others, I went out and got it in three tip sizes, and I also purchased the Copic Multiliner SP Color set, which I LOVE. Yes, Copic is pricey. Yes, they are an investment. But you get what you pay for. You can FEEL the difference in these pens. If you like top-quality products and pens that write like butter, you will *not* be disappointed.

What is your favorite pen? Have you tried the Copic pens yet?

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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9 Responses to Journaling Pens: American Crafts vs. Copic vs. ZIG

  1. Avatar
    .................... June 26, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    Haven’t tried a Copic…but I like the Sakura Micron pens.

  2. Avatar
    Sandra June 26, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    thanks for the review – I have not tried Copics yet – may just have to!

  3. Avatar
    Jenn June 26, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I haven’t tried any of these pens yet.

  4. Avatar
    Axes DesigNs June 26, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    I haven’t tried.. thanks for the review… so helpful.

  5. Avatar
    scrappypug June 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    I have only tried the Zig and Sakura..was always wondering what the copic multiliner was… thanks!

  6. Avatar
    Jen June 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    Thank you so much for the review. This is exactly why I read craft critque. I’m still searching for a great pen that I love, this was really helpful.

  7. Avatar
    Bashful June 28, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Great article, and really informative! I’ve been looking for a new journaling pen. (but did you have to like the most expensive one? LOL.)

  8. Avatar
    Farmer*swife June 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    Love this review! I was so hoping you were giving a pen away 😉

  9. Avatar
    *reyanna klein* June 29, 2009 at 7:22 pm #

    Farmers*wife, if you really want to win a Copic pen, just keep reading Craft Critique! You never know… we *may* give some away in the future… 😉