With so many black pens out on the market, choosing the right one for your project can be confusing. Today I’m going to show you a few of my favorites and tell you a little about the advantages of each of them. This comparison will focus on my five favorite pens – Sharpie Ultra Fine Point, Copic Multiliner, Copic Multiliner SP, Zig Millenium (by EK Success), and Pigma Micron (by Sakura).
Here is a brief summary of each pen:
Each of the markers features pigment ink that has been tested for archival quality. All are acid-free, lightfast, colorfast, waterproof, fade-proof, non-bleeding and smear-proof, once dry. The pens are available in a range of nib sizes and retail (in sets) for around $16.00.
These pens contain archival ink for use in acid-free environments. They are chemically stable, waterproof, and fade resistant. According to the Sakura website, their should be no bleed-through or smears of the ink once it is dry. The pens are available in a range of nib sizes and retail for around $3.00. They may also be purchased in sets.
Copic Mulitliner and Multiliner SP:
These pens are pigment inks that have replaceable nibs and are refillable. According to the Copic website, the multiliners will not bleed when used with Copic markers. The same claim is made for the mulitliner sp. Both types of pen are available in multiple tip widths and retail for anywhere from $6.00 to $9.00 individually. They can also be purchased in sets.
Sharpie Ultra Fine Point:
Sharpie markers have a tough, resilient tip that produces a quick flowing, fast drying ink. Sharpie Ink resists water, and is permanent. The Ultra-Fine Point Sharpie has an extra-fine, hard nylon point for a 0.3 mm line width; they come in a variety of colors. These markers retail from $1.00 and up and are can be purchased individually or in sets.
The picture above is what each pen looks like when it writes on Georgia Pacific White cardstock. Each one of them can be used for writing, although I’d recommend the Zig Millenium or Pigma Micron. I chose the .01 width for those two pens because they are thin enough to use on handwritten notes as well as color fine detail images. The Pigma Micron pens are specifically marketed for “fine point technical and artistic applications.” Sharpies will write on anything (paper and beyond – fabric, ziploc bags, containers, etc) and stay put – although they bleed through most paper. The Copics are lovely and smooth to write with but they do bleed through cardstock, so if you were writing a note to someone I would not recommend them. Of the pens I am focusing on today, the Pigma Micron writes the smoothest – it literally glides across the paper.
Next I used each pen to draw a small square. I wrote the name of each pen inside, gave it a minute (two minutes max) to air dry, and then colored them each with a Copic Sketch marker. I did not heat set any of them but I did “finger test” them to see if they were dry. The Copic Multiliner SP and the Zig Millenium are the only two that did not smudge or smear at all. The Copic Multliner only smeared a little bit – I have discovered that it just needs a bit more drying time because it is a wider-nib pen. The Sharpie marker not only smudged, it bled and mixed with the Copic ink. You should be able to see that about the word in the box. It seemed dry before I colored it. The Micron pen also smeared badly.
I next tested the pens out by making a Zentangle. If you don’t know what these are, here is a review of them I wrote awhile back. Included in the Zentangle kit are two Pigma Micron pens (remember I mentioned they were marketed for fine detail work). The tile is one that was also included in the kit. It is heavyweight, 100% cotton artist’s paper with a vellum finish. Starting at the top, I used the Zig Millenium (in the section that looks like a chart graph with circles), the Copic Multiliner (in the section with darkened semi circles around the edge), the Pigma Micron (in the section full of small circles and black space between them), the Sharpie Ultra Fine Point (in the section with the white pipes and black spaces), and the Copic Multiliner SP (in the section that looks like tile flooring on the bottom). Each pen worked fine and none bled through the paper. Once again, the Pigma Micron out-shined the others in terms of detail work (it colored in the small spaces the best, and its black is the blackest one). The Sharpie marker leaked out a bit of ink when I stopped drawing – you can see that some of the white pipes have black line on them.
And here is my favorite use for the Copic Multiliners – correcting my stamp mistakes. This is a very large image. The card measures 5.5 inches square. So it can be hard to get a perfect impression of the stamp. Down by her shoes, on the diamond shaped grid, I didn’t. It was very spotty. Before I colored with Copic Sketch markers, I used the Multiliner SP to draw in the areas that I missed with ink. It’s only noticeable if you really stare at it – see how a couple of the diamonds are a bit darker? That is because my Multiliner SP has a wider nib. The smaller the nib width the finer your detail work can be. This image sat uncolored overnight, and had no bleeding problems at all.
Each of these pens has its advantages and disadvantages. As a person who does different types of crafts – card making, scrapbooking, art journaling – I feel comfortable saying that all of them are worth having in your arsenal. I use all of them regularly – the Zig Millenium and the Pigma Micron for writing, the Copic Multiliners for fixing mistakes and adding to stamped images, and the Sharpie for art journaling and just about everything else around the house.
I’d love to hear from you! What is your favorite black pen?