Dawn DeVries Sokol


{Marking Tools Series}

Hello and Happy Monday! Hope your weekend was a great one...

I’ve been asked by a few of you what pens I use while I journal. Ah, so many pens, so little time. But today, I’m starting a series that will continue throughout the week: Marking Tools. I will review the pens and pencils I use and will discuss what they are capable of. These observations are merely my own, and ones I’ve made through my journaling...

Today: Black pens. I was introduced to Faber-Castell Pitt Pens a couple of years ago...You can buy Pitt Pens in most art supply stores, online at Dick Blick and Daniel Smith...They do come in other colors, but I mainly use the black ones. They have four different sizes of tips. I rarely use the Brush tip. I mainly use the S, F, and M tips...Some artists say they can write over anything. Not true. They don’t write over oil pastels (well, what does?), but I’ve also had some trouble using them over watercolor backgrounds, depending on the watercolor brand. I’ve tried using Caran d’Ache Neo Color crayons as background watercolor washes and then writing over them with Pitt pens...It’s not easy, but doable. I just had to keep wiping the pen on something else...or letting it rest and then using it again. But it WOULD stop working...They write well on smooth acrylic backgrounds, most coated paper, etc. The label says they are Indian ink, waterproof and maximum light-fastness.

Lately, though, I’ve been using Zig Millenium black pens the most. I first bought these open stock at Recollections about a year ago. I’m having a hard time finding them open stock elsewhere since Recollections closed, so if you know of somewhere please let me know! These are my faves because they have SEVERAL different tip sizes, and they start with 005 (smallest) and go up to, well, I don’t even know, but I think the largest size I use is 08. The ink is consistent and they are about the same as the Pitt pens when it comes to what they can write over. The label says they are pigment ink, acid-free, archival quality, lightfast, waterproof, fade proof and non-bleeding. They last quite a while...

Pens that are comparable to the Zig Milleniums are Pigma Microns by Sakura. They are pigment ink, acid-free, waterproof and fade-proof. They range in various tip sizes just like the Zigs. I started using these when I couldn’t find the Zigs.

I’ve also used a pen called Deleter Neopiko Line. It’s a pen I bought at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle. It’s a little pricier than the Zigs and Microns, but works really well. It’s a 08 tip. Made in Japan, I think it’s marketed toward anime and graphic comic artists. It’s label says it’s waterproof, pigment ink. Works the same as the others.

I just bought a couple of Prismacolor fine line pens. The jury’s still out on those. Haven’t really used them yet, but I will report once I do. They have the various sizes of tips, and the label says they are archival quality, acid free and lightfast. Found them open stock at Jerry’s Art-a-Rama here in Tempe.

Another pen I’ve messed with is the Pilot Parallel pen. These are nifty pens because they have calligraphic nibs and you can change out the ink. I’ve been working with a 1.5mm nib and lately it’s been leaking...But there is a nib cleaner included in the packaging, which I guess I should use. I guess it’s mixable color ink...Also, the ink isn’t bleed-proof. I’ve had it bleed into other inks. (See the example below...The heart was done with a pink pen that bled the Pilot Parallel line...You can find them on Jet Pens...Pilotbleed

I think the key to pens is to play with an assortment of them to find out what best works for you and the other mediums you work with. I really like to try different pens out, so when I go to Kinokuniya or make a purchase on Jet Pens, I try to buy one of another brand or two to see if I like it. That way, I’m not spending boatloads on a box of them. Also, with the way I journal, I think it’s more conducive to various pens. They are my main medium.

Coming up this week: gel pens, paint pens, Copic markers, and colored pencils.

Enjoy your day!