8 Best Drawing Pens

best drawing pens for artists and drawing techniques

Every idea starts with the pen. Furthermore, every idea you ever got and everything you have ever done was probably sketched on paper first, before becoming a movie, a video game, a comic book or anything else. Even though we do most of our work in front of a screen, it seems like we couldn’t do it without pen and paper. We have assembled a list of eight best drawing pens for artists which vary in prices, tip sizes and uses. 

best drawing pens for artists

1. Copic Multiliner SP

Probably the best pen overall out there. They have become the synonim for great drawing pens. Due to their rich dark ink they are smooth on paper and they produce almost no sound. Copic pens are waterproof, therefore they don’t smudge even on the worst paper. The thing I don’t like about Copic SP is that their pins are extremely sensitive so it would probably break them if you dropped them. They are, however capable of performing perfectly under any angle and even on grainy paper. They come in two variations; the refillable and the disposable. When you take the parts that need replacing (depending on how much you use your pen) into consideration the price of both is almost the same. I prefer the refillable ones since they don’t require any maintenance. For more information, reviews and prices click here.

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2. Rotring Rapidograph

A very technical pen in both design and performance. It does not glide on a page like a gel roller and since it’s a technical drawing pen it will bleed on some types of paper. This is the most complicated pen to use of all mentioned but once you learn how to do it properly the results and the precision are amazing. Follow the manual when first assembling the pen for maximum performance. Click here for more information, reviews and prices.


Drawing Pens for Animators and Illustrators

Drawing pens are an indispensable tool for artists, but they are perfect for a wide variety of tasks. They were first used by architects and engineers because they are highly precise, but they quickly became popular among illustrators, animators and designers. At first, drawing pens were too expensive for mass users, so they were soon given a plastic tip instead of a more expensive metal one, which made them accessible to everyone. Longevity was sacrificed but they became cheaper and their performance was actually increased since plastic is more flexible and plastic tips are capable of more drawing angles than the metal ones.

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Drawing Pen Tip Sizes – 0.03 – 0.8 mm

Tip size varies from 0.03 to 0.8, a measure that does not represent line thickness in millimeters, but rather tip width. 0.03mm tips produce lines around 0.018 thick, and 0.8mm tips lines around 0.5mm thick. What differs ink used in drawing pens from most other inks is that it’s waters safe, it doesn’t change over time, hence it retains it’s glow, and it resists smudging. Their tips are made to be extremely precise, so that they can create predictable lines with each stroke. 

3. Sakura Pigma Micron

The best overal price to quality ratio. This pen is the best buy option. Reliable, endurable and gets the job done perfectly at a really low price. An outstanding drawing tool available in various widths. They never change color or fade over time. These pens write well on any type of paper, their ink is extremely high quality (the Sakura company have paid a lot of attention to make the ink archival quality and acid free). Furthermore, they are disposable and cheap. I usually go around carrying my pens, hence losing them often, so I prefer losing a $3 pen to a $60 one. The thing I don’t like about them is that the only way you can get them is online (unless you have a great store nearby which I don’t) and that they look ugly. Apart from that they are my favorite. Reviews and Prices 

best drawing pen


Even though pencil and charcoal are the basic and quintessential drawing tools everyone should know how to use, drawing with ink is much more demanding and versatile, and it requires a different approach in general. The nature of ink and the multiple uses it has as an art medium make ink perfect for both traditional and experimental approach to drawing. As for the most common ink types when it comes to drawing pens, Chinese and Indian ink are most widely used. The most common way of ink production is using the soot of burned cherry pits or resin and mixing it with a solution of gum water. This mixture is then ground together into a paste on a slab of marble, formed into desired shapes and left to dry. Those pieces are then rubbed into ground glass or ink stones to produce the ink (they have a fine textured surface which allows for the ink top leave residue). This residue is then mixed with distilled water to produce liquid ink.

4. Prismacolor Premier Illustration Markers

Prismacolor markers have you covered no matter the task at hand. You can choose from multiple tip sizes and go with the fine tip for serious precision and control or broader tips for coloring. Lettering, outlining and free form drawing look exceptional with the chisel tip. A great choice overall. Reviews and Prices

drawing pens for artists and designers

 5. Uni Pin Fineliner

Amazing pen, very similar to the Sakura in shape and feel in hand. It has fade proof and waterproof rich ink and comes in various sizes and colors. A well known classic which just couldn’t be left out. Reviews and Prices

drawing pens

6. Faber Castell

Four amazing pens with archival acid-free ink perfect for cartoons and fine line drawing. In addition to that, they are also completely smudge free and waterproof. A great, reliable and well known evergreen. They are not as technical and precise, therefore they don’t produce perfectly precise lines, but they are amazing for coloring and fill-in work because of the thick and rich lines they make. Reviews and Prices

8 best drawing pens for artists

7. Staedtler Pigment Liner

A very soft feel and smooth clear lines with no scratching. Six different widths. A well rounded set. The metal tips are quite long which allows you to use the pens against a ruler without smudging. They are great for coloring and filling. Reviews and Prices

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8. Tombow Dual Brush Pens

A pen set of 9 colors and 1 blender pen, with flexible brush tip and fine tip in one marker. Their durable nylon brush tips create fine, medium or bold strokes. They are probably the best solution for shading. Reviews and Prices

Drawing Pen Types

Fibre Tip Drawing Pens

They come in many different shapes and tip sizes. They are designed to make easy to do drawings and to allow easy control over stroke thickness. The downsides are that there is almost no way to erase what you drew with them and that they wear out quickly because their tips are very soft.

Ballpoint Pens

They can be used for mechanical or fluid drawing. Depending on the pressure applied, they leave a darker or lighter line, which is not common for all pen types. Mistakes made with Ballpoints are also almost impossible to erase.

Felt Tip Drawing Pens

These come in a wide variety of colors and they are often used for calligraphy, quick drawing and sketching.

Fountain Pens

Drawing Pens Animataurus

These pens are personal. If you use one it’s just yours, and you are not going to borrow it lightly. They are commonly used and kept for many years and not changed often. They should be used with non-waterproof ink since they would clog up otherwise.


These are technical pens, most commonly used by architects and engineers. They are highly precise because the ink flow is controlled through a needle type steel tip which allows extremely fine lines. Different tip widths allow for different line sizes.

Dip Pens

Drawing Pens Animataurus

Dip pens do not have their own ink supply, which makes them different from all other drawing pens. They require a separate ink container which is then dipped into every once in a while. This is the oldest type of pen, and one of the oldest writing techniques in history. The ink flow of dip pens is less consistent than in other pens, and therefore you have to continuously dip the pen to be able to draw.

Drawing Techniques

Once you pick your favorite drawing pen, it’s time to use it. There aren’t strict rules, or the one right way to draw something, but there are definitely techniques that are worth knowing.

  • Stippling – Adding dots which create an illusion of depth and texture (as the concentration of the dots increases, the image becomes darker, almost colored). This technique takes time, both to master and to do, but the results can be highly realistic, due to the complete control you have while planning your drawing.

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  • Random Lines – This might sound chaotic and easy to do, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to do this well. By mastering this technique you can learn how to change the frequency and the thickness of the strokes, therefore achieving the illusion of different textures.
  • Hatching – Creating lines that go in the same direction, either on a portion of a surface, or on the entire surface. This is the most commonly used way to draw shadows by darkening. The closer the lines are to each other the darker the value of the image. You could also use cross hatching, which is drawing lines that cross over each other.

best drawing pens for artists, illustrators, designers and animators

  • Ink Wash – The technique of applying ink with a brush. Depending on the concentration of the ink (how much it’s diluted with water) the drawing will be lighter or darker, and the ink richer.

Find Out More About 7 Best (affordable) Drawing Pencils for Professionals

best drawing pencils
A buyer’s guide through prices, pros and cons and best manufacturers, which should make the decision of choosing between hundreds of different pencil companies a lot easier (even for a complete beginner).

A List of 7 Best Sketchbooks for Illustration and Hand-Drawn Animation

best sketchbooks animataurus
Choosing the surface you will be drawing on is just as important as choosing the perfect pen, the perfect model, or getting the perfect idea, and it should not be neglected.

Colored Pencils Reviewed: A Buyer’s Guide to Best Colored Drawing Pencils

best colored pencils
Colored pencils are one of the most versatile drawing media, and they are an indispensable tool for any artist, illustrator or animator.


drawing pens for illustration






13 thoughts on “Drawing Pens for Artists and Designers”

  1. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

  2. Thanks for the overview! I ‘m actually trying to decide which technical pen to buy, but I might go for the sakura just to try it out.

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