Monday, February 5, 2018

Short List of Sketching Pens

Last night I decided to see which of my sketching pens were water proof and which were water soluble. Then I wanted to determine which were the right ones for a minimal sketch kit, something that would work for a student just starting out in urban sketching.
Super Bowl Sunday art project 
All the pens listed here wrote well and there was no bleed through or ghosting on the back of the page. My test paper was a pad of 90 lb  Canson XL multimedia.
Waterproof pens  allow you to draw first with the ink and then paint over it with water color without  smearing the ink lines. Water soluble ink pens allow you to draw then selectively wet some of the lines with the water brush, pulling the ink away from the line to create shadows and contours. 
For beginning  sketchers or artists on a budget choose the blue starred pens. Red starred pens can be added when you’re ready. The Uniball Signo white gel pen is water soluble if you want to remove some with a damp brush. It is quite opaque when used over dry dark washes.


  1. An informative and useful list -- and illustrated! I thought maybe you were on a sketch kit diet like I am right now. ;-) Have you noticed? Hardly any color and just the toned book?

    - Tina

  2. Love the way you illustrated this and the info you provided!

    1. Thanks, Joan. I might use this as a handout page for my new 10 x 10 urban sketchers workshop. It's a good list for beginners.

  3. Thank you, Tina. I've been enjoying your posts on your blog regarding the very diminished kit you've been using. Austere! Only my students will be on this diet.