Best Pens for Writing

best pens for writing

Your best pens for writing are the ones you are familiar with and have with you. I think pens are very personal so it’s really worth trying a few pens to find out which you prefer. I’m really picky about the pens I use and have recently compared my best pens for writing.

Best Pens for Writing

All the following pens are black ink, tested on the same smooth, white cardstock.

  • Uni-Ball Signo retractable gel pen in black micropoint. This is my current favourite pen, but it’s not perfect, so I’m still looking. Sometimes the ink doesn’t fill in so it’s not as black as I would like. This is not a good pen for writing on shiny paper like photos.
  • American Crafts Precision Pen 03, pigment ink. I got a set of Precision Pens of various sizes (01,03,05, 08). This 03 is the second smallest size and it was okay for me. It seemed like the ink was more grey compared to the other pens, which I didn’t like.
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Ink 003. This is the smallest size I have in this brand. I really like very fine pointed pens, so this is my favourite Sakura pen. These Sakura pens feel like they have a square tip compared to the Uni-Ball Signo, which feels round. The square tip means that I had to almost hold the pen vertically to get it to make a complete stroke, which I found uncomfortable. I would not use the Sakura pens on rough surfaces like watercolor paper because the tip works best on a very smooth surface.
  • American Crafts Slick Writer F. I found even this fine size to be too big for me. It seems to be the smallest size available in Slick Writers. However, these pens are fantastic for writing on shiny surfaces, like photo paper.
  • Sharpie Permanent Marker, Ultra Fine Point. Sharpie pens bleed the most of all the pens I’ve tried in this review. They can be used on photo paper, like the Slick Writer, though I prefer the tip of the Slick Writer, which feels more precise than the Sharpie. Both the Sharpie and the Slick Writer requires some time to let the ink dry on shiny surfaces. I believe that this Sharpie is not archival safe, but there are other pens made by Sharpie that are archival safe.
  • American Crafts Precision Pen 05, pigment ink. I like a thinner tip on a pen, so I found this pen too thick.
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Ink 08. Trying larger sized pen tips confirms that I prefer the smallest sizes available, so I don’t like this pen.

Recommendations for Finding Your Best Pens for Writing

  1. Buy a pack of mixed-sized pens when you’re figuring out what size you like.
  2. Try the pens on different kinds of paper/surfaces. The pen that doesn’t work well on paper might work fantastic on photo paper.

What’s your favourite pen? Post a link in the comments.


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best pens for writing

By | 2017-09-21T12:43:48-07:00 October 6th, 2014|Art Journal, Supplies|20 Comments


  1. Dapoppins October 6, 2014 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    The story of my life: Hunting for the right pen. This is what turns people like me into pen thieves. I was once at a friend’s house and picked up this black pen – oh and it was beautiful it wrote so perfectly. I almost begged her for it. On my knees. LOL. And Now I can’t remember what it was…but I like a handsome boy from your teen years, I would remember it if I saw it again.

    • Anika Lacerte October 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm - Reply

      I can completely relate! Pens are so important to me and how it feels is almost as important as how it writes.

  2. Denielle October 7, 2014 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Great post! It’s so hard to find the perfect pen.

  3. Andrea October 7, 2014 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    MICRON FOR THE WIN! But I’m loving these new suggestions. Excellent.

  4. Katie October 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Love it! My favorite pens are micron pens, Uni-ball vision, think sharpie, and white Sakura Souffle gel pens! Is it weird that we get so excited about pens? LOL

    • Anika Lacerte October 29, 2014 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      No, not weird at all, Katie! 🙂 Pens are awesome! I want to try some that you mention here that I haven’t tried. Possibly the best section of a stationery store is the pen area. Love trying them all.

      • Katie October 30, 2014 at 6:24 am - Reply

        I meant thin sharpie pens LOL. I got the white Sakura pens on Amazon in a package of 2. Best thing ever!!

    • Rebecca March 3, 2019 at 4:28 pm - Reply

      I love pens. Even growing up I was obsessed with Milky Way gel pens. I thought I was the only who was very particular about the pens I use. I probably am the only one who has a collection haha

  5. Catherine February 10, 2015 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Hi Anika! I love this!! Obviously you know my fave pens, but I’m always on the hunt for something new. Thanks for linking me over here 🙂 These are great suggestions!

  6. Cody Doll February 11, 2015 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I am still trying to figure out what is the best pin to use. I love my Sharpie FineLiner but it’s so bold. I like the thin Signo but it doesn’t write well over watercolors. So I’m back at the drawing board trying to figure out which pen to use.

  7. Mary March 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    TUL needle point… Best pen ever

    • Anika Lacerte March 9, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion, Mary! The TUL pens look a little pricey but they have high reviews, so I’d love to try one.

  8. cait potter September 11, 2015 at 12:43 am - Reply

    I use the Pigma Microns for art and a white Signo uniball. For writing I use a sharpie pen, one that is specifically made for writing and won’t bleed (I love it, it’s great on any surface) Word for the warning, if you press too much on the Micron pens the nub will flatten out or leak. It’s good for people who write light and have small hand writing

  9. Bella October 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    My favorites so far are the Pilot G2 pens, and they come in many different colors! ?

  10. Brittney December 23, 2015 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Try Pilot’s Precise RT V5 – .38 mm – It’s like the uniball but has a deeper black and a needle point. 🙂 Got mine at Walmart

  11. Blue February 28, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    My all-time favorite pen is the Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball. Writes smooth & consistently on a variety of surfaces & comes in 7 colors. Very affordable at $8 (usd) for a 7 pen multi-color pack.

  12. Margaret August 15, 2016 at 10:04 am - Reply

    I am hoping that my grandchildren and their children would one read my journel, do you know of any pens in this country that won’t fade ?

    • Anika Lacerte August 16, 2016 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Margaret,
      I’m not sure what country you’re in, but wherever you are, I would recommend asking at an art supply store for recommended pens that don’t fade.

  13. SwiththeK September 24, 2016 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Sakura Pigma is also my favorite. I use it to write on my planner it is really but the ink is really wet I have to spend a second before I close the book.

  14. Rich Fisher May 13, 2019 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Ok, so you want a real pen that feels like a real pen and writes beautifully? Get a pilot G2 Limited. It is a very heavy pen, sells for about $11, and has a G2 refill. Throw the refill away, and replace it with a Pilot Precise V-5 (5mm point) refill. Best pen I have ever owned. Writes smooth, the black ink is really black, and the point if very fine. It even writes on a greasy credit card bill in a restaurant…lol. Try one, you will see what I mean.

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