Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3, Testing . . . .

8:18 PM

You may remember from the Eiffel Tower sketch that I was not too happy with the pen that I used because of how much it bled when I washed over the lines with clean water. Since then, I've been gathering up any gel ink pen I could find in the house and testing* it. There have been some surprising results!

You would think all black gel ink made by one company, under the same brand, would be the same throughout the product line, but they're not. If you look at the first four pens tested (upper right) you'll see they're all Uniball. The second pen down turned out to be a favorite as the bleeding was minimal and the ink has a slight blue (cool) cast. As I tested Kohr-I-Noor, Gelly Rollers, Pentel, Faber Castell, Pilot, Yafa, Foray, Papermate, Pilot, Itoya and a bunch of no-name black ink pens, I found the same variations in ink and the amount of bleed I got.

By testing out my materials BEFORE I'm on location again, I will (hopefully) eliminate anymore (unpleasant) surprises and may even be able to use the info to my advantage. Say if I want a pen that really bleeds, I would choose one of the Pilots. If I want just a little bit of bleeding, I would wait until the ink was drier, regardless of the pen I was using.

* To test the pens, I wrote the name of the pen on wc paper, then a scribble, some dots and a line or lines. I then immediately washed over the scribbles, dots, and lines with clear water. After the writing had an opportunity to dry (about 30 minutes) I washed over the names to see if they would bleed. The majority of the inks, once thoroughly dry, bled very little.

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7 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Hmmm, I didn't know they even made a gelly roll black. Interesting testing.
    I always us a Micron pen, a different size for each need.

  2. great idea. I'm getting so excited!!

  3. Thanks for doing this, Laure and posting it. Very useful experiment!

  4. This is great. I am off to try all of my pens. I use pen alot in my fast sketches with watercolor and I am always looking for the right pen. Great post!

  5. Which ones have you narrowed down as your favorites, bleed or non-bleed varieties?

  6. Hmmm, that's hard to say because it depends on what I'm painting. For controlled bleeds probably the Uniball Signo series of pens, For a LOT of bleed, probably the Pilot G-2s.

    For a permanent line, a Micron Pigma, hands down. They come in a variety of widths and a brush so it's easy to get what I want and they DO NOT BLEED! The Sharpies are okay, but to me they sometimes have a marker look to them and it can look kind of amateurish.

  7. Nice informative ink tests. I found the outlines drawn with the Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 0.38 mm Gel Ink Pen dry waterproof fairly quickly, so I use it as my main sketching pen.


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