View Full Version : Waterproof pens for for Watercolor wash

07-02-2012, 07:15 PM
I'm looking for some advise on the best waterproof pens to add to my use in my journals. I'd like to sketch in black ink and do a watercolor wash over the top. Everything I have used is bleeding into the wash. Thanks for your help! Kari

07-02-2012, 10:22 PM
Go to the Goulet Pen, Co. (http://www.gouletpens.com/) Order the large bottle of Noodler's ink called "Heart of Darkness". It comes with an eyedropper converted pen. You can either have a roller ball style tip or a fountain pen tip. It comes with both. I am not associated with either Goulet Pen, Co. nor with Noodler's Ink. I just have that and have been happy with the product.

The other option is to use the Sakura Micron pens. The ink in them is pigmented and it is waterproof once it's dry. Comes in a bunch of colors as well as black. They are also available in different tip sizes. You can find them at any of the online art supply companies. They are also available at stores like Micheal's.

07-02-2012, 10:22 PM
cheapest ones that I like are the Uniball Vision and the waterproof sharpie pen (not the marker!) - they WORK. The sharpie comes finer lines. Micron is good but costs more than those other ones I mention.

07-03-2012, 01:55 AM
Yes Noodler's Eterna Bulletproof ink. Pitt pens, Berol 1800, and Staedler also make waterproof pigmented pens.


07-03-2012, 04:03 PM
Thanks everyone! I will look into those!

07-03-2012, 08:28 PM
I have had no luck with any of the Noodler's waterproof blacks on watercolor paper, just as a word of caution. I bought a huge bottle of Heart of Darkness and it bled like crazy, no matter how long I let it dry. (I'm talking weeks here.) Same for Bulletproof Black. I think the heavy sizing on watercolor paper keeps the ink from interacting directly with the cellulose fibers. (This chemical reaction is what makes the Noodlers inks waterproof, and it's fine on standard office papers. Just isn't as successful on specialty papers.)

I have tested a whole bunch of different pens for use with watercolor washes, and here are some of my results:

Sakura Micron series -- waterproof

Uniball Signo series -- waterproof. (Uniball makes most of its pens with ultra-secure ink that prevents forgery, and they are all really wonderful for artwork.) These sometime need a couple minutes to fully dry, if you've applied to heavily sized paper.

Pilot Hi-Tec-C -- bleeds when wet

Pentel Energel -- bleeds when wet

Pilot Address Pens -- waterproof, deepest black I've seen. (Available from Jet Pens http://www.jetpens.com/Pilot-Envelope-Address-Writing-Gel-Ink-Pens/ct/953 Amazing drawing pens.)

Zebra Sarasa series -- waterproof

Prisma Premier technical pens -- waterproof

Pentel Technica pens -- waterproof. They go on very wet, and you need to let them dry a couple minutes on heavily sized papers.

Pentel Sicci pens -- bleeds when wet

Pitt artist pens -- waterproof

Copic Multiliners -- waterproof. (The professional-level SP series have extremely rugged points, and can be refilled when ink runs out.)

Pilot G2 -- bleeds when wet

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen -- waterproof. Goes on wet, sometimes needs to dry a couple minutes

Tachikawa Comic Nib Fountain Pen -- exceptionally waterproof. Very fine line. (http://www.jetpens.com/Tachikawa-Comic-Nib-Fountain-Pen-G-Model-Nib-Fine-Black-Ink/pd/4577) I have two of these pens and love them to death. They're a bit rougher than gel pens when writing, but the nib is slightly flexible and the subtle line variation is very expressive. Refillable.

Rotring Tikky Graphic pigmented ink -- waterproof. A technical pen design similar to the Sakura Micron, but it's a bit wetter and more robust to write with. (At least for me.) (http://www.jetpens.com/Rotring-Tikky-Graphic-Drawing-Pen-Pigment-Ink-0.3-mm-Black-Ink/pd/7835)

Platinum Carbon fountain pen ink -- waterproof, fountain-pen compatible. I've always got 2 or 3 fountain pens on my desk inked up with this. A bottle costs a ton, but lasts forever. It also comes in cartridges that cost less up front.

Hope this helps.

07-04-2012, 01:29 AM
The performance of Noodler's ink is dependant on the paper type as it has to have a chemical reaction with the paper.


07-04-2012, 09:18 AM
Elaine, wonderful list!

07-04-2012, 01:42 PM
Quick and inexpensive - Sharpie Ultra Fine Line Permanent Marker (http://www.amazon.com/Sharpie-Ultra-Point-Permanent-Markers/dp/B00144862U) :)

07-04-2012, 03:00 PM
Excellent list, Elaine! Thank you. I am bookmarking this.

Just out of curiosity, which watercolor paper were you using for these ink tests?

Again, thanks! :thumbsup:


07-04-2012, 03:09 PM
I tested all the pens on Arches watercolor 90 lb hot press, Strathmore Series 400 Bristol Board -- both plate and vellum finishes, Strathmore Series 400 drawing paper, Borden & Riley 100% rag drawing paper, Holbein Multimedia sketchbooks, and Strathmore Series 400 watercolor paper. The pens that I indicated as wet writers needed more time on the bristol boards and the Arches hot press.

07-04-2012, 04:25 PM
Decided to share a link to the two pens I was speaking of for if its helpful. Both very cheap and totally waterproof on any paper I've tried.

Uni-ball Vision (http://www.amazon.com/uni-ball-Vision-Stick-Roller-60126/dp/B00006IE8J/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&coliid=IQBVSD331GPRS&colid=2P6B445LPGD2P) (price a bit over $18 for 12)

Sharpie Finepoint pen (http://www.amazon.com/Sharpie-Fine-Point-Black-1742663/dp/B001B66DXU/ref=sr_1_1?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1341429730&sr=1-1&keywords=sharpie+pen) (price $12.50 for 12)

I used to rely on Micron, but found that I actually like these two pens a little bit better. Just personal preference I think. The Vision has a broader line, btw.

07-05-2012, 07:45 PM
Really excellent information. Thanks.

07-08-2012, 01:45 PM
I actually like a Parker jotter ballpoint pen to sketch with - over and under watercolour.

07-10-2012, 07:26 PM
I'm a Copic Multiliner fan. I just use the disposable version. They are tough, write smooth and come in quite a few thicknesses. The only downside at least for me is no one carries them locally so I have to mail order them.