Tools of the Trade: Pens

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Image above: Learn how to really use that pen in our beginning calligraphy class!

I don’t know about you, but I there isn’t a room in my house that doesn’t have a pen in it. Every once in a while, I force myself to sort through the pens — tossing the inkless, the broken or the chewed (gross!) Most of these pens are of the phone message taking, note scrawling variety. But I do have my favorites — like the felt tipped LePen (just a little something I have in common with Martha Stewart) and the Stabilo pens made by the 150-year-old German company. We thought our Creativebug instructors might have a few opinions on pens, and we were right. Here are the pens that they reach for every day whether they are journaling, sketching, or line drawing, because nothing makes a project quite as satisfying as having the perfect tool.

(For more of what our experts use, check out: Tools of the Trade: Glue, Tools of the Trade: Scissors, and Tools of the Trade: Sewing Machines)

Our Crafters and their Favorite Pens

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Creativebug resident crafter Courtney Cerruti has nearly 40 classes under her belt — everything from making a wooden arrow to celebration confetti to Halloween party decor. It’s not surprising that she has a few opinions when it comes to pens.
She says she loves: “Uni Ball Signo pen in chocolate brown for everyday writing. Super fat liquitex paint marker in neon pink, neon yellow and flesh tone for drawing and color blocking, and especially for making #neonladies postcards. Tombow dual tip brush pens for sketching in my sketchbook and on postcards. Moonlight gellyroll pens because they can draw on dark paper and over paint. As well as everyday highlighters in pink and yellow for drawing.”
Image above: Uni Ball Signo pens
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Artist Diana Fayt makes the beautiful objects out of clay. (She teaches her techniques in classes such as  stamped ceramics, ceramic spoons and driftwood mobile.) She says that her current favorite pen is the Micron Pigma Brush pen from Sakura. But coming in a close second is Muji’s black .05 gel pen and for color Kuretake’s Zig Clean Color Real Brush pens.
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Dawn DeVries Sokol is the master of the beautiful art journal.  She also happens to be a self-defined pen-aholic. But her favorite are Micron pens.  But coming a close second are Painters pens. Dawn says, “They have a Journaling pen that is WONDERFUL!” And when you get that journaling pen, you’ll be all set for her art journaling class.
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Artist Molly Hatch uses a traditional calligraphy pen and nib. Her favorite nib is currently only available on eBay — it’s an English-made Spencerian No. 30 nib. Her favorite pen is equally hard to track down: a vintage L&C Hardtmuth Inc German pen No. 127A. She pairs her pen and nib with Winsor and Newton Black Indian Ink. (Check out Molly’s Stenciled Glass class and her class on Found Image Painting)
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Our resident book making expert, Jody Alexander, (Suminagashi Ink Marbling and Japanese Side Sewn Sketchbook are two favs!) just returned from a trip to Japan where she was in pen heaven at Sekaido, an art supply store in Shinjuku, Tokyo (pictured above is just one of the many aisles dedicated to pens). Jody says that she’s always on the lookout for ultra fine pens and when she was at Sekaido, she found two great pens that not only came in really fine point, but also had a huge range of colors. The first is FriXion point 04 made by Pilot. When Jody returned Stateside she discovered, to her delight, that it was erasable. The ink is heat sensitive and is erasable by friction. And amazingly the ink will reappear if exposed to 14 degree Fahrenheit or cooler. The other great pen that Jody found in Japan is the Juice .38 made by Pilot. Even though Jody discovered them in Japan, they are both available in the U.S. And, finally Jody say “like most artists, I love the Sakura Pigma Micron pens and always have a few different color in my bag, at my desk and in my studio.”
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Knitter Wendy Jo Bernard (she has a class on knitting a dog sweater!) also stumbled upon the Pilot FriXion Clicker. She found it an amazing improvement on erasable pens in the past — “The problem with them has been that you ruin the paper when you have to erase something. That was then.”  Then Wendy found Pilot FriXion Clicker (they come in two sizes; she likes the 07), it changed everything for her. “Instead of an eraser that removes a layer of paper to erase, this one has a rubber tip that uses friction to heat up the ink and remove it. It is amazing! They come in several colors and they work so well that I’m hoarding them.” Wendy uses them for writing pattern notes and making hand-drawn schematics. She said, “The only caveat: Since the ink erases in “heat,” don’t leave your precious notes or drawings in the sun!”

2 Comments

  1. Ooh, lots of new pens to try. Here are a couple I can’t do without: The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is amazing. It’s a real brush, not a felt tip! And the best white pen is the Uniball Signo Broad.

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