Technical Pens & Fineliners for Drawing

Updated: 11 Feb 2022

Review for recommended brands of Technical pens

What is a technical pen?

Review for recommended brands of technical pens:

  1. Winsor & Newton Fineliner
  2. Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment
  3. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen
  4. Marvy Le Pen Drawing
  5. Staedtler Pigment Liner
  6. Copic multiliner SP
  7. Sakura Pigma Micron
  8. Uni PIN Fine Line
  9. Edding 1800 Profipen
  10. Pilot Drawing Pen
  11. Zig Mangaka
  12. Zig Millennium
  13. Deleter Neopiko Line 3
  14. Tombow MONO Drawing Pen
  15. OHTO Graphic Liner
  16. Rotring Tikky Graphic

Disclosure: some links in this article are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.

Note:

This guide is aimed for artists. All pens in this article are owned and tested by me, and all drawings were made by me.

At the end of this guide, you will find some pen drawing tips.

1. Winsor & Newton Fineliner

The fineliners by Winsor & Newton have a beautiful, smooth structure, with a long barrel.

Nib sizes: 6

Also available in Cool Gray, Indigo Blue, and Sepia, for sizes 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 mm.

Winsor and Newton fineliners Winsor & Newton Fineliner

Pros:

Goldfish drawing with Winsor & Newton fineliner Goldfish with Winsor & Newton

Conclusion:

I love these pens; they are smooth and easy to work with.

Unlike many fineliner brands, their structure has a beautiful design.

Their body is longer than most other fineliner brands.

Lovely tapered nib, which gives a better view of the drawing paper.

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2. Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment

The Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment technical pen is second to none in that price range. High-grade, consistent, and comfortable.

Nib sizes: 8

These drawing pens are lightfast, meaning their ink is resistant to fading when exposed to light.

Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment technical pen Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment

In addition to black ink, Ecco Pigment pens are available in 3 colors: red, green, and blue.

Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment technical pen Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment
Winnie the pooh coloring page Winnie the Pooh drawing

Pros:

Cons:

Tree house pen drawing Tree house drawing with Ecco Pigment

Conclusion:

The Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment is flawless, with superior ergonomic structure.

Highly recommended for any type of art, from top quality drawings, to doodling, manga, sketching, and creating coloring pages.

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3. PITT Artist Pen

The Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen is great for graphic designers, illustrators, cartoonists, and for coloring.

Nib sizes: 4

These drawing pens produce thick, vivid lines, with pigmented, lightfast ink.

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist technical pen PITT Artist Pen

Pros:

Cons:

Pen drawing Leaning Tower of Pisa Tower of Pisa with PITT

Note:

In many cases, you only need one or two pen sizes.

SMLE No. 1 Mk III pen drawing SMLE No. 1 Mk III rifle

Conclusion:

Like other Faber-Castell products, these fineliners offer quality. They offer limited size range though. They are great for drawing cartoons, comics, manga, and drawing mandala.

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4. Marvy Le Pen Drawing

Marvy Le Pen Drawing fineliners are water-based, with pigmented ink.

Nib sizes: 7

Uchida Marvy Le Pen Drawing fineliners Marvy Le Pen Drawing

Pros:

Cons:

Farm drawing, homage to George Henry Durrie (1820 – 1863):

Farm drawing with Marvy Le Pen Farm drawing with Marvy Le Pen

Conclusion:

Affordable drawing pens for the art-hobbyist, and for drawing manga, anime, cartoons, and coloring pages.

When buying a set, you get a quality brush pen besides a nice range of nib sizes.

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Author's comment:

While with pencil-drawing it is possible to erase mistakes, and with oil painting it is possible to paint a new layer, with pen-drawing once a mark is made it is (almost) permanent (see tip).

For that reason, it is best to draw the front objects first. If for example there is a tree in front of a house, draw the tree first, and then the house.

Tip:

A sand eraser by Tombow exists for erasing pen marks.

Depending on the type of ink, and the type of paper, in some cases the eraser will be able to erase pen marks by gentle, continuous friction.

In order not to damage the drawing paper, use an ink eraser sparingly.

Sand eraser for ink by Tombow MONO Tombow MONO for ink

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5. Staedtler Pigment Liner

Pigment Liner pen by Staedtler is a quality, disposable pen, with indelible, lightfast, and waterproof pigment ink.

Nib sizes: 12

According to Staedtler, these pens can be left uncapped for at least 12 hours without drying.

*I tested (left uncapped for 12 hours) one of my Staedtler pens (size 0.3), and it works well.

Staedtler Pigment Liner technical pen Staedtler Pigment Liner

Pros:

Cons:

Pen & ink drawing of a sailboat Sailboat drawing with Staedtler Pigment Liner

Conclusion:

With 12 nib sizes and high quality ink, the Staedtler Pigment Liner is a good example of an excellent artist-grade drawing pen.

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6. Copic Multiliner SP

The Copic Multiliner SP technical pen is designed for a lifetime of use.

Nib sizes: 9

Filler & nibs for Copic Multiliner SP can be replaced when necessary.

Besides black, these pens come in 12 colors.

Copic Multiliner SP technical pen Copic Multiliner SP

In addition to the SP model, a non-SP disposable Multiliner pen exists, and it is cheaper.

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Copic Multiliner technical pen Copic Multiliner

Pros:

Cons:

Audi car pen drawing with Copic Multiliner Car drawing with Copic Multiliner SP

Conclusion:

Compared to other technical pens on this review, Copic is significantly expensive.

Its nibs will wear down with time, but they are replaceable.

That said, it delivers with high quality, beautiful design, and it is long-lasting.

See on Amazon

Good to know:

With time and use, most nibs will wear down until they become useless (due to friction).

Pens after long use lose their nibs

7. Pigma Micron by Sakura

The Pigma Micron disposable pen is a favorite with illustrators, and for a good reason.

Nib sizes: 8

These pens have a durable ink made of pigments. They are manufactured by Sakura.

In addition to black, these pens come in 14 colors for the nib size 0.45 mm. Fewer colors for other nib sizes.

Pigma Micron technical pen by Sakura Pigma Micron

Pros:

Cons:

Pen drawing of a house with Pigma Micron House drawing with Pigma Micron

Conclusion:

Not that attractive design, but good price and quality ink make the Pigma Micron a favorite for many artists and graphic designers, for drawing manga, comics, and sketching. Recommended!

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Author's comment:

If you are on a budget, one technical pen with nib size 0.1 should do the job.

Depending on the brand, size 0.1 can produce fine details, and still produce noticeable marks.

Different sizes of pens

An additional (second) recommended size would be 0.5, since it creates bold outlines that are great for drawing coloring pages, or cartoon characters.

Different nib sizes

That said, many brands offer small sets of 3 to 5 nib-sizes at an affordable price.

8. Uni PIN Fine Line

The Uni PIN Fine Line is known for its consistent lines, and strong black ink.

Nib sizes: 10

Fade proof and water-resistant Ink.

In addition to black, sizes 0.1 and 0.5 come in 5 colors.

Uni PIN Fine Line technical pen Uni PIN Fine Line

Pros:

Cons:

Pen drawing of a sparrow bird with UNI PIN Sparrow bird drawing with Uni PIN fine line

Conclusion:

Uni PIN Fine Line is another example of a good drawing pen. The nib size is well-written for ease of use.

These fineliners produce well-defined lines, which are great for technical drawing, signature, mandala, and drawing in perspective using a ruler.

See on Amazon

Tip:

When drawing from imagination (concept art and product design), you can use a lighter (in brightness value) pen for sketching.

If you are happy with the initial design, you can go over it with a darker pen (more on that later).

Sketch for a drill from imagination

9. Edding 1800 Profipen

The Edding 1800 Profipen disposable pen is a good drawing and sketching pen.

Nib sizes: 4

Lightfast, waterproof, pigment ink.

These pens come in 4 colors: black, red, blue, and green.

Edding 1800 profipen technical pen Edding 1800 Profipen

Pros:

Cons:

Crocodile drawing with Edding 1800 Profipen Crocodile drawing with Edding 1800

Conclusion:

The Edding 1800 is a good pen when it comes to ink quality, but they are limited in nib sizes.

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10. Pilot Drawing Pen

Pilot Drawing Pen fineliners are water-based, simple, entry-level drawing pens.

Nib sizes: 5

Water-resistant & light-resistant pigment ink.

3 colors to choose from: black, red, and blue.

Pilot Drawing Pen technical pen Pilot Drawing Pen

Pros:

Cons:

Pen and ink Dalmatian dog drawing Dalmatian dog with Pilot Drawing Pen

Conclusion:

These pens are quite smooth and therefore great for doodling, mandala, and writing. Less ideal for fine art drawing or sketching.

11. Zig Mangaka

Zig Mangaka are artist-grade, water-based pens, designed for drawing manga and comics.

Nib sizes: 7

Mangaka is part of Zig Cartoonist, which are products for use by professional, manga/cartoon artists, and graphic designers. They are great for sketching, doodling, or ANY form of art.

Size 01 is available in 5 colors.

Zig Mangaka technical pen for drawing Zig Mangaka

Pros:

Cons:

Walnut tree pen drawing Walnut tree with Zig Mangaka

Good to know:

Mangaka is the Japanese word for a manga artist. Manga is the word for Japanese comics or graphic novels.

Conclusion:

These pens are amazing. Small and lightweight, easy to work with. They feel natural when drawing. Highly recommended!

See on Amazon

Author's comment:

If you want to learn how to draw ANY tree in a realistic style (with pens):

Examples for drawing trees with pens

Go to my easy guide for drawing trees.

12. Zig Millennium

Another great product from Kuretake, the Zig Millennium, is a professional artist pen for sketching.

They are part of Zig Memory System, which is a line of products designed for scrapbooking, journaling, and card making, with water-based pigment ink to preserve for future generations.

Nib sizes: 6

They also exist in 8 colors.

Kuretake Zig Millennium artist pen Zig Millennium

These are of archival quality, and in addition to sketching, they are great for signature work.

Other than that, Zig Millennium is identical to Zig Mangaka, both in structure and in quality:

Zig Millennium and Zig Mangaka technical pens Millennium vs Mangaka

Pros:

Cons:

Pen and ink drawing of a flower Flower with Zig Millennium

Conclusion:

Another superb pen for drawing and sketching. Great for ANY type of art.

See on Amazon

Author's comment:

For flower art with pens, like the examples below:

Examples for flower drawings with a pen

You are welcome to visit my easy guide for drawing flowers.

13. Deleter Neopiko Line 3

Deleter is a manufacturer of art materials for manga artists and cartoonists.

Neopiko Line 3 is another example of a great drawing pen, with water-based pigment ink of top quality.

Nib sizes: 8

They come in 3 colors: black, gray, and sepia.

Drawing pen for manga, Neopiko Line 3 Neopiko Line 3

By another, I mean it is identical in structure to Zig Mangaka and Zig Millennium, and all three pens have quality ink.

Similar pens, Mangaka, Millennium and Neopiko Mangaka vs Millennium vs Neopiko

Cartoon test:

We Bare Bears drawing with artist pens We Bare Bears pen drawing

As expected from fineliners for manga, they all work perfectly with Copic markers.

We Bare Bears coloring with Copic markers We Bare Bears coloring with Copics

Pros:

Cons:

Pen drawing of a pumpkin on log Pumpkin with Neopiko

Conclusion:

This pen is perfect for any drawing style!

Since Neopiko pens are quite similar to Zig fineliners, selecting one over the other is a matter of price.

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Author's comment:

With some pens, you can produce both well-defined lines when perpendicular to the drawing surface, and less defined lines when diagonal, which gives them a lighter value.

Drawing a brighter value with a pen

You can use that to draw different brightness values with a pen.

Realistic pen drawing of a Canadian Flag

When I need more control on brightness values, I use pencils.

14. Tombow MONO Drawing Pen

Tombow MONO are disposable, water-based, pigment ink, drawing pens.

Nib sizes: 3

These pens are quite smooth and their ink dries instantly!

Tombow MONO pens for drawing Tombow MONO Drawing Pen

Pros:

Cons:

Pen and ink drawing of a country house Country house with Tombow MONO

Conclusion:

These pens are smooth, but if the nib is not removed immediately from the drawing-paper after each mark, it will leave a dot of ink.

Therefore, less recommended for technical drawing.

They are great for beginners, because their nib is durable, and does not bend.

And, since their ink dries instantly, there is less chance of smudging.

In addition, they are great for doodling.

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15. OHTO Graphic Liner

OHTO Graphic Liner is a needlepoint drawing-pen with a strong black ink.

Nib sizes: 6

According to OHTO, these drawing pens can be left uncapped for at least 2-3 days without drying.

*I tested one of my OHTO pens (left it uncapped for 24 hours) and it works perfectly.

Ohto graphic liner pen for drawing OHTO Graphic Liner

Pros:

Cons:

Cowgirl riding on horse pen sketching Cowgirl with OHTO Graphic Liner

Conclusion:

Having a needlepoint, makes these pens great for beginners since they are durable. They are suitable for writing and for quick sketches, or any graphic design work.

Fun to work with, but it smudges on some types of paper.

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16. Rotring Tikky Graphic

Rotring Tikky Graphic is a quality disposable technical pen.

Nib sizes: 7

This pen has a great grip, and it is very comfortable even after long sessions of drawing.

The ink flows smoothly and consistently.

Rotring Tikky Graphic technical pen Rotring Tikky Graphic

Pros:

Cons:

Crow pen and ink drawing Crow with Rotring Tikky Graphic

Conclusion:

For artists that like pens with flowing ink, this pen is perfect.

It can leave a stain of ink If the pen is not quickly removed from the drawing paper.

It takes a while for the ink to dry (compared to other brands on this review), and therefore it will smudge if not treated carefully.

Ink is dark, rich, and super beautiful.

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Pen Drawing Tips

Inking edge rulers:

When drawing with a regular ruler, the ink may smudge.

An inking edge, is an edge that is raised above the drawing surface.

A ruler with an inking edge for pen drawing

Many types of rulers come with an inking edge.

Here is my guide and review on drawing materials.

Examples of lines made with inking edge rulers

Light pens:

You can use a light fineliner to create concept art, product design, or a quick sketch from observation.

Once the result is satisfying, you can go over it with a black fineliner.

Sketching a window cleaner spray with a pen

For the final render, you can use markers.

Rendering a sketch with marker pens

If you like drawing from direct observation, visit my still life composition guide.

Straight lines:

Because pen ink is not erasable, it is best to practice drawing straight lines.

In order to draw straight lines, do not use your wrist.

Instead, draw while moving your shoulder and elbow.

Practice:

Exercises for drawing straight lines

Mistakes:

When you have a mistake, do not try to fix it.

Too many lines look bold, and grab attention. Continue drawing, disregarding the mistake.

Why not to fix pen drawing mistakes

Caps:

Make sure your pen's cap is firmly closed, so the ink will not dry.

Make sure your pen cap is closed

Water-Resistant & Lightfastness Test

I drew some lines for most pen brands I have, in order to test their resistance to water.

Drawing of lines with different pen brands

Then, I used a synthetic brush with water.

As expected from top quality pens, all lines are still in their original shape with no smudge.

The most rich and strong blacks (Uni Pin, Ohto, and Rotring) released a bit of color to the surrounding area.

Water-resistant test for top pen brands

Lightfastness test:

I hanged this paper in direct sunlight for a week, and all pens passed the test.

The next example is my drawing of Tintin, after a year of direct sunlight.

Marker colors are faded and desaturated, while technical pen marks are still bold and in perfect condition.

Tintin drawing exposed to direct sun light Before & after exposure to sun

Summary

There is a large selection of technical pen brands.

Some are designed for any type of drawing or sketching, while others are suitable for writing, signature work, or hobbies like doodling and mandala drawing.

Technical pens are also suitable for drawing cartoon characters combined with artist-grade markers.

Important:

Keep in mind:

Another tool for drawing and sketching anything, anywhere, is a mechanical pencil.

The advantage of a mechanical pencil is that you can erase mistakes, and that you do not need to sharpen it.

The advantage of a technical pen is that it is permanent, and it does not smudge.

To learn more on how to use mechanical pencils, visit my guide on how, when & why to draw with a mechanical pencil.

Where to go next:

For more actual drawings with these pens, visit my tutorial on how to draw depth. It highlights 15 methods to add depth, including many examples.

Examples for drawing with a sense of depth

If you like drawing in a realistic style, visit my guide on realistic drawing for beginners.

Examples for drawing realism with pencils

In addition, I created a list of recommended YouTube channels for learning to draw.