Sometimes You Want to Use a Fine-tipped Pen…

May 1, 2023
Staedtler Pigment Liner in a Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal with a soft cover (7.75 x 9.75 inches).


I love working with my various brush pens, but sometimes you have a subject that calls out for the use of a finer tipped pen.

Besides that, Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media paper loves a fine-tipped pen. It’s a win-win.

Explore the fine-tip pens you enjoy using today—what types of papers do they pair well. What subjects do you enjoy using them for? What subjects would require a different choice of pen? Or is it just a different approach and perhaps more time that is needed? What about scale? Is there a fine-tipped pen you would not make a large drawing with? Or a brush pen you wouldn’t use for a miniature?

Think these things through before you start to sketch. Your “happiness rate” will go way up. 

Get some experimentation done each day this week. Know your current favorite pens by Friday so you can plan a project that suits them for the rest of May.

    • Sharon Roy
    • May 1, 2023

    When first began drawing I used only fine tipped pens, not because it was a deliberate choice for the nature of the subject or because of the characteristics of the paper. It was my timidity. Now I like ke to make bold marks.

    1. Reply

      Sharon I believe that our eye and hand and brain are drawn to certain pen-nib choices because of our aesthetics and stylistic interests. Early choices sometimes made for us by others (teachers) or in “timidity” as you mention are all starting points. I’m glad you’ve moved past that initial timidity and learned to like bold marks.

      I find it’s useful to use a lot of different pens depending on the mood or style I want to achieve in a portrait. But sometimes which pen isn’t so much about what I want to achieve in the portrait but simply what I want to hold in my hand and work with, whether or not I get something I like at the end. The push there is for me to just enjoy the mark making. I’m always grateful I live at a time when there are so many great choices for pens readily available.

      Happy experimenting!

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