You can never have too many pens, especially if drawing or designing is your line of work. After all, there’s a pen for every kind of line, from a highlight to an outline. A solidly built black pen, however, can be hard to find; too often, pens aren’t inky enough, they don’t feel smooth on the page—or worse, they leak all over your work surface. But the perfect pen does exist, and we’ve done the research to find some of the best. Peruse our recommendations below.
1. Sakura Pigma Micron Pen Set
These classic pens offer everything you’d want in a drawing tool. They deposit opaque black ink that dries in seconds, and they glide on the page without skipping. Lines are crisp and consistent—you won’t encounter any feathering or blobby pools with these. They’re also archival and great to use with other media like watercolors and alcohol markers; you can layer them either under or over without losing boldness. This set has eight pens with different nibs, including one brush-tip pen.
2. Pandafly Precision Micro-Line Pens
If you like to arm yourself with pens in a wide array of nib sizes, consider this option from Pandafly. You get nine nibs from 0.2 to 1.0 millimeter—that’s two sizes more than Sakura’s set—as well as a pen with a brush tip. These pens flow very well with little pressure and lay down neat lines, and their nibs don’t easily wear down. Compared with our top pick, though, we find that the black ink is not as pigmented.
3. Art-n-Fly Fine Point White Gel Pen
If you’re looking for a pen to write on dark paper or to add highlights to your artwork, perhaps you need one that’s loaded with white ink. We’re fans of this white gel pen, which comes in an affordable set of three. The rollerball implement delivers ink consistently and smoothly with negligible scratchiness, and the white is dependably opaque to produce uniform lines that stand out very well on the page. These pens also offer comfort, with a subtle rubber grip with pleasing flex.
4. Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Pen
This classic pen is designed from end to end with utmost care for the professional drafter. Perfectly balanced and housing a refillable ink reservoir, it features a tough nib that allows ink to flow readily and a double-seal cap that keeps it airtight when not in use. Expect heavily pigmented ink that doesn’t smear, feather, or blob. This is a professional-level pen, so it requires more upkeep than your typical Bic; specifically, it needs regular cleaning to prevent clogs.
5. Brusarth Pigment Liners
If you’re on a budget, pick up a pack of these fine-tip pens. A single pack comes with eight pens with nibs from 0.2 to 0.6 millimeter and one brush-tip pen, so you’ll have a great variety of widths to work with. In terms of performance, they write smoothly and lay down clean and even lines with just a little feathering. Don’t expect the longevity of a pricier pen, but they write better than other non-fancy pens and are a reliable, basic staple to keep on your desk.