Best art pens for drawing, sketching, inking, and more

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If you love to draw, you’ll probably agree that a pen isn’t “just a pen.” I feel you.

However, finding the best art pens can lead to hours of research —and at times, frustration. That said, we know there’s a world of incredible art pens on offer, but the question is: which should you buy?

To help you out, I’ve lined up some of the best art pens (and some personal favorites) in this guide, including complete sets and individual items.

Short on time? Check out my top picks below!

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

Best fineliners
  • Description:

    Japanese brand Sakura won’t fail to impress with its premium fineliner art pens and super fine nibs for professional and amateur artists.

Best brush pens
  • Description:

    Quality, smooth drawing, and pops of color are all guaranteed with these incredible dual brush art markers by Tombow.

Best watercolor markers
Best fountain pen
  • Description:

    Top-quality fountain pens created for both writing and drawing to fulfill your creative needs and projects.

Best paint marker pens
  • Description:

    Posca pens work on a wide variety of surfaces, making them extremely versatile for all kinds of arts and crafts.

Best fineliners
Description:

Japanese brand Sakura won’t fail to impress with its premium fineliner art pens and super fine nibs for professional and amateur artists.

Best brush pens
Description:

Quality, smooth drawing, and pops of color are all guaranteed with these incredible dual brush art markers by Tombow.

Best watercolor markers
Description:

These top-of-the-line, highly pigmented watercolor markers provide smooth performance for demanding creatives.

Best fountain pen
Description:

Top-quality fountain pens created for both writing and drawing to fulfill your creative needs and projects.

Best paint marker pens
Description:

Posca pens work on a wide variety of surfaces, making them extremely versatile for all kinds of arts and crafts.

Best art pens

You don’t need to look any further for the best art pen for drawing; take it from us! Keep scrolling for our suggestions on the best art pens for sketching, watercolor markers, rollerball pens, and more!

Best fineliner pen: Sakura Pigma Micron Fineliner Pens

Sakura Pigma Micron 10 Fineliner pens

Best for: Sketching, technical drawing, figure drawing, doodling, zentangle, art journaling,

As someone who enjoys both writing and sketching, I highly recommend Sakura’s Pigma Micron fineliner pens.

While you can purchase these individually or in sets, my favorite is this 10-pen pack, which provides a broader range of nib sizes ranging from 0.15mm to 0.70mm — all for an excellent price.

I especially love the super fine nib; it almost feels like you’re using an extremely sharp pencil! This is perfect if you’re all about sketching detail or more delicate lines. You can purchase these individually on Blick and Jackson’s at the buttons below.

These are some of the very best art pens for drawing and are composed of single pigments that are waterproof and bleed-free. Given you use compatible sketching paper, of course.

They also dry very quickly, making them a convenient pick for left-handers looking for premium-quality supplies.

Other favorites

_ Winsor & Newton Fineliner Fine Point Pen Set

Winsor & Newton Fineliner Fine Point Pen Set

  • Premium brand set
  • Five fineliner pen tips
  • Non-fading pigment ink
  • For sketching, journaling, illustration, manga, and more
Mincho Set of 10 Black Micro-Pen Fineliner Ink art Pens

Mincho Black Micro-Pen Fineliner Ink Pens

  • Very affordable
  • Includes ten master micro-pens
  • Ideal for technical drawing, illustration, scrapbooking
  • No skipping or bleeding
Ohuhu Fine line Drawing art pens

Ohuhu Fineliner Drawing Pens

  • Excellent value for beginners
  • Contains eight pens
  • Quick-drying ink
  • Can mix with other pens/various paper surfaces

Best marker pens: Winsor & Newton ProMarker Set

Winsor and Newtown ProMarker best art pens

Best for: Scrapbooking, storyboarding, botanical illustration, fashion illustration, map illustration, children’s book illustration

Bold lines and stunning colors can be expected with these fabulous Winsor & Newton ProMarker sets. Available in packs of six, these dual-tip pens offer a beautiful tonal range and vibrancy to enhance any project.

And while the Skyscape Tones set featured above is my favorite, there are many other colors and themes to choose from under this line: Green Tones, Landscape Tones, Pastel Tones, and Neutral Tones, to name a few.

This makes creating easy, versatile, and of course, fun. These high-quality markers are the perfect fit for urban sketchers, fashion illustrators, map illustrators, storyboarders, and botanical art sketchers.

The highly-pigmented colors pop off the page and dry quickly. And luckily for you, these markers can write on everything from paper and glass to wood and even plastic!

Other favorites

COPIC Ciao best art pens

Copic Ciao

  • Very expensive, top-rate product
  • Smaller, cheaper versions of this set are available
  • Double-ended pens for real-deal artists
  • Premium quality with refillable ink, which is cost-effective and eco-friendly
Prismacolor Premier Art Markers

Prismacolor Premier Double-Ended Art Markers

  • Different versions of this set are available
  • Dual-ended, high-quality markers
  • Great value for money
  • Rich saturated hues and effortless color blending
Zebra Pen Mildliner DCreative Marker Set

Zebra Pen Mildliner Creative Marker

  • Budget-friendly art pens
  • Water-resistant ink
  • 15 items per set
  • Fine tip markers

Best brush pen: Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers

Best for: Art journaling, lettering art, botanical illustration, fashion illustration, doodling, map illustration, children’s books illustration, rubber stamping

I adore these dual brush pens by Tombow and highly recommend them if you enjoy everything from doodling and hand lettering to child book illustration and rubber stamping.

These pens are incredibly versatile, featuring a flexible nylon fiber brush tip on one end and a hard thin marker tip on the other. With these dual-sided pens, you can create a range of effects, brushstrokes, and shapes, especially when paired with a fineliner or ballpoint pen.

I also have to point out how original these Tombow art pens are regarding themes. You can purchase different variations of these 10-packs on Amazon; however, the muted color theme featured above is quite unique. It’s always somewhat easier to come across more vibrant, bold colors!

In addition to color, ink is smooth and quick-drying, making it easy to work with and blend. You can even add water with a traditional paintbrush or use a colorless blender pen to create watercolor-like washes.

Want to check out more Tombow options? The brand’s Holiday, Portrait, and Retro-themed sets are other options we love! We also have a full list of the best brush pens if you want to learn more.

Other favorites

ARTEZA Real Brush Pens

ARTEZA Real Brush Pens

  • A great pick for beginners
  • 48 watercolor brush pens
  • Coloring, calligraphy, drawing, and more
  • Nylon brush hairs for thick and thin lines
Faber-Castell PITT Artist Brush Pen Set

Faber-Castell PITT Artist Brush Pen Set

  • Renowned art brand
  • 12 bright, water-resistant colors
  • Sets available in different capacities
  • Perfect for card making, calligraphy, and scrapbooking
Zebra Pen Metallic Brush Pen

Zebra Pen Metallic Brush Pen

  • A fun alternative to standard colors
  • Different versions of this set are available
  • Medium brush point
  • Stunning shimmery/metallic finishes

Best watercolor markers: Winsor & Newton ProMarker Watercolor Marker Set

Winsor & Newton ProMarker Watercolor Marker Set

Best for: Watercoloring, urban sketching, fashion illustration, botanical illustration, mixed-medium art

If you’ve been looking for top-notch watercolor markers, this stunning 6-pack ProMarker Watercolor Marker Set by Winsor & Newton won’t disappoint.

These dual-tip art pens are designed with a brush nib and a hard fine nib, making them incredibly versatile. The ink blends effortlessly when mixed with water and other hues, making painting organic, regardless of your skill set.

In fact, you’ll find it hard to differentiate outcomes from those achieved with standard watercolor sets. These highly pigmented watercolor markers provide remarkable tonal range and vibrancy due to their quality and lightfast ink.

They’re perfect for drawing at your craft desk or on the go, and their chunky pen body makes them extra comfortable to hold.

Know someone who loves their watercolor pencils? Surprise them with this top-of-the-line watercolor marker set to add to their collection of unique art supplies!

Other favorites

STAEDTLER 3001 TB36 ST best art pens

STAEDTLER Double-Ended Watercolour Brush Pens

  • Great for journaling, creative lettering, adult coloring books, and more
  • 36 colors
  • Features fine tip and brush tip
  • Child-friendly
KINGART Watercolor Brush Markers

KINGART Watercolor Brush Markers

  • Available in different set sizes
  • Vibrant colors
  • Reusable plastic container
  • Great travel set
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers

Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Markers for Artists

  • Beautiful packaging
  • Different colors and themes are available
  • High lightfastness
  • An excellent quality gift for artists.

Best gel pen: Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Pens 

SAKURA Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Pens

Best for: Scrapbooking, art journaling, card making, drawing, detailing

As a child, I used to love gel pens! And the thing is, I still do. They make some of the best drawing pens across various mediums and project types without breaking the bank.

This top-quality Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight Gel Pen set offers ten incredibly vivid, long-lasting pigments, ideal for everything from scrapbooking and art journaling to card making and doodling. They also add great pops of color and nuance to more neutral ballpoint pen art.

What I really love about this brand is its quality. This ink is opaque and flows smoothly across pages with little skipping.

In addition, a big perk of these art pens is that they can be used on light and dark paper surfaces — you can find a complete white ink gel Sakura set in our additional suggestions below.

This 10-pack set also goes for a very affordable price. However, if you’re up for a little more spending, a 16-pen set is also available on Amazon. Looking for creative gifts for an artsy friend? This is a great pick!

Other favorites

ARTEZA best art pens gel

ARTEZA Colored Gel Pens

  • Very reliable and affordable brand
  • Sets of 14, 10, and 24
  • Quick-drying ink
  • Lots of unique hues for excellent value
SAKURA Gelly Roll Gel Pens

Sakura Bright White Ink Gelly Roll Gel Pens

  • Includes six medium white-point art pens 
  • Opaque ink for dark paper
  • Ideal for illustrations and comics
  • The ink doesn’t bleed
Pentel Arts Krazy Pop Iridescent Gel Pen

Pentel Arts Krazy Pop Iridescent Gel Pens

  • Bold lines, minimum skipping
  • Glittery, iridescent inks for sparks effects
  • Can be used on dark or light paper
  • A fun option for doodling, scrapbooking, journal art

Best dip pen: Speedball Cartooning Pen Set

Speedball Cartooning Dip Pen

Best for: Manga, cartooning, storyboarding, artistic lettering

Manga artists, comics illustrators, and cartoonists will get a kick out of this Speedball dip pen for beginners. This complete set provides everything you need to start “dipping” your toe into this technique: four nibs, two pen nibs, and two pen holders.

Speedball is a reliable, quality brand that accommodates novices and experienced artists alike, all while providing affordable, easy-to-use products. And this introductory dip pen is no different: it costs under $20 on both Amazon and Blick.

While dip pens may be messier and require ongoing maintenance vs. traditional pens, they’ll enable advanced illustration techniques and incredible results — with a bit of practice, of course!

That said, if you’re serious about pursuing Manga art, storyboarding, or cartoon illustrations, this is definitely one of the best pens for inking. Not to mention, this is much cheaper than a quality fountain pen.

However, you will need to purchase ink separately, as this is not included in this set. I also recommend using smooth paper with a smooth finish instead of watercolor paper.

Other favorites

DELETER Trial Pen Set, 1 pan Holder

DELETER Trial Dip Pen Set

  • Great beginners dip pen for comics and Manga
  • One pen holder plus three pen nibs
  • Premium comic book paper in postcard size
  • Japanese product
JOSEPH GILLOTT MANGA SET

Joseph Gillott Manga Dip Pen Set

  • Six nibs plus two pen holders 
  • Specifically for Manga comics art
  • Pen point has a protective lacquer
  • General drawing dip pen also available by this brand
Mont Marte Drawing Ink Kit Signature

Mont Marte Signature Drawing Ink Set

  • Very complete dip pen set 
  • Includes 12 ink colors 
  • Glass dip pen for fine detail
  • Very affordable

Best fountain pen for drawing: Etchr Premium Fountain Pen Set 

Etchr Premium Fountain Pens for drawing

Best for: Sketching, card making

If you’re a longtime sketcher, you’ll know that fountain pens make for some of the best art pens for creative work besides writing. They allow you to create bolder, more fluid linework than that achieved with a fineliner or ballpoint pen.

With that in mind, I highly recommend the Etchr Premium Fountain Pen set made for both writing and sketching. While a more high-end product, it’s suitable for beginners and experienced artists alike, offering top quality right off the bat.

These sets contain two fountain pens, one with an extra-fine nib (0.38mm) and another with a fine nib (0.5mm). Both tips are flexible (this is why calligraphy pens aren’t the best sketching pens), making it easy to put down various line thicknesses, much like those achieved with a dip pen.

In this case, you’ll need to refill pens with bottled fountain pen ink vs. ink cartridges. This type of ink flows more organically onto surfaces and will give off that “wet” aesthetic you’re after. And although these pens come with caps, nibs will require some maintenance.

If you’re using these for the first time, there will be a learning curve, but nothing a little practice won’t solve! Before purchasing, know that even though Jackson’s is a UK-based supplier, US buyers will benefit from great prices, reasonable shipping costs, and speedy deliveries: sometimes quicker than in-country orders. Plus, you can save an extra 10% on your first order by clicking below.

Other favorites

Copic Fountain Drawing Pen

Copic Drawing Pen

  • Esteemed brand
  • Specifically made for drawing
  • 0.2mm tip
  • Disposable
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen for Drawing

Lamy Safari Fountain Pens

  • Easy to use for first-time fountain pen drawers
  • Available on Amazon and Blick in different colors
  • Lightweight art pen
  • Cool color ink cartridges exclusively on Blick
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

Pilot Metropolitan

  • Sleek, signature Pilot fountain pen
  • Excellent value for money
  • Fine nib and medium nib models available on Amazon
  • Perfect gift for fountain pen artists

Best paint marker pens: Uni Posca Paint Marker Pen Set

Uni Posca Paint Marker Pen

Best for: Poster art, drawing, sketching, lettering, canvas art, textile art

Have you ever heard of paint marker pens? If not, you’re in for a treat.

Acrylic paint markers go hand-in-hand with watercolor art pens in the sense that they allow you to break away from traditional techniques and materials to achieve a painting-like effect.

This Uni Posca Paint Marker Pen Set contains seven pastel-tinted pigments and is one of the best sketching pens for everything from large poster art, graffiti, canvas painting, and more — I love working these onto mini canvases!

These non-toxic, water-based paint markers can also be used on various surfaces such as glass, mirrors, and plastic. They also look incredible on textiles— creative tote bag projects, anyone?

Just remember you need to apply some pressure on the nib to activate the paint. You can find these products on both Amazon and Blick. Amazon tends to ship Japan-imported sets, but you can order different variations through Blick if preferred.

Other favorites

Liquitex Professional Paint Marker Set

Liquitex Professional Paint Marker Set

  • Top-of-the-line paint market sets
  • Many variations of this product are available on Amazon and Blick
  • Great for mixed-medium artwork and bold calligraphy
  • High lightfastness for demanding artists
ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Markers, Set

ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Markers

  • Sets of 20, 40, and 81 art pens 
  • Compatible with paper, canvas, ceramic surfaces, plastic, and more
  • A great option to draw on textiles
  • Value for money
ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Markers, Set

Krink Paint Markers 

  • Unique graffiti marker
  • Can be bought separately or as a 6-piece set
  • Chunky block tip
  • Compatible with paper, canvas, glass, metal, and wood panels

Best rollerball pen: Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Stick Pens

PILOT Precise V5 Stick Liquid Ink Rolling Ball Stick Pens

Best for: Doodling, sketching, drawing, card making

Typically, one wouldn’t consider using a rollerball pen for creative art hobbies. However, these can be some of the best art pens for sketching minimal, sharp lines.

This Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball Stick Pen set is a favorite for drawing and doodling, offering ten 0.5mm pen tips in assorted colors. These high-quality pens put down intense pigments, perfect for darker, finer line work.

These pens are an excellent match for lively, intricate mandala sketches, scrapbooking, card making, and art journaling. Plus, they hold a large amount of ink, so you can expect smooth, fluid, skip-free lines as you draw away.

Keep in mind that rollerball pens use heavier water-based ink and, therefore, will take a while to dry. This also means they’re prone to smudging — so not the best art pens for left-handers!

In addition, we recommend waiting a little before applying markers over lines since ink takes a little longer to settle.

Other favorites

uniball Vision Elite Rollerball Pens

uniball Vision Elite Rollerball Pens

  • Eight 0.5mm pens (assorted colors)
  • Smooth-flowing, fade-resistant ink
  • Micro-tip art rollerball writing and art pens
  • Skip-free lines
Pilot, G2 Premium Gel Roller Pens,

Pilot G2 Premium Gel Roller Pens

  • Top-quality long-lasting ink 
  • 0.7mm fine point tips 
  • Perfect for everyday sketching, drawing, and doodling 
  • Rollerball and gel pen
Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica Gel Pen

Pentel Arts Hybrid Technica Pens

  • Archival roller system 
  • Lightfast, fade-resistant ink
  • Can be bought individually on Blick
  • Sets contain five different pen tips for sketching and drawing

Best ballpoint pen: rOtring Rapid Pro Retractable Ballpoint Technical Drawing Pen

rOtring Rapid Pro Retractable Ballpoint Technical Drawing Pen

Best for: Doodling, sketching, technical drawing

Much like the recent rug tufting TikTok trend, the internet is flooded with incredible ballpoint pen art made by amateurs and professionals alike. 

So, if you’re a ballpoint pen enthusiast looking for new materials, put your trusty good ole’ BIC pen to rest and check out the rOtring Rapid Pro Retractable Ballpoint Technical Drawing pen. 

This pen is the perfect pro-grade tool for everything sketching, drawing, and of course, writing. It features a medium tip (0.5mm), a hexagonal barrel shape, and a shiny chrome-plated pen body. Its metal body adds weight, which in return, makes gripping and drawing more controlled.

This is a refillable pen, making it an excellent option for artists and stationery lovers who like to stick to their favorite items. You will, however, need to purchase refills separately. 

Note that ballpoint pen ink tends to come out slower than rollerball pens but dries faster and has thicker, more resistant finish. While this pen is unquestionably pricier than your standard drawing art pen, it’s definitely worth the investment. 

Want some inspiration? Check out these ballpoint pen artists on Instagram: @soniadavel and @mostafa.khodeir

Other favorites

BIC Round Stic Xtra BIC best art pens ballpoint

BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ballpoint Pens

  • Classic, quality ballpoint pens
  • 1.0mm medium point pens
  • Smooth ink for doodling and sporadic sketching
  • Limited color options
Caran d'Ache 849 Pop Line Fluo

Caran d’Ache 849 Ballpoint Pens

  • High-end writing and art pen for drawing
  • The hexagonal shape prevents rolling off surfaces
  • Multiple color options on offer
  • The elegant metal case makes it perfect for gifts 
Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint Pens

Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint Pens

  • Budget-friendly, household brand
  • 1.4mm tips
  • Vivid ink
  • Comfort grip for doodling, sketching, and art journaling

That’s it for our guide to the best art pens you can buy! Any advice for other intrepid crafters? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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