Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Comparing pens: Staedtler Pigment Liner, Uniball Vision, Pigma Micron, Sensei, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen

I have a lot of pens in my studio and I thought it would be useful to create a comparative chart with them all: Staedtler Pigment Liner, Uniball Vision, Pigma Micron, Pigma Sensei, and Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen.

How do they differ? Each pen has its own characteristics and they also perform differently on different papers. Below you can see pen lines on a watercolor paper and a sketch paper. As the sketch paper is more porous and absorptive, all of these pens feather to some degree. So, it is a matter of finding both a pen and a paper you like to work with!
Staedtler Pigment Liner, Uniball Vision, Pigma Micron, Pigma Sensei, Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Staedtler Pigment Liner, Uniball Vision, Pigma Micron, Pigma Sensei, Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen
nib sizes

© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Uniball Vision roller ball pen (pigment based ink, water resistant, fade resistant, made in Japan)* in fine (0.7 mm) is a favorite of mine, with a slightly thicker, black and glossy line. The micro (0.5 mm) is a thinner version.

Staedtler Pigment Liner (pigment based ink, waterproof, lightfast, made in Germany)* is another favorite, and my go-to pen after Uniball Vision. This is a pen that works well on most papers with little feathering! It comes in a handy case of four (0.1, 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 mm) that easily tucks in my sketch bag or pocket. In fact, the case itself is so convenient that I use a second case for my Uniball Vision and a pencil! The pen that gets the most mileage is the 0.3 which seems to work for just about everything. One disadvantage is that the line is not quite as black as I would like and another that the pens are quite thin and a bit uncomfortable to hold for a long time. (Uniball Vision is a little thicker and works better for me, but does tend to feather on thinner papers.)
Comparing pens on watercolor paper
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.
Comparing pens on sketch paper
© 2016 Anna C./See. Be. Draw.

Sakura Pigma Micron (pigment ink, waterproof, fade resistant, made in Japan)* is a popular pen that comes in many different nib sizes. For wider lines, there is Pigma Graphic and also Pigma Brush. In my experience however, Pigma has more of a tendency to feather than Uniball Vision or Staedtler Pigment Liner (this, of course, is also related to the paper used).

Sakura Pigma Sensei (pigment ink, waterproof, fade resistant, made in Japan)* is a nice addition intended for the manga artist, with four different nib sizes as well as a few chisel points. I like these more than the Microns as they seem to feather less and are more comfortable to hold, but the line width selection does not quite work for me.

Finally, Faber-Castell's Pitt Artist Pen (pigment based ink, water resistant, high light resistance, made in Germany)* comes in many widths, including chisel tip, brush tip, as well as a big brush. The set I have splatters tiny ink drops all over my paper each time I open a pen and I don't know if this is common or if I just happened to get a set loaded with ink! That aside, I do like the pen widths and also that there are a few wider pens included, notably the 1.5. A larger size option is something I miss with Staedtler Pigment Liner. However, just like Pigma Micron, Pitt will feather if the paper is too porous and absorptive.

* This information is taken directly from each pen's website and not from the information on the pens themselves. Several pens are indeed labeled waterproof, lightfast/fade proof, etc., but the websites state water resistant and fade resistant. In my experience, these pens are waterproof, which to me means that you can paint with watercolor over the lines as long as you first give the ink enough time to dry. Be aware that, depending on paper, some pens can take quite a long time to dry, the more sizing, the longer it takes. I have not done any lightfastness tests.

Översättning. Här jämför jag en del av de pennor jag har i min studio: Staedtler Pigment Liner, Uniball Vision, Pigma Micron, Pigma Sensei, and Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen. Deras linjeegenskaper varierar beroende på vilket papper som används. På ett hårt limmat papper tar det lång tid för tuschet att torka, medan linjerna kan sprida sig på ett mer poröst och absorberande papper. Jag testade på ett hårt limmat akvarellpapper och ett poröst skisspapper.

Uniball Vision fine är en av mina favoriter, med en helsvart, blank linje. En annan favorit är Staedtler Pigment Liner i 4-pack som är den enda penna jag använt som sällan sprider sig. Dock är linjerna inte lika svarta som jag skulle önska (men svarta nog) och den är lite obekväm att hålla i då pennorna är tunna. Pigma Micron tenderar att sprida sig mer enligt min erfarenhet och är även den en tunn penna, medan Pigma Sensei verkar sprida sig mindre och pennorna är dessutom lite tjockare. Mina Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens skvätter tusch varje gång jag tar av korken, men jag vet inte om detta är vanligt eller inte! Dock sprider även de sig om papperet är alltför poröst.

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