I Keep being asked what my favourite pens and pencils are to use for my adult colouring projects, so I thought I’d give you a list and explain why I like certain products more than others.
Here are each of the different pens I use, why I like or dislike them and links to where they can be purchased.
This is my most recent purchase and I found these on Amazon when looking for another marker by Staedtler. These seemed like a good idea as the pens are duel ended. With these pens you get two pens in one. Each shade has a thin 0.5 – 0.8 mm tip and a 3 mm tip on the other end.
The bonus with these is that the shade is exactly the same both ends. I have purchased pens (you will read about them later) where there is a thin and thick version in separate sets that look identical, but the shades are actually completely different. The great thing about these is that you can colour in a section that is small with the thin end and a much larger section with the thicker end and know that the shade will match exactly. My only issue with these pens is that the shades are not numbered or named. I have not had any issues with bleed through to other pages with these pens.
This image shows one of the pens and examples of the thin and thick tips and a couple of pictures I completed using the thick end. Using a thinker tip allows for fewer strokes and makes the picture look better and cleaner. Click on images to see larger versions.
These pens are my current favourites. Although they are the same brand as the pens above, they are very different. First off, the shape of the pen is triangular which makes it much nicer to hold and use. Also, the quality of the tip and ink seems much better and that is reflected in the higher purchase price. The tips are 0.3 mm which allows for very precise colouring in even the smallest areas. The shades are also really bright and the pens are smooth to use with no bleed.
The advantage with these is that you can get lots of different shades and many different pack sizes. I purchased the 42 pack originally as it was the largest pack I could find on Amazon that shipped to Canada. But, you can get them in packs of 10 pens, 20 pens, 36 pens and 48 pens. As with the pens above these do not have numbered or named shades.
I use these a lot and some of my original pens have run out, so I’ve just ordered a new set of 48 pens which should keep me going for a while. The image below shows the pen and ink as well as a couple of pictures I have done using these pens. Click on images to see larger versions.
I was hoping to be able to get the thicker version of the Staedtler Fineliner, but they seem really hard to come by, so I decided to try out these Stabilo pens instead and I’m pleased I did. These are 1 mm pens that glide over the paper and I really enjoy using. The colours are bold and the tips smooth to use. Depending on the paper, there can be some bleed to the other side, but only on poorer papers. Most better quality colouring books are fine.
The tip can be used normally to get a medium thickness line, or slightly on its side to get a slightly thicker line. A good thing about these pens is that the shades are numbered. The pen shaft is also angled which makes holding them much nicer than a round pen.
Here are examples of the pen in use and some pictures coloured using them. Click on images to see larger versions.
I purchased these at the same time as the Stabilo 68 pens. These are the 0.4 mm version of the pen. When I got them the two packs looked identical in shade choices. So, my theory was that I was buying 30 identical shades with both 1 mm and 0.4 mm options. I was wrong! Although some of the shades are the same in each size, many are not.
However, the pens themselves are nice to use, although I have found a few of them to be slightly more scratchy than the Staedtler Fineliner pens. For the most part, they are nice to use, but of the two I prefer the Staedtler. These pens, however, are shade numbered and I haven’t experience any bleed.
We cannot talk about colouring pens without mentioning Crayola. This was my first set of pens when I started colouring. I purchased a box of 100 Super Tips, but you can get so many combinations such as 20 pens or 50 pens.
These are great starter pens as they are readily available and very cheap to buy. There is no actual tip size mentioned on the box or the pen and I’ve never been able to verify exactly what they are, but you can use the tip to create a fine or thicker line depending on your needs. The pens are nice to use and do not bleed through. My only issue with these is that some of them have a tendency to leak at the tip and get ink over your fingers.
Click on images to see larger versions.
These were the second set of pens I purchased and they are my least used pens, for one simple reason, they bleed through terribly! They are nice pens to use and you can get lots of different shades and pack sizes, but you cannot use them on a double sized image unless you decide that you are never going to use the reverse image because it bleeds through so much. I would also recommend placing a sheet of paper between any pages in a book as you can get bleed-through to a couple of sheets if the paper is poorer quality.
Since I have so many pens I recently purchased a really handy pens case which can hold up to 160 pens. Link to post.
Buy from Amazon USA
Buy from Amazon Canada
Buy from Amazon UK
Click on this photo to link to the article about my favourite colouring books