Best pens to use with watercolour


Over time I have experimented with many different pens and I even though I try not to use watercolour over ink, some times its just needs to be done. Below (starting from my personal favourite) are some of the pens that I have found most useful when working around watercolour.

Staedtler Pigment Liner

which comes in a handy pack of 6 with different size nibs ranging from 0.05 - 0.8. I find these pens have really long lasting nibs and the flow of the ink is really smooth and consistent. They are also light fast and very rarely if ever bleed (in my experience) when watercolour is placed over the top or next to it.

The specs of this pen are as follows:

  • Fineliner for writing, sketching and drawing
  • Long metal tip, ideal for use with rulers and templates e.g. Mars lettering guide 572 FL
  • Pigment ink, indelible (in accordance with ISO 14145-2), light fast, waterproof
  • Erasable when used on drafting paper, no bleeding when highlighted
  • Stand-up STAEDTLER box
  • Cap off - can be left uncapped for 18 hours without drying up (Standard atmosphere according to ISO 554)
  • PP barrel guarantees long service life
  • Up to 12 line widths, black in


Here is a picture of watercolour over the top:

Faber-Castell PITT artist Pen

provides a lovely smooth line and has great flow, I love this pen but my only down fall is they seem to run out a little quicker and the nib is not quite as durable. The little grip on the pen is also a great help in making it a bit more comfortable when doing long haul drawing sessions. This pen does really well if you are going to be using it alongside watercolour as it only bleeds fractionally when freshly applied or not at all if it is left to dry first.

The specs of the pen are as follows:

  • Ideal for sketches, drawings, layouts, fashion design and illustration.
  • Pigmented drawing ink
  • High light resistance
  • Water-resistant, permanent
  • Odor-free, acid-free, pH neutral


Here is a picture of watercolour over the top when the pen is freshly applied:

Artline 200

is a great pen in terms of flow and longevity but I personally find it a bit uncomfortable and it is terrible to use anywhere near watercolour as it bleeds instantly and will cause a LOT more work in the long run. I do however enjoy this pen if I am doing an ink only drawing because of the flow as mentioned earlier.

The specs of this pen are as follows:

  • The instant drying, blur proof ink in the Artline 200 makes the plastic tip pen ideal for all general writing and drawing in the office, home or school.
  • Bleeds when fixative is sprayed over it


Here is a picture of watercolour over the top:

Sharpie Pens

is a great affordable option and it does not bleed much around watercolour. The ink in this pen does tend to run low pretty quickly in comparison to the others but as a backup pen it is a great option. Other versions of Sharpie are great for large sections but just make sure you test the pens on a scrap paper first as sometimes there are different variations in the black and some even look purple which can really ruin a good piece of art. If you do use Sharpie pens be sure to use some kind of UV protector spray as I find they fade fairly quickly.

The specs of this pen are as follows:

  • Won't bleed through paper and won't smear
  • Durable fine point tip delivers precise and consistent writing with minimal effort
  • Use it for taking notes, journaling, writing letters, making cards and more
  • AP certified non-toxic ink is waterproof and smear and fade resistant
  • Archival quality and acid-free ink for office and school work
  • Available in a 10 bold colors


Here is a picture of the watercolour over the top:

I have also heard that Sakura Micron pens are fantastic so they are on my list to try next.

I would love to hear your feedback and what experiences you have had with these pens or others?

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