This video is more of a quick product review and demo, rather than a tutorial.

I am picking some of my very favourite pens to draw and write with, waterproof, water resistant and water-reactive. You will notice that there are way more waterproof pens than watersoluble ones, which is a little bit natural for a mixed media artist, I think.

Watch it on Youtube and Vimeo (free download)



  • Identi Pen Sakura – two ends, one thin (quite fragile on textured paper like the one I use in the video) and a bigger one.
  • Faber Castell Pitt Brush Pen – and Big Brush Pen – these pens are India ink, totally waterproof, but they do take some time to fully dry (which can be a good thing as it allows you some open time to smudge and create easy shadows).
  • Mitsubishi UniPin 0.3 pen – lovely fineliner, great for zentangling, and way more durable than the famous Micron pens (I bought some of these over a year ago, they cost me a fortune importing them, and they lasted me less than a month. I know I’m not particularly gentle with my pens, but still). I have been using these for years, and always go back to them when I need to add details.
  • Staedler Pigment Liner 0.4 (waterproof/permanent) – this is a new discovery (Julie Gibbons uses it in one of her Mandala videos, and I couldn’t wait to try it). Very similar to the UniPin pen, the ink dries pretty quickly. I was impressed.
  • Energel Pentel 0.7 (permanent gel ink) – this is my new favourite for writing. I came across it while browsing permanent pens on Amazon. I thought, What? A gel pen with permanent ink, with a click mechanism (so very portable) and wide nib? Got to try it!! It took 2 months to come – must have been out of stock, and after trying it, I totally understand why. It glides, so you can write quickly, and I love that. It doesn’t even feel like writing! The ink does take some time to dry, longer than the fineliners.
  • Japanese Carbon Ink Fountain pen from Amazon – also called the “Epic Pen” by Jane Davenport – this pen feels like heaven. The nib is quite fine, which would generally bother me, but drawing with this pen is a real pleasure. You need to wait a little bit for the ink to dry before adding any wet media on top (I do use it to draw and add watercolour on top to colour in), but once you try it, you will be addicted to it, I promise you. It is also very nice for writing, but I do prefer larger nibs for that.
  • Pentel Brush Pen – I could call it a yummy pen. The brush is quite long and VERY flexible, enabling a wide variety of line thicknesses in one stroke. On some papers, and also depending on the pressure you apply, you can get very nice irregular brushstroke effects, which I think is beautiful.
  • Uniball Eye Fine Waterproof pen – this is the first waterproof pen I ever tried, and will love it forever, no doubt. It is a classic, you can find it anywhere, very affordable.
  • Gelli Roll gel pens – Moonlight Set – yummy colours, beautiful flow and waterproof ink! I find the pastel colours way too muted so I always use the darker and brighter colours. My favourites are from the Moonlight set; they are very opaque and the colours show perfectly on black and dark papers/backgrounds. The ink takes quite a while to dry, so beware of smudges, but, once fully dry, they are waterproof.
  • Signo Uniball Glitter Gel pen – I am only demoing the pink pen, but quite a few more colours are available.  Personally, I would say that the ink is waterproof, but the glitter spreads when you add a wet medium on top (it did with my water). Great for adding touches of shimmery glittery beauty to your projects or journal/diary/planner pages.
  • Pentel Hybrid gel pen in white – I know that everyone raves about the Signo Uniball white gel pen and the Gelli Roll white pen, but I do think that the Pentel Hybrid is way better. The Gelli Roll is not white enough for me, and I find the Uniball quite irregular (maybe it would be better if I was more gentle with my pens, but I do think that your pens should work with your writing/drawing, and not the other way round. As Dina Wakley says, you are the boss of your art!). When I added water on top, my lines were not as white as when I drew them originally, which would limit its use to top layers and finishing touches. But that’s fine by me, that what I use it for!
  • Muji gel pens – I use the 0.5 – I first tried the black one and loved it. On a trip to London a couple of weekends ago, I discovered, first, that they had a Muji shop on Oxford Street (OMG!!!), and that the gel pen I love so much comes in DIFFERENT COLOURS (OH MY GOD!!!!). I obviously treated myself to a few colours! They are actually very affordable (5 pens for £6, special offer when you get one free – £1.50 each normal price). You have a bit of drying time when you can play with the ink and add water to spread the pigment a little bit, but once it’s dry, I wouldn’t say that they are waterproof, as if you wet your finger and rub, the ink will slightly smudge, but they are most definitely not watersoluble.
  • Papermate Flair – is it a pen or a fine felt tip pen? Either way, it is a beautiful pen/marker… to draw and write with. Very affordable, several sets available for a lovely variety of colours. As you can clearly see in the video, these melt when water is added, which I am definitely using to my advantage to create easy shadows and soften my lines in the drawing demo.


drawing demo