The Comprehensive Guide to 10 Most Popular Types of Drawing Pens

1. Fineliner Pen

Due to their fine, hard tip and quick-drying, water-based, or pigment ink, fineliner pens are suitable for detailed work. These pens generate thin, sharp lines, making detail work easy. Fineliners make clean, precise lines easy for illustrators and designers. Black is most popular because of its striking appearance. Diplomas and artworks benefit from the ink's moisture and fade resistance.


  • Fine tips for precision
  • Water and fade-resistant ink
  • Ideal for technical drawing and design
  • Compatible with rulers and templates
  • Available in varied tip sizes for detailing

Applications of a Fineliner Pen

  • Technical drawing
  • Illustration
  • Graphic design
  • Writing

Effects of a Fineliner Pen

  • Sharp, precise lines
  • Detailed work

Advantages of a Fineliner Pen

  • Consistent line width
  • Water-resistant ink
  • Available in a range of tip sizes
  • Ideal for use with rulers and templates

How to Use a Fineliner Pen

Hold the pen with a steady hand to ensure optimal line consistency. The pen's design allows for detailed work, making it ideal for technical drawings and illustrations. Its water-resistant ink also makes it suitable for use with other mediums.

fineliner pen

2. Rollerball Pen

Rollerball pens are favored by artists, writers, and designers for their simplicity and minimal upkeep. Their water- or gel-based ink offers unmatched fluidity for sketching and painting, outlasting the oil-based ink found in ballpoints. These pens feature a sleek body, crafted from materials like plastic, metal, or resin. The rolling ball tip releases ink smoothly as it moves on paper, mimicking the writing style of fountain pens without the associated mess.

Additionally, their design, whether retractable or capped, ensures the ink doesn't dry out. In essence, rollerball pens combine the best of both fountain and ballpoint pens, known for their effortless writing and vibrant lines.

Features of a Rollerball Pen

  • Offers a smooth and effortless writing experience due to the free-flowing ink
  • Produces finer, sharper lines compared to most ballpoint pens
  • Capable of creating more expressive and varied lines akin to a fountain pen
  • Quick-drying options are available, making them suitable for left-handed writers.
  • Often available with archival quality ink, which is resistant to fading over time

Applications of a Rollerball Pen

  • Note-taking
  • Journaling
  • Signing documents
  • Creative writing

Effects of a Rollerball Pen

  • Smooth, consistent writing
  • Dark, vibrant lines

Advantages of a Rollerball Pen

  • Less pressure is needed for writing
  • Quick-drying ink
  • Wide variety of ink colors
  • Sleek, professional appearance

How to use a Rollerball Pen

Like ballpoint pens, rollerballs are ready to use with easy uncapping. The ink flows more freely, allowing for definitive and varied line weights in writing and drawing, capturing some of the effects of a fountain pen without frequent refilling.

Rollerball Pen

3. Brush Pen

Brush pens are useful pens that mimic the feel of using a real paintbrush. They contain a bendable tip composed of nylon or bristles so that painters can make everything from thin lines to big strokes with just one instrument. Because of this, brush pens are excellent for use in calligraphy, sketching, and other art forms that benefit from using expressive lines.

Features of a Brush Pen

  • Extremely versatile tips for creating a wide range of line thicknesses and styles
  • Ideal for calligraphy, facilitating traditional lettering styles
  • Uses water-based inks for a watercolor effect
  • Offers a range of tip flexibility, allowing artists to adjust pressure as needed
  • Typically refillable, making them an eco-friendly and long-lasting choice
  • Average length ranges from 130 mm to 140 mm

Applications of a Brush Pen

  • Artistic illustrations
  • Calligraphy
  • Sketching
  • Manga and comic art
  • Hand lettering

Effects of a Brush Pen

  • Fluid, expressive strokes
  • Variation in line thickness
  • Bold swaths of color

Advantages of a Brush Pen

  • Versatility in line control
  • Portable and convenient
  • Richly pigmented ink
  • Mimics traditional brush painting

How to Use a Brush Pen

Using a brush pen is like using a traditional paintbrush. Artists control the thickness of the line by adjusting the pressure on the pen, allowing for a diverse range of strokes—from fine lines to bold swaths of color.

Brush pens perform exceptionally well on smooth, high-quality paper, such as marker paper, watercolor paper, or bristol board. These paper types are designed to handle the ink flow and the varying pressure artists may apply without causing the paper to tear or the ink to bleed.

Brush Pen

4. Technical Pen

Technical pens allow precise drawing. Their thin, stiff nibs and regulated ink flow suit intricate lines with minimum stroke width variation. These pens come in line widths from 0.03mm to 2.0mm, often meeting ISO standards for drafting.

Notably, their 'needle point' tips—often metal or encased in metal—allow for precise drawing along the edge of rulers or templates.


  • Perfect for technical designs that require straight, regular lines.
  • The ink used is often made to last a lifetime without fading.
  • A wide selection of nib sizes allows for tunable line width.
  • The tiny tips and steady ink flow make them ideal for stencils and rulers.
  • Extremely resistant to smearing and bleeding on virtually all paper types.


  • Architectural drawings
  • Detailed illustrations
  • Drafting


  • Clean, precise lines
  • Professional quality work


  • Consistent line width
  • Durable and long-lasting

How to Use Technical Pens

Unlike conventional pens, which may be held at any angle, technical pens are designed to be held at a fixed angle to the paper for accurate lines. Tools like rulers, templates, and computer-aided design programs benefit from their use.

Vellum, bristol board, and drafting paper are ideal surfaces for using a technical pen. The pen glides easily on these materials due to their smoothness and durability, preventing bleeding or feathering. Additionally, these materials resist tearing under the pressure of the technical pen's hard nib.

Technical Pens
Type of Technical Pen Nib Type Ink Type Line Width Range (mm) Usage Special Features
Traditional Technical Pens Metal, Needle Point Permanent, Waterproof Pigment 0.03 to 2.0 Drafting, Technical Illustrations Refillable ink reservoir
Metal-tip Technical Pens Metal, Needle Point Permanent, Waterproof Pigment 0.05 to 1.5 Precision Lines, Ruler/Template Work Rigid tip, consistent lines
Felt-tip Technical Pens Felt, Fine Point Permanent or Water-Based 0.1 to 1.0 Sketching, Detail Work Softer line, durable tip
Drafting Pens (with ISO Sizes) Metal, Needle Point Permanent, Waterproof Pigment 0.03 to 2.0 Professional Drafting, Technical Documents Adhere to ISO standards for line widths
Retractable Technical Pens Metal or Felt, Fine Point Permanent or Water-Based 0.05 to 0.8 Convenience, Portable Retractable tip, convenient design

5. Fountain Pen

For those who appreciate the ease of ink pens and wish to enhance their sketching skills, a fountain pen is an excellent choice. Because of their fine nib, fountain pens are ideal for drawing and sketching. Using a fountain pen to sketch is a unique and enjoyable practice. Ideal for quick, rough drafts that may be refined later, these are a useful tool to have on hand. The permanent ink glides effortlessly across the paper, making your sketches look polished. Also, a fountain pen is your best bet while drawing in a park or other area.

Type of Fountain Pen Filling Mechanism Usage Special Features Ink Capacity Drawbacks
Cartridge Fountain Pen Cartridge Everyday writing Convenient, easy to replace Low to Medium Limited ink options
Converter Fountain Pen Converter Everyday writing, drawing Allows for bottled ink use Low to Medium Limited ink capacity
Flex Nib Fountain Pen Varies Calligraphy, artistic writing Variable line width with pressure Varies Requires practice, potential for ink splatter
Metal Nib Fountain Pen Varies Everyday writing, signatures Nibs made of stainless steel or gold Varies Gold nibs can be expensive
Eyedropper Eyedropper Long writing sessions Large ink capacity High Risk of leaks, burping
Vacuum Filler Vacuum (pump) Everyday writing, drawing Large ink capacity, cool filling mechanism High Can be difficult to clean and maintain
Piston Filler Piston Everyday writing, drawing Large ink capacity, integrated filling system High Can be difficult to clean, more moving parts


  • Provides a classy, traditional writing experience with a touch of modern refinement.
  • Flexible line width, which can be adjusted with pressure and nib.
  • Allows for a wide variety of ink cartridge refills.
  • The ability to choose from various nib designs and materials allows you to personalize your writing and drawing experience.
  • Constructed from durable materials, a possible heirloom item.


  • Calligraphy
  • Fine art illustration
  • Ink drawing
  • Signature Writing
  • Journaling


  • Vintage, classic appearance
  • Unique, varied line work
  • Smooth and fluid strokes
  • Elegant and polished finish


  • Customizable ink options
  • Exceptional control
  • Interchangeable nibs for varied line widths
  • Durable and refillable, reducing waste
  • Comfortable for long periods of use due to a balanced weight and ergonomic design

How to Use a Fountain Pen

Fill the fountain pen's reservoir with ink using the pen's converter or piston. Keep your hand loose on the pen and rest the nib at an angle on the paper so that it makes full contact.

Lightly press down on the paper to let the ink flow freely from the pen. For reduced feathering and bleed-through, use thicker paper (90 gsm or above). After each use, replace the cap to keep the ink fresh and store the pen with the nib facing upwards.

fountain pen

6. Dip Pen

Dip pens harken back to a classic era of writing and drawing. With a metal nib mounted on a handle, artists dip these pens into ink to draw. This traditional tool offers a wide range of line styles dictated by the choice of nib, ranging from very fine to broad and flat. Artists and calligraphers love dip pens for the control they offer and the beautiful, expressive lines they can create. They are perfect for anyone seeking a vintage, classical approach to drawing and writing.

Type of Dip Pen Usage Special Features Advantages Drawbacks
Calligraphy Dip Pen Calligraphy, Lettering Wide, flat nib Bold, expressive strokes Requires control and practice
Drawing Dip Pen Illustration, Sketching Fine, flexible nib Precise, varied lines Frequent re-dipping of ink
Comic/ Manga Dip Pen Comic and Manga inking Very fine, flexible nib Sharp, clean lines Delicate nibs; can be fragile
Mapping Dip Pen Cartography, Fine Lines Extra fine nib Extreme precision Requires steady hand
Poster Dip Pen Large Lettering, Posters Broad, flat nib Creates big, bold lines Less precision
Copperplate Dip Pen Script, Formal Writing Flexible, pointed nib Elegant script possible Steeper learning curve
Quill Pen Writing, Drawing Made from a bird’s feather Traditional, classic feel Requires frequent sharpening
Glass Dip Pen Writing, Decoration Glass, twisted nib No metal parts, smooth flow Fragile, can break easily


  • Versatility in line width and style creation using a single nib
  • Perfect for creative projects and lengthy essays
  • Permits the use of specialist inks, such as those with greater vibrancy or greater longevity
  • Nibs are easily interchangeable and come in a variety of designs and widths.


  • Calligraphy
  • Fine art illustration
  • Ink drawing
  • Comic book inking
  • Decorative lettering


  • Vintage, classic appearance
  • Unique, varied line work
  • Highly detailed work
  • Sharp, crisp lines


  • Customizable ink options
  • Exceptional control
  • Wide variety of nib choices
  • Can use specialty inks (metallic, waterproof, etc.)

How to Use Dip Pens

  • Secure the Nib: Firmly attach the nib to the holder.
  • Dip in Ink: Submerge the nib up to its vent hole.
  • Remove Excess: Tap the nib on the ink bottle's rim.
  • Test First: Make test strokes on scrap paper.
  • Draw/Write: Use gentle pressure and re-dip as needed.
  • Clean: Rinse the nib and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Store Properly: Keep in a safe place to maintain quality.
dip pen

7. Felt Tip Pen (or Marker Pen)

One of the most flexible writing and sketching tools is the felt tip pen, sometimes a marker pen. Their felt-like, perforated tips ensure even, uniform ink distribution, regardless of the surface type. Their primary usefulness stems from their singularly designed tips, which enable precise, crisp line work.

Type of Felt Tip Pen Tip Size Ink Type Usage Special Features
Fine Point 0.2 - 1.0 mm Water or Alcohol-based Detailed work, technical drawing Precision lines, Permanent options available
Medium and Broad Tip 1.0 - 8.0 mm Water or Alcohol-based Coloring, shading, bold lines Large coverage, Non-Permanent options available
Brush Tip Variable Water or Alcohol-based Calligraphy, expressive drawing Mimics brush strokes, varied line thickness, Permanent and Non-Permanent options


  • Easy, reliable ink flow for detailed sketches
  • Ultra-fine for precise work and broad for covering huge areas
  • A variety of traditional, neon, and metallic ink colors are available.
  • Water-based and alcohol-based inks are both available.
  • Formulated to dry quickly and resist smearing so lines stay crisp and defined.
  • Ready to go wherever your creative spirit takes you
  • Allows for clean, uniform lines ideal for serious work

Applications of Felt Tip Pens

  • Drawing and illustration
  • Writing and note-taking
  • Coloring
  • Labeling and marking
  • Calligraphy and hand-lettering
  • Storyboarding and concept art
  • Graphs and charts
  • Craft and DIY projects

Effects of Felt Tip Pens

  • Vivid and bold lines
  • Variety of line weights
  • Smooth application
  • Quick drying
  • Potential bleed-through on thin paper

Advantages of Felt Tip Pens

  • Wide range of colors
  • Convenient and portable
  • Low maintenance
  • Precise and controlled lines
  • Comfortable grip and use
  • Versatility on various surfaces
  • Affordable
  • Water and fade-resistant options

How to Use a Felt Tip Pen

  • Select Pen: Pick the right tip size and color.
  • Use Thick Paper: Preferably 120 gsm or above.
  • Uncap: Ensure the tip is clean.
  • Hold at an Angle: For best results.
  • Adjust Pressure: Gentle for thin lines, harder for thick.
  • Cap After Use: Prevents drying.
  • Store Right: Horizontally or tip-down for consistent flow.
Felt Tip Pen

8. Pigment Liner

Pigment liners use a special ink that does not fade, does not smudge when exposed to light or water, and keeps its vivid color even when exposed to direct sunlight. Sharp points and strong, typically metal-encased tips make these pens excellent for detailed designs and technical drawings. Because of how they're made, you can draw smoothly and precisely without worrying about lines skipping or ink blotching.


  • Fade-proof, lightfast, water-resistant ink
  • Fine, precise points
  • Hard, metal-housed tips
  • Even continuous ink flow
  • Ideal for intricate and technical drawings

Applications of Pigment Liners

  • Technical drawings
  • Illustrations
  • Graphic design
  • Calligraphy
  • Sketching

Effects of Pigment Liners

  • Sharp, precise lines
  • Permanent, non-fading marks

Advantages of Pigment Liners

  • Fade-resistant and lightfast ink
  • Water-resistant marks
  • Variety of tip sizes for different line widths
  • Reliable and consistent ink flow

How to Use Pigment Liners

  • Uncap the pen and hold it in a relaxed grip, similar to a regular pen.
  • Place the hard, metal-housed tip gently on the paper at a slight angle.
  • Apply minimal pressure, as pigment liners are designed to produce sharp, precise lines with an even and consistent ink flow.
  • Move the pen smoothly across the surface to create your desired lines or strokes. 
Pigment Liner

9. Multiliner Pen

Multiliners are drawing pens with fine tips that produce even lines. They come in various tip sizes, offering artists versatility and precision. Their ink cartridges often contain fade- and water-resistant pigment ink. Detail-oriented work is best done with a multiliner pen with various tip sizes and colors. The reliable ink flow and long-lasting tips are great for drawing precise lines and detailing complex patterns.

Features of Multiliner Pens

  • Fine tips in various sizes
  • Consistent, precise lines output
  • Water-resistant, pigment-based, archival-quality ink
  • Multiple ink color options
  • Steady, reliable ink flow
  • Durable, metal-clad tips
  • Lightweight, cylindrical body
  • Has a cap to preserve ink
  • Tip size marked on cap or body

Applications of Multiliner Pens

  • Technical drawings
  • Illustrations
  • Graphic design
  • Manga and comic art
  • Hand-lettering

Effects of Multiliner Pens

  • Sharp, clean lines for high-definition work
  • Uniform line width, maintaining consistency
  • Ability to create fine detail and intricate patterns
  • Smooth, skip-free strokes for a polished finish
  • No feathering or bleeding on most paper types
  • Crisp edges and corners in technical drawings

Advantages of Multiliner Pens

  • Water-resistant and fade-proof ink
  • Variety of tip sizes and ink colors
  • Reliable and steady ink flow
  • Durable, long-lasting design
  • Archival-quality ink for preservation

How to Use Multiliner Pen

  • Simply remove the cap and hold it like any other.
  • Try pressing the fine end gently at an angle on the paper.
  • Maintain a constant pressure, as multiliner pens are engineered to draw smooth, even lines.
  • Draw lines or strokes by gliding the pen across the surface; different pens have different-sized tips, so experiment to find what works best for you.
Multiliner Pen

10. White Ink Pen

There are pens available that use opaque white ink that can be used for writing and sketching. White ink pens are intended to be used on dark or colored surfaces instead of the usual light ones, generating strikingly contrasting lines. Usually, a pigment gives the ink its opacity, making the white color appear even when printed on dark or transparent media.


  • Clear, white ink
  • Formulated using opaque pigments
  • Perfect for highlighting key points
  • Suitable for making alterations or covering mistakes
  • Resistant to water when dry
  • Interchangeable tip sizes
  • Works on a variety of surfaces, including paper, plastic, and glass

Applications of White Ink Pens

  • Adding highlights to art and illustrations
  • Lettering on dark or colored paper
  • Decorating dark fabrics or surfaces
  • Correcting or covering up dark ink

Effects of White Ink Pens

  • Vibrant, contrasting lines on dark backgrounds
  • Creates standout details and accents
  • Ability to layer over other colors for mixed-media work

Advantages of White Ink Pens

  • Able to be seen on both black and colorful backgrounds. 
  • Allows for more contrasting artwork. 
  • Useful for making alterations to black-and-white drawings. 
  • Durable enough to endure a long time without fading, paper and fabric are only two of the many substrates they work well on. 
  • Usually waterproof when dried

How They Are Used

  • Gently shake it to mix the ink for smooth flow.
  • Uncap the pen and test on scrap material to confirm opacity and flow.
  • Hold the pen at an angle and apply light to moderate pressure to create lines or strokes; avoid pressing too hard to prevent tip damage.

These pens are ideal for adding highlights, details, or corrections to dark or colored surfaces.

White Ink Pen

Comparison of the Most Popular Drawing Pens

Fineliner Pen vs. Pigment Liner

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Fineliner Pen: Has a consistent line width, primarily used for drawing and sketching. Generally has dye-based ink, which may not be waterproof or fade-resistant.
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Pigment Liner: It also has a consistent line width but uses pigment-based ink, which is waterproof, fade-resistant, and archival.

Rollerball Pen vs. Fountain Pen

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Rollerball Pen: A rolling ball tip and water-based ink is used for smooth and consistent writing, which is more suitable for everyday use.
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Fountain Pen: Features a metal nib and can use various inks, including pigmented ones. Known for its flexible and expressive line variation, it's often viewed as a luxury or artistic pen.

Brush Pen vs. Felt Tip Pen (or Marker Pen)

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Brush Pen: Comes with a flexible tip that mimics a brush, enabling varied line widths in a single stroke. Ideal for calligraphy and expressive drawing.
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Felt Tip Pen (Marker Pen): Features a porous tip, which can vary in firmness, delivering a consistent line width. It's excellent for coloring, writing, and more detailed drawing.

Technical Pen vs. Multiliner Pen

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Technical Pen: A precision instrument with a rigid, fine tip designed for drafting and technical drawings. It provides consistent line widths, often conforming to ISO standards, but is also used in artistic illustrations requiring precision.
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Multiliner Pen: A drawing pen available in various tip sizes, all delivering consistent, precise lines. It's more oriented towards artistic uses like illustrations and sketches.

Dip Pen vs. White Ink Pen

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Dip Pen: Traditional pen with a metal nib that needs to be dipped into ink regularly; excellent for calligraphy and presents a classic, expressive writing style.
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White Ink Pen: Specialized pen that uses opaque white ink, created to stand out on dark or colored surfaces, commonly used for highlights or corrections.
Jerome Wu

Jerome Wu

About the Author

Jerome Wu, a renowned expert in the stationery field, crafts insightful content for Interwell Stationery. With over a decade of industry experience, Jerome brings a deep understanding of stationery trends and innovation.

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