White pens – awesome and difficult

White pens
I love my white pens, trust me on that – but it’s a love-hate relationship. I would use them a lot more if they weren’t so damn difficult to write with. As you can see from this experiment above all of the three writing pens can write on acrylic paint (that is totally dry) but you have to be careful. Because I got questions about white pens on my previous post I thought I’d share some pen advice today.

When holding a white pen you should always:

1. shake your pen
2. warm it up, kick start it by doing swirly motions on another piece of paper
3. write extremely slow
(slower!)
4. yes, try to be patient and breath
5. don’t press but let the white ink flow out on its own
6. go back and fill in where it didn’t take

If the ink doesn’t come flowing out, try to talk to your pen and tell it how much you love it. This might work.

My latest white pen is the Zig Posterman, waterproof pen by Kuretake. Meant for non porous surfaces like ceramic but because of the hi-opaque pigment ink I like it a lot, though the “fine tip” (1 mm) is not very fine. Then I also own a few white writing pens:

Just write very slowly
Uni-ball signo by Mitsubishi is often recommended but the easiest to find is the Gelly roll Med by Sakura. Today I liked the Gel-pen by Tombo best.

So, in conclusion: white pens are awesome – but difficult to use. Maybe you’ve got some other favorites, or advice?

** Also see the post Favorite Pens for Mixed Media for more recommendations. I’ve written about all kinds of pens because I fall in love with and buy new ones all the time.

What creative person doesn’t love & collect pens? I say: you can never ever have too many!

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19 Responses to White pens – awesome and difficult

  1. Carina says:

    Hej Hanna!
    I don’t often use white pens, so I can’t give any recommendations… ;-)

    But you might want to check out this page cultpens.. looks like there are quite a few white pens.

    And uh, yeah, sorry about pointing in the direction of a site that isn’t good for anyone with the slightest pen addiction. Not that I know what that’s like of course. ;-)

  2. Julie prichard says:

    It’s true….there are many a white pen in the pen grave yard here. I’ve settled on a white sharpie poster paint (water based)… Perfectly opaque every time. Other than that I like white acrylic ink and a nib.

  3. Anne Murphy says:

    ” try to talk to your pen and tell it how much you love it”
    ah! Maybe that’s what i’ve been doing wrong! I always yell at my pen & call it names when it doesn’t work >.>
    white paint pens are supposed to work well..

  4. Sassy says:

    Thanks so much for a perfectly timed post: my family is bugging me for some Christmas gift ideas and now I have some!

  5. bev langby says:

    im now into the Posca love them they are water based but great ….

  6. Liz Monaghan says:

    I haven’t published a comment on your blog before…but feel VERY compelled to on this topic having tried virtually EVERY white pen on earth…to my frustration. UNTIL, I found the perfect one!! It has yet to fail me and writes on just about everything. No streaking. No delays. Perfectly white. Pentel Sunburst Medium Gel pen is a GEM!!! Try it.

  7. Maureen says:

    Thanks for all the good advice on white pens. I don’t know a crafter who doesn’t struggle with these. I particularly liked the advice of telling your pen you love it! My new favorite white pen is the Stampers Big Brush Pen by Faber Castell Design Memory Craft. I had them in all the other colors and couldn’t wait for the white to come out. Now that I have tried it, I am in love! If you don’t have one, you must try it (and no, I do not work for Faber Castell!).

  8. Laurie M. says:

    Great post. I, too, have been totally frustrated with every white pen I’ve tried, except maybe for the Sharpie Poster-Paint fine point white pen.

  9. lee says:

    I too have that love hate thing going on , I find that I love using a white pen it works over anything and stays white

  10. Hagit says:

    My favorite white pen is the Sharpie water based paint pen. It’s amazing, it will write on anything, and it’s opaque and lovely, and you can get the fine tip, which is great for writing. I also love the Uni Posca pens, but the white one isn’t opaque, so it’s not as good.

  11. Yes, s l o w l y is a wise move, and one I often forget. I haven’t found the ideal white pen yet, either. Particularly after they are about a month old. I have had some luck with the same ones you use, and I have found a pen that is really a Wite-Out applicator, but looks like a pen. Wite-Out is made to cover typing mistakes. As you suggest, I do have to tell it how much I love it, but when it gets going, it’s good.

  12. Heather says:

    The Uni-ball Signo is my current favourite white pen. It works absolutely perfectly for what I use it for – which so far is mainly adding white details to watercolour sketches. I agree that the Sakura Gelly Roll is the easiest to find, but it is not as opaque or as smooth writing as the Uni-ball.

    I have noticed that acrylic paint is often problematic for writing over with any kind of pen. I have actually ruined some of my felt tip pens by writing over acrylic paint with them. I am not sure what it is about the acrylic paint surface, but it seems to be especially hard on pens, and I don’t think I’ve ever used any pen that works perfectly on it.

  13. Doris says:

    I just thought about throwing my white pens away but now I will give them a second ( tenth!) chance perhaps talking helps :-) and patience … thank you

  14. Caatje says:

    UniballSigno gelpens write pretty good over acrylic (unless it’s too textured). I use them in my journals all the time, they do rub away though and are not waterproof, but since I have no intention of rubbing over them extensively or putting anything over the writing that’s no problem for me.
    Another choice for writing in gel pen might be the Sakura soufflé pens. They are more permanent, but they do empty out pretty fast and the line is thicker, so you can’t write really fine with them.
    However if you want your writing to be really permanent and opaque nothing beats the UniPosca paintmarkers. They come in all sorts of nib sizes from very wide to ultra fine (0.7 mm). I am so in love with them that I splurged on severals sets in different widths just so I could always grab them. As the name says they are filled with acrylic paint. I have not have one fail on me yet and they seem to last quite a while (as in they don’t empty out quickly). They are not cheap, but they are worth every cent.

  15. Kim Mailhot says:

    I love how you mentioned telling the pen you love it and maybe it will work better ! This can happen !
    Hugs, Talented One !

  16. Nat says:

    Ditto Julie Prichard, I use a very heavily pigmented acrylic ink, Art Spectrum’s, and this works with all my dip pens/nibs as well as brushes, so I can get the line and the weight I want every time. I gave up on disposable pens ages ago, because I don’t use them up quickly enough, and they dry out on me! :(

  17. Julie says:

    I have the best luck with Silver Metallic Sharpie pens in different sizes. It shows up better on dark or bright colors as well as just about any paint surface. Glad you wrote about the white pens. I wondered how other artists felt about them. I don’t use them.

  18. Tricia says:

    This post is great! I have some very temperamental white pens too. I can’t wait to check out your other pen posts. I can never, ever get enough pens. Sometimes I buy multiples too. Just in case of emergency. :)

  19. Tammy says:

    My current favorites are the Uniball Signo and the white gellyroll. Although white ink in the rapidograph is pretty darned fabulous on black paper. The sharpie poster markers (water-based markers) are amazing but the width of the line is too wide for most of my journal writing. Great topic.

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