Art Journal, Supplies & Tools

Five Favourites – Black Pens for Mixed Media

As a mixed media artist I have a bunch of favourite pens, well more than a bunch really, but I thought it would be good to share my favourite five with you. Actually I had a lot of problems narrowing it down to just five….

5 fav Black pens - Robyn Wood - Purple Salt.jpg


this might give you an idea why……

If you have followed me for a while you will know that I like a challenge. I rarely follow through right to the end, but there is something about the whole idea of joining in a challenge, often with others around the world that gets inspiration pumping.

It doesn’t particularly worry me that I don’t finish – the whole idea of joining in in the first place is to be involved, try new things and hope for that spark that leads to a set of new ideas, skills, friends or opportunities.

Last year, I attended the ProBlogger conference on the Gold Coast and found it an enormous boost to my knowledge about blogging and provided a bit of a kickstarter to getting this blog moving. The boost lasted while I moved to the blog being self-hosted and redesigned the look and feel, but in the busyness of everyday life and taking an overseas holiday, somehow the groove got lost …. almost obliterated really.

In the lead up to the next ProBlogger conference, I’m joining in the challenge run by Darren Rouse of ProBlogger aimed at getting us into our blogging groove again. The challenge started last week and involves a daily podcast from Darren with the issue of a different blogging challenge and ways we can accomplish it through posting to our blog along with lots of helpful info or the technical or creative side. Darren is in touch with a large variety of bloggers from all over the world and he is able to present these challenges with real examples of how others have created posts and the problems they may face.

The challenge for day one is to create a ‘list post’ – simple, straightforward and one that I can use to share my love of black pens with you.

5 favs - black pens Robyn Wood Purple Salt


The quest to find the perfect black pen has led me on an almost magical, mystery tour of stationary stores, online shops, blogs, Instagram, online classes and diving into the rabbit hole of Pinterest. It seems that everyone has a favourite (or three) about which they wax lyrical and long, but as I’ve found, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will also like their choice.

Carbon Platinum ‘Epic’ Pen – This fountain pen is manufactured by Platinium Pen Co in Japan and comes with cartridges full of permanent black ink. Being a fountain pen you can also switch out the cartridge for a refillable insert and use whatever ink you like.

A fountain pen might seem an odd choice for mixed media but this pen gives a wonderful, fine line over pretty much any surface and the ink dries so fast. I need to credit my teacher Jane Davenport for introducing this Epic Pen to me during classes – I don’t think I’ve ever regretted buying something on her recommendation and this pen is no different. In fact I have a few – one for my desk, one for my travel sketch pouch, another as a back up and yet another just because 🙂

I recently found that you can also get them in a slightly wider nib, giving a more robust line and I think I will enjoy playing with it as well.

The Carbon Platinium pen can be a little hard to source but you will find it in the Jane Davenport store here, Jane calls it the Epic Pen as it really is EPIC! Don’t forget to check out her online classes while you are there as she has lots to inspire you.

Pentel Rollerball – I think of this one as the 4WD of my black pens. It will write on any surface, regardless of how shiny, bumpy, scratchy it is and never give up. If you now of the Scarlet Lime pen from Christy Tomlinson then this is the same one, Christy found out they were being discontinued so bought the whole stock off Pentel and got the barrels branded.

This is another one that can be hard to find so when you do – buy a box full!

Posca – my go-to pen for beginners. Filled with quick drying, acrylic paint Posca pens come in a wide range of colours and nib widths. They have an affordable price point and easy availability, you will find them everywhere from the local stationary shop to fine art store. I like that they give a solid line but hate that I have to shake them so often (before each use and during use).

Pitt Artist Pen – these high quality pens from Faber-Castell are full of India ink so they dry fast and are totally permanent & lightfast. There is a range of nib widths and also have an option with a brush tip. Being a Faber-Castell product they also come in a range of colours with the same type of ink and the colours co-ordinate with the rest of their product range. It makes it so easy to create something using pens, pastels, pencils that will all play nicely colour-wise.

Uni-ball Micro Deluxe – This is an old favourite and one that I have been using for many years for my paid work in quality assurance, I was so pleased when I discovered it was also perfect for mixed media. Manufactured by Mitsubshi Pencil Co in Japan, it carries the wonderful Japanese quality and usability.

I love how it feels in my hand and that the ink seems to last forever. I’ve never had one gum up, despite carrying them with me on interstate & international flights and on camping trips in horrid weather.

I’d love to hear about your favourites – why not leave me a comment with your top five?