In my previous post I mentioned the Meerkatsu review of fineliners and said that my experience was similar. However, on a few major points my experience has been rather the opposite.
Sakura Micron 01
Approx price $5.50
This is the pen recommended by official Zentanglers. I started making Zentangles with an Artline Drawing System pen as that’s what was available at my local newsagent, but I was keen to try the fabled Sakura Micron. At first I was a bit disappointed and preferred the Artline.
The Micron has a very hard nib with which I found myself drawing a groove in the page, and when filling in areas the ink sometimes came through the back of the page, which my Artline never did. But then I went from working one Zentangle with the Staedtler and then back to the Micron on the next one and my opinion of the Micron increased dramatically. I found the ink to be really nice and black, and while the tip is quite hard the ink does flow steadily, so I just need to use less pressure than I might with other pens to avoid creating grooves in the page. I don’t mind the feel of the pen in my hand and the lid snaps nicely onto the back of the pen, so it’s quite convenient.
Now my only complaint about the Micron (apart from the silly numbering system, which I agree with Meerkatsu about) is that it is fairly easily erased. If I run an eraser over my drawing to get rid of any pencil marks it fades some of the Micron’s markings. I haven’t had this issue with any of the other pens I’ve used.
Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.2
Approx price $6.95
This is my newest pen. In the shop I loved it, which is why I bought two — one for me and one for a friend. When I started using it at home though I was not as impressed. I think the difference is partly due to the paper that I used to test it in the store vs. the paper I actually draw with (in a sketch book usually). Perhaps the sketch paper absorbs the ink a lot more because this pen is not black. It is distinctly lighter than any of my other black pens. It also has a much softer nib, which sometimes I love and sometimes not: it is a very smooth drawing experience, but makes a thicker line than other o.2mm pens. I also like the feel of the brushed plastic. I didn’t experience any splodging like Meerkatsu did (perhaps a difference in paper/material again).
I think the softness of the pen is a matter of taste, but the lightness of the ink pretty much kills my enjoyment of this pen.
UniPin Fine Line 0.2
Approx price $3.95
I have mixed feelings about this pen. For one I think the ink may not last as long as the other pens, or is less flowing, I’m not sure which. Either way, I haven’t owned the pen terribly long and it is noticeably less smooth than my other pens and creates inconsistent lines particularly when lightly touched to paper. Sometimes this is actually good for shading, but other times it’s just unreliable. The tip is fairly hard, but not quite as hard as the Micron I think.
Artline Drawing System 0.2
Approx price $6.95
This was the first pen that I bought for drawing and it was a good buy! The tip is a bit softer than the Micron and UniPin, but it’s also much shorter so the lines are still quite uniform, unlike the Staedtler. The colour is fairly comparable to the Sakura and UniPin as well, they are all fairly dark black. The body of the pen is slightly rubbery, like non-slip plastic, with a ridged grip, which is quite comfortable. My only complaint about this pen is that the cap doesn’t fit on the back of the pen (or gets knocked off the short end way too easily), so I’m forever losing the cap to my pen if I’m not vigilant in keeping an eye on it.
This is one of the more expensive pens around here, but is also widely available and reliable, so worth the price.