Since I was young, I’ve always LOVED pens and markers. Some see this as probably a strange obsession, hoarding, or unnecessary, but especially the Bullet Journal community knows that your pen is your tool. Finding favorite pens
was is like a never ending and joyful hunt. Over time and through decades (whoa that’s weird) of trial and error, I knew a few things:
- I do NOT like ballpoint. Too much friction for how quickly I tend to write, and doesn’t lend itself well to sketching. I’ll often have to press hard to get the vibrancy I want, which means a lot of etched pages on the back. This is too bad, since they’re the most affordable (and most often end up everywhere in my office or purse, HOW?? they are the bobby pins of the office supply world)
- I do enjoy felt tip pens like the Papermate Flair since they are vibrant, don’t “ghost” (show) on the back, and can sketch/letter easily. They are pretty thick though so it doesn’t always work in my planner.
- Unlike many planner folks, I haven’t yet jumped on the fountain pen OR Coleto train. (but now that I’ve seen the fun color refills… I’m not sure I won’t someday)
- I’m ambivalent about fineliners like Staedtler. But I do use Stabilo fineliners to draw because their colors are unreal and super vibrant.
That leaves me with gel rollerballs. As long as the ink doesn’t skip, this is my pen of choice. It’s usually very smooth, the ink is vibrant, and I don’t need a lot of pressure. The one downside is that gel tends to ghost on your typical paper, and on the back of a lot of my planner pages. It’s definitely not ideal, so I’m looking for my next notebook that features thicker paper than my current May Designs books.
My current favorite pen? Over the summer I splurged on a box of Bic Triumph pens – you’ve seen it in almost every photo of my planner on my Instagram feed. It’s a 0.5mm which I enjoy.
If you’re getting started with finding the “right” pen for you, here are some thoughts:
- Find a store that allows you to buy single pens – Michael’s, University bookstores, PaperSource, Paper-Ya just to name a few – so you can just try one before committing to a whole pack.
- At these stores, test the pen out on your actual planner to see how it will show up – does it bleed? Does it ghost on the back? Does it etch the paper?
- Some common favorites include: Pilot G2 gel roller, Inkjoys, Le Pens (pricier), Staedtler, 7 Year Pen (I still don’t get it), Flairs.
- Once you get a feel for what you like or you want to try some fun ones, JetPens.com is a dangerous place to see what the pen world has to offer. Be careful.
Of course, I’m a pen-junkie so I JUST finally ordered a whole pack of Pilot Juice pens which are now the finest pens I own. They are a 0.38mm compared to my usual 0.5mm AND come in delicious colors. Here’s my writing test below:
What do you think? Which pens do you swear by?