My Favorite Mixed Media Essentials: 3. Markers & Pens

I wouldn’t necessarily say that Pens and Markers come at third place- but I would say that this is what I get the most questions about “What kind of marker/pen do you use on your projects with x? And so I will talk about my favorite ones now :)

If you missed the other posts in this series – you can catch up here 

I would say these are my top seven- always go to pens and markers.

What I always keep in mind when I use pens and markers is:

  • There is a right pen or marker for every surface
  • Make sure your paint media- all media on your surface is completely dry before you start writing on it…otherwise you ruin your pen.
  • Avoid the “fat” areas – meaning those areas – that you treated with oily and waxy paint media when you use felt markers or acrylic markers in general.
  • Be careful when you use an oil based marker or pen over water-soluble surfaces. Oftentimes the medium underneath reacts and the oil based marker bleeds into it. If that is what you want…you are good to go ;)

Which pens and markers I use:

This pen is awesome – that is why I have it…well…kidding aside – LOL. This permanent marker can be used on all kinds of surfaces including glass and acrylic and CD’s. I write with it on paper, as long as it is smooth paper, otherwise it tends to bleed. I use it because I love how it writes. When I write something on a transparency– I use it- it is the best on transparencies. I use it on smooth acrylic surfaces – it works like a charm. Not so good to use on textured surfaces- you ruin your pen…and believe me…hehehehe- I tried ;)  It comes with different tip sizes and it has an eraser in the back for the slick surfaces.

This is an ink pencil and when you write with it or make marks, they are pretty prominent as the pencil itself is highly pigmented and firm. You can also use water on it and then wash the pigments out. Once it is dried…it is permanent! YES…you heard right. As I lack the impressive Julie-Fei-Fan-Balzer-handpainted-brush-title-ing – I use this pencil to highly fake this ;) I write with the pencil in a what I think artsyfartsy way my title and then use water and a small brush and just go over it so it looks more like a brush painted title. Of course…as the description has given it away already, you should not use wet media on top of it without intention…you will activate and smear your writing otherwise.

A classic white gel pen. I love how fluidly the ink comes out. It is for me the best white pen I have tried. It covers black perfectly – which means it covers all colors and it is amazing with most surfaces – unless it is the super scratchy one. Gets ruined very quick if you use it on “fat” surfaces or not “dry” surfaces. I used to be able to find refills at my local office supply store which was actually making this a bargain and made me happy for eco-friendly reasons. I need to check out where I can find them now.

This is a soft  water soluble graphite stick and I love this for sketching or mostly making marks into painted dried and wet surfaces. Well- if the surface is wet you make texture and need to clean the tip of the stick right away with a dry towel. It is paper wrapped and you can take the wrapper off as you use it.

These are my secret weapons…LOL. You could say…the Dumbledores under the Markers ;) . The Posca water based paint marker has in the size of 0.9-1.3 mm a bullet shape tip and I tend to love this as I find myself writing easily with this. I love how the paint comes flowing out and I can use it – as well as the Molotow marker on tricky surfaces…well set aside super waxy or oily surfaces of course. On acrylic paint it looks shiny – I love it! I am not a fan though of the white Posca Marker – it doesn’t cover the way I would like it.

The Molotow Marker is a bit pricier, but it can be also refilled and I would say it can be used on even trickier surfaces than the Posca Marker…you can write on the most uneven stoney surfaces with it, without ruining the tip right away and you can use it for outdoor projects too. Ahem..if you think of Molotow Graffiti Spray Paints you might get why this marker is so good with struggling surfaces ;) . The white Molotow Marker is better than the white Posca Marker.

Both markers are awesome as you can use them also on fabric and wood and they do not bleed. The colors are intense and highly pigmented, they don’t fade too quick….I love love love them. I have markers of both companies for YEARS and they are still good to go and not dried out.  If you ever want to make me happy with a present… DEAR FAMILY ….just give me a package of one of those :)

This marker is fun- I don’t have it that long but it makes me smile and I love to use it on large-scale projects to write my own title or for bigger marks. It has this very wide angled tip which makes it easy to use it for calligraphy like writing in a graffiti style ;) And hey…who can resist a marker that says: “waterproof on almost every material. recap after use and be on the run!” and is manufactured by a company called ON THE RUN.


I hope you liked this post- let me know what you think. Next up is ….mmh surprise ;)

huge hugs


Comments (9)

  • Graciela Oyarzu


    I love Posca! I don’t know if I could get Molotov in my country (Argentina). The white one. Thank you so much for all the information. Its very useful for me.


  • kim t


    I’m always struggling with what to use as I am so new at this, very helpful and informative! Thanks for this post!


  • scrappegal


    LOVE this post!!! Have writyten down my favourites! :D


  • marjiekemper


    Thanks for this… very helpful to have so many pens reviewed in one place.


  • M. Carmen - Cuchy


    Helpful and very interesting. That huge calligraffity ..mmmmmmm


  • Louise


    This is cool thank you so very much for sharen this :)


  • Deborah Pierro


    Hi Nat–Thanks for all of the very helpful information on the pens and marking items you like. You gave very thorough explanations of how they work, like the great art teacher you are. Writing and marking tools are very important to mixed media artists. I really like the Sharpie markers and use them a lot.


  • Sue Clarke


    My Signo white pen is my friend. Julie got me hooked on those years ago!
    Never heard of the Posca or Molotow but will have to give a look for them around here. Of course, Amazon does deliver to NH.


  • mjmarmo


    Great info!


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