There is a wide world of pens available out there! The right pen or marker for the job depends on the material you are trying to draw on.
Manufacturers have their own means of categorization and often odd seemingly non-standard naming conventions too.
In general the important variance in pen types is their ink and the size/type of the nib (tip of the pen).
Inks: oil vs acrylic vs alcohol based vs water based vs mystery.
For general purpose use on plastic, glass, & metal cups, oil & acrylic pens are the best option. Water based ink tends to bead up and wipe off easily of these materials. Alcohol is hit or miss in terms of how permanent it will be. Sharpies are considered alcohol based & they do work well but they must be sealed before use or else they wear/smear from fingers & water quickly. Felt tip & hard plastic grooved nibs are a good choice on these materials.
When drawing on paper, any ink sticks but the challenge is choosing inks that don’t bleed. Fountain pens & roller ball tip with water based ink is a great choice here.
Another pen consideration is stroke width. That is, not exactly the tip diameter but the width of the line produced when using the pen. Sometimes holding the pen at a slight angle can narrow the width. In any case, always try to find the smallest tips you can
Interestingly, we have successfully found that you can swap the tips from different kinds of pens! For example, oil based markers are by far the most durable but the tips are always thicker than we prefer. So we like to borrow tips from acrylic markers to get the best performance.
The maximum pen body diameter that fits in the CylinDraw mount is 18.5mm. (There is no minimum size pen.)
- My favorite go-to general use marker: Zebra extra fine double ended marker (However they only offer 12 colors).
- My second favorite general use marker: Shuttle art fine point
- A great set of acrylic paint pens.
- A great set of oil based paint pens.
Recommended Reading: Jet Pens Blog about pens, inks, & papers