- Arts and Design
Best Art Journaling Pens, Pencils, and Markers
The best pens for adding writing to your art journal - no drying or skipping!
Art journaling - the melding of mixed media collage art with traditional journal-keeping - inherently calls for an arsenal of writing tools. There are two major considerations when choosing pens or markers for writing in your art journal.
First, you'll want a nice variety of colors and styles to express the moods and emotions you are trying to capture in your journal. Consider the difference between writing fine line cursive light blue paint marker or scrawling big block letters in bright red. There is also something to be said for having more or less control over your letters - sometimes smudging or blurring creates the right mood, but you'll also want more control other times.
Secondly, you want something that will hold up to writing on many types of paper as well as over acrylic paints and many other media. This is surprisingly difficult to find - very often you will find that your pen is formulated only for certain uses, usually just plain paper. Many will bond with acrylic paints, even after the paint is dry, and over time ruin your pen tip. Others just tend to skip be finicky to work with.
Creating a mood with you pens and markers
As in the example mentioned above, you see how these two pages create a very different feeling even though they are the same words. The one on the right was created using a fine-point Sharpie water-based poster paint pen in fluorescent blue. The one on the left is written with a . As you can probably see in the photo, it has already smudged a bit, creating a messier more uncontrolled look, which can be very beneficial depending on the mood you are trying to create. Crimson Red Prismacolor colored pencil
For more ideas on how to use fonts and stylistic choices to influence the mood of your page, I highly recommend the book Journal Revolution. There are lots of great suggestions on this subject and other art journaling concepts.
Check out pages 28 and 29 in Amazon's LOOK INSIDE feature to get a taste of the authors' info on art journaling font choices.
Sharpie Water-Based Extra Fine Paint Markers
Marvy Uchida Decocolor Fine Point Paint Markers
Some pages call for a freer, more organic look that can smudge and smear either for artistic effect to obscure your writing for the sake of privacy. A regular #2 pencil will work great for this, and is readily available, but if you want a broader range a basic set of artists pencils will give you tons of room to play. You can use the graphite or charcoal pencils to get bolder or finer lines, darker or lighter, smudgier or more protected lines.
For a similar effect in color, I like a soft lead pencil such as Prismacolors. I used to avoid them because the point was constantly breaking, but I discovered that an electric pencil sharpener makes a huge difference. Just using a cheap battery-powered one seems to really improve the life of my sharpened points. Also, the Scholar series is specially designed to protect against breakage - though they lack the Premier's silky-smooth writing experience.
And if I need a bolder line, I also like to use crayons. This can be tricky because pasting or writing over the waxy surface of crayon marks can be difficult, but the advantage is that painting over crayon can produce some gorgeous resist effects. My favorite crayons, Gel FX by Crayola (not to be confused with Metallic FX), are discontinued and very hard to find. They were specially designed for writing on black paper, as you would with a gel pen, so they write very smoothly and have a more opaque look that other crayons. If you ever see these at a discount store or on offer at eBay grab them! Otherwise, regular Crayolas make excellent ammunition for your art journaling arsenal.