Wednesday 8 September 2021

Whiter than white


Something a little bit different today for this mid week post. I am always on the lookout for a good white pen. I tend to find the ones that flow freely are not very opaque and the ones that are really white clog up quickly.

In the summer I found myself in the marvellous Jarrold's art shop in Norwich, where a casual enquiry about white pens, coupled with a very helpful assistant resulted in this...

Well they were crying out for a side by side test. I also added in my trusty Posca.

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist £2.95 (water-based India ink)

Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip 8mm £2.40 (pigment gel)

Pilot G2 Gel Retractable Rollerball £2.98 (pigment gel)

Pentel Paint Marker Super Fine £3.50 (paint)

Pebeo 4Artist Oil Marker £3.35 (oil-based paint)

Uni Posca PC-1M £2.60 (water-based pigment)

Chinagraph £1.60 (pigment and wax)

1. glossy card

2. matt black card

3. alcohol ink on yupo

4. Cosmic Shimmer pixie powder on matt white card

5. acrylic paint on white card

6. Ranger Distress Oxide ink on matt white card

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist (water-based India ink) performed well on the black matt card and the acrylic paint, only semi-opaque, quite thick nib, wrote smoothly.

Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip 8mm (pigment gel) performed well on all substrates, took longer to try on non-porous surfaces with the risk of smudging, fine nib and flowed very smoothly.

Pilot G2 Gel Retractable Rollerball (pigment gel) not very opaque on any of the substrates and virtually disappeared into the alcohol ink, fine nib, wrote smoothly.

Pentel Paint Marker Super Fine (paint) performed best on non-porous substrate and virtually disappeared on the distress ink and pixie powder, thick nib, too thick for small writing, flowed fairly smoothly.

Pebeo 4Artist Oil Marker (oil-based paint) performed best on non-porous substrate and virtually disappeared on the distress ink and pixie powder, thick nib, flowed fairly smoothly.

Uni Posca PC-1M (water-based pigment)performed well on all surfaces except the pixie powder which bled through the paint, the most opaque of all the pens, thick nib even at 7mm but fine for lettering, flowed smoothly.

Chinagraph (pigment and wax) most visible on matt black, did not want to 'grip' on the very smooth surfaces, best used for creating a wax resist where you don't really want it to be visible later.

The real surprise was the Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip 8mm, which I very nearly didn't pick up because it felt light and cheap. For fine detail this has become my preferred pen, although I don't think I will be giving up my trusty Posca paint pens any time soon.

I hope you have found this useful. Of course I'm not giving up the search for the perfect white pen. I'd love to hear your recommendations.

Thank you for stopping by xx


  1. I went through this a few years back and came to the conclusion it would be Posca all the way. I needed to use a white pen the other day and found the Posca was still good!!!

    1. I agree definitely the best but no harm in still looking! ;-)

  2. Oh my! how many white pens have I played with, cursed at and thrown in the bin with disappointment! The Posca does look like the best here. Thanks for showing us your test piece, very useful xxx

  3. Really useful for the rest of us Claire! I tried to find the best and had settled on the Uniball Signo. It was opaque enough, existed in 2 widths, BUT I had 3 pens and all 3 dried up quickly. I have had both Pentel and Pilot and one of those did not dry... unfortunately I can't remember which!! Posca will be on my list next time I shop for white pens.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it. xx