White Drawing Tools

July 20, 2013

At the art store today I picked up three drawing tools I wanted to preview, all of which make rather opaque white marks on the drawing surface. On the Left is Dixon’s “Phano” brand of oil based (aka “grease” or “China”) pencil. In the center is Faber-Castell’s “PITT” brand India Ink marker pen. On the right is Pentel’s “Sunburst” gel ink pen. The Phano is the only one I’ve used before, but it was time for a new one, so I got two, and was anxious to test out the others. None of these have any noticeable odor.


I’ve been a fan of the Dixon “Phano” for some time. It works very well for highlights on almost any surface. Being oil-based, it’s waterproof, so water media will just skip across it. The tip can be sharpened to a fine point, or cut to a chisel shape about 5mm wide. It picks up a textured surface very well, as on this rough colored paper. It’s also rather cheap for a box of 12, around $8-9 USD. Different colors are available, including black. The black draws extremely dark.

My good friend, Don Colley, tipped me off to the white PITT marker that just came out recently. It’s made with “India ink,” meaning it’s shellac-based, and dries quickly to a semi-opaque layer. This “bullet” tip is hard and round, but there are also standard marker tips and brush tips available. The brush tips may lay down ink more opaquely. As with all PITT markers, the ink is waterproof, lightfast, and acid-free.

This Pentel “Sunburst” pen has a .8mm tip, and draws very smoothly. The ink feels like it’s being painted on with hard steel, but flows nicely when using a light touch. As you apply more ink, it can cause the paper to disintegrate, so it’s best for fine line drawing. If you want to get a very opaque area I’d recommend the PITT brush instead, which works well in combination with this pen. It also holds refill cartridges which screw into the bottom. The label says the ink is “waterproof, fade-proof and acid-free.”


Each of these drawing tools work very well together. I also used Prismacolor “Premier” layout markers with these that covers over them nicely, and allows you to tone the white area, and then go back over it again with another layer of the white, if you wish. Again, I would recommend the PITT brush tips for the most opaque layers. If you paint this PITT white over other PITT inks, they will mix together somewhat, or you could switch to watercolor or acrylic inks underneath.



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