Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello! Today I have a pen review for the WHITE pens that Artistcellar sells. I think every artist I know uses white pens to journal and draw over dark backgrounds. And we're all looking for the one perfect pen. There might not be a pen that does it all, but I have some that are pretty darn good for what they do.

Let's start out with the ball tip pens. We sell two kinds, the Uniball Signo and the Sakura Gelly Roll. They are both excellent pens.

The Signo has a nice bold white line and is very opaque. It flows very smoothly. Great for doodling and writing, as well as accenting drawings and paintings (like putting those highlights in eyes!)

The gelly roll also produces a nice bright white line and flows smoothly, although the line width is just s smidge smaller than the signo so it doesn't appear as bright white. But here is the difference:

Even though I have read reviews that the Signo is waterproof, my tests showed differently. I found the gelly roll pen tended to be more smearproof when brushed with water. The Signo... not so much. Smear city. It was even worse on the acrylic surface. They BOTH smeared with water, but to be fair I only waited a few minutes to try it.


I would say that both of these pens would be best used as a very top layer of a drawing or painting. And caution used when sealing or spraying it. Let it dry thoroughly and spray lightly.

Next up are the markers. We have two sizes of Sharpie oil-based markers and Sharpie water-based markers (called Poster Paint markers). The oil-based markers practically disappeared in uncoated porous paper. Not much to get a picture of. The water-based marker looked great.

Once dry neither one smeared at all.  On a non-porous surface, The oil-based was a little lighter than the water-based, which was very opaque white. They wrote smoothly, and from experience I know they write over most surfaces (although the white ink will pick up any water soluble medium you write on top of.) Both were permanent when brushed with water.

 The last pen I have is the Pitt Artist Pen in white. Also called the Stampers Big White pen.

You can actually use this pen to color in stamps and viola! Stamp with it.

The first stamp impression I did was on a dirty stamp (who cleans their stamps anyway? I don't trust 'em!) The Mustache and the last design were done on a clean stamp, the impression was much better. 

So... this pen/marker rocks! It has a felt bullet tip, acid free, india ink, and totally waterproof on both porous surfaces and acrylic paint surface once dry. (And you don't have to shake it and pump it to work) It WILL pick up water soluble medium, but that's the medium's fault, not the marker :-) You can see below it picked up some tint from the ink that was already on the dirty stamp.

I've decided that I don't use this pen enough! I need to put it in rotation with my other white pens and get more use out of it.

Well that was fun. Let me know if you have any questions about the test or want me to test anything else. Have a great weekend! 


I had a great question about the last blog post - which of these pens are waterproof? So I ended up doing a little test and wanted to share the results. I wanted to test a couple of surfaces, first a regular porous paper surface, Bristol finish cardstock. I wrote Dry and Wet with each pen and let them sit for about 20 minutes to make sure that they were properly dry. (I think any pen would smear if you immediately brush a liquid over it right after writing.) I then took a water brush and gave a generous application of water over the word "WET."

I was pretty pleased with the results. The Pitt Pen did the best, with the Pocket Brush pen coming in a close second. You can barely tell they were brushed with water. The Fude Ball pen did pretty good on this paper as well. The Pentel Stylo was not waterproof as you can see by the smudging. The Hybrid Technica didn't fair as badly, but still was a little smudgy.

The other surface I tried was over a base of acrylic paint. I wanted to test a non-porous surface that we use so often in our art journals.

Again, I let it dry about 20 minutes to make sure it set. I think I got the same results, although the ones that smeared, smeared a lot worse. Which makes sense, with the surface being non-porous. Best option is the Pitt Pen again, with the Pocket Brush coming in right after it. The Fude  Ball pen was a little big smudgy, while the Stylo and the Hybrid Technica probably wouldn't be an option for mixed media/over paint work. Unless it's a final coat and won't be sealed with varnish or mediums.

So based on the pens that Artistcellar sells, my first choices for waterproof-ness would be the Pitt Pens and the Pocket Brush Pens, depending on what and how you want to write. The Fude Ball Pen is good for a bold black line on top of anything, as long as you're not going to brush a liquid over it. I would stick with the Stylo and Hybrid Technica pens for journaling and ink sketches and drawing, on dry media.

I want to leave you with an art journal page I recently made using the Pocket Brush pen. I started out with a felt tip marker, but the point was gunking up because it's over a Gelato background. I pulled out the Pocket Brush Pen and after a small learning curve (tip pressure and angle) was able to letter this beautifully and quickly! Enjoy!



Hi. My name is Lisa and I'm addicted to pens. Now admit it. You are too! We could start a 12 step program but what's the point, really?

I love the pen reviews Kelly Kilmer does on her blog, so I decided to do a pen review of all the pens that Artistcellar carries. We added a bunch recently! We've always sold the Pitt Artist Pens in the 4-pack, so I didn't review those. It's a basic staple for any type of artist. I always carry that pen pack around with me, along with a mechanical pencil and a little clear 6" ruler tucked in the pack. You never know when the urge to doodle will hit! 

I'll start out with my favorite new doodling pen set, the Hybrid Technica 4 pack by Pentel. They are smooth writing ball point pens. I have never been in love with ball-points, I'm super picky about how they write. But these are... divine!

 They come in 4 pen widths, 06, 05, 04, and 03. You can tell which ones I've been using the most!

This is what the line widths look like:

For regular journal handwriting, I prefer the 05. The 03 is a very fine line, perfect for detail work on tangles and doodles. I love that I have a choice in widths.

If you need a bigger, bolder pen width, look to the Fude Ball Pen. Check out that monster tip!

This pen has a big, bold stroke and also writes quite smoooothly. The tip size is 1.5, compared to biggest Hybrid Technica, which is 06. Mixed media artists love these because the ink is rich black and writes over layers of paint and ink. Make sure it's dry before you paint anything wet over it and it will prove to be permanent.

If you need a super bold, super versatile and super fun pen to use, here it is! It's the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. It comes with two ink cartridges to start with. (Soon we will have just the refill cartridges available.)

The tip is a soft flexible brush (a real brush, not a felt tip one) and it comes with ink cartridges you just snap on. No messes, no dipping in ink, just cap and go. Depending on the pressure you put on the tip, you can get different line widths. Manga artists love these! And think of the calligraphy you can create with this one!

A few 30-second doodles to show you the different line widths you can get out of one tip.

This probably isn't a pen you would use to write in a journal, but it's great to keep around for those quick face sketches and fancy lettering. It's just fun to use!

Another pen I discovered that is really fun to use is the Pentel Stylo. It has a really cool fountain pen-like nib. It's great for inky sketching and handwriting/journaling. It makes you feel a little fancy writing with it. You might want a cup of tea and biscuits while journaling with this pen.

The line width is variable depending on how you hold/angle the pen. The horizontal lines in the sample above show the different pen widths I got, just from holding the pen at different angles/pressures. This pen makes me want to write letters on stationary instead of emails!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my pen review. I am working on a review of our WHITE pens next, and then maybe our pencils? Let me know if you want to know anything about a specific product, or if you have any questions about a product.

Have a great weekend!





Back in June of 2010 Lisa and I purchased Artistcellar. Our first site was designed in a rush in the two weeks immediately after purchase to get the store re-branded and launched as quickly as we could. It was quirky and clunky, but it provided the initial bones for our store:

In 2011, Artistcellar 2.0 took shape as we expanded into art journaling, mixed media and textile arts supplies. This saw the adoption of the "Artistcellar Blue" background into our branding, as well as hundreds of new products added to the store. In 2012 the site saw an update to accommodate the addition of our own Artistcellar line of distinctive stencils. As Artistcellar continued to grow, other than adding products our site stayed pretty much the same. It was clunky and creaky, but it kept humming along.

During this time we listened to you. We heard your requests for larger stencils, different products and your complaints about the checkout experience. Ugh, the checkout experience! We were never happy with that at all.

So after more than a year of researching and hard work, we're proud to unveil Artistcellar 3.0! Here's some handy dandy new features:

  • Updated design. Our the site matches our muse's vision.
  • A "search" feature to help you find what you're looking for.
  • Simple addition of products to cart without leaving the product screen.
  • A much quicker, easier checkout experience with much less waiting.
  • The ability to create an account for easy ordering.
  • Bigger, better, more awesome product samples.
  • eGift Cards so you can share the love and goodies.
  • The ability to run all kinds sales, so you can get your goodies on sale!
  • The ability to run all kinds of discounts, so repeat customers can get sweet discounts!

But some things have not changed. We still hand select and fall in love with all of the products we sell. We still offer distinctive stencils sure to inspire your muse. We still offer free shipping on qualifying domestic orders over $50. We still offer customer service second to none.

And we still believe that art is not optional. You have to create. We'll lend a hand.


Shhhh!  You're getting to see our new site before anyone else.

Consider this a sneak peak preview just for you because you're special!

Our official re-launch of Artistcellar will be this Saturday, April 18th!

« Previous 1 42 43 44