Need help finding the perfect ballpoint pen for drawing?
Check out our expert tips! I show you how to pick a pen that suits your unique needs.

5 Tips to Find your Best Ballpoint Pen for Drawing!

5 Expert Tips on How to Find the Perfect Ballpoint Pen for Drawing

  1. Draw something real
  2. A good pen doesn’t blob
  3. Look for a wide sensitivity of the pen pressure
  4. Get a retractable pen
  5. Consider a cheap ballpoint pen.

This morning,
I arrived 1 hour early at the Consulate of France.
I walked around to kill time and I found a pen shop!

Let’s test some pens.

I’m looking for one with good comfort
that will bring higher results in drawings for your sketchbook!

chou-tac drawing with ballpoint pen

5 good practices to choose the best ballpoint pen for you.

There are so many ballpoint pens out there. I could recommend some of my favorites for industrial design sketching, however, a good choice of pen depends also if you have a “heavy wrist”.

Heavy wrist: A tendency to draw too dark.

Ballpoint pen shop
Ballpoint pen, gel pen, felt pens, color markers, permanent markers, pencils, mechanical pencils… so many to choose from. Make this place your drawing playground!

TIP 1| Draw something real

The draft paper at the art shops for people to test pens never has any drawings inside. We often see a few hatching and little writings of random words. I believe artists and designers don’t test the pens the right way.

Red pencil sharpener
Red pencil sharpener
  • Choose a ballpoint pen and draw something.
  • Use it in real conditions: draw perspective lines, curves, shadows, line weight, light reflection…
  • If you wonder what to draw, simply look around you.
    I choose this cute red pencil sharpener to draw.
Drawing of the pencil sharpener
Drawing of the pencil sharpener

TIP 2| The best pen doesn’t blob

  • Many ballpoint pens start to blob after drawing with it for a while.
  • Choose one that doesn’t blob after many strokes.
  • If it blobs early, avoid it or you will keep cleaning your nib all the time.
    Plus getting stains on your drawing and hand palm.
The inking is sharp. It was a pleasure to draw with.
The inking is sharp. It was a pleasure to draw with.
However, its ability to bold is weak.
(That is maybe a good choice for whom sketch with a heavy wrist)

TIP 3| Look for a wide pressure sensitivity

  • Find a ballpoint pen that offers a wide range of contrast from very light to dark.
  • When we draw with a ballpoint pen in design sketching, we do not aim to erase. Starting a sketch light is important.
  • Test your pen with plenty of construction lines for example.
Pressure sensitivity is essential in design sketching

TIP 4| Get a retractable nib

  • How many pen caps have you ever lost?
  • How many clothes, bags, pencil cases… have you stained by a pen with a missing cap?
  • How many times has your pen rolled and dropped on the floor?
  • To avoid all these inconveniences, I recommend a retractable pen.
  • It is optional, but it is great to sketch on the go!
    (Example: Urban sketching or doodle note-taking)
3 Ballpoint Pen for Drawing
Make sure the nib doesn’t get back in without your willingness.
(I bought a “Pentel Wow” that keeps doing it every 2 to 5 minutes.
It is quite irritating. I didn’t expect that from a branded pen.)

TIP 5| Consider a cheap ballpoint pen

This non-branded ballpoint pen cost 5000VND (Vietnamese dong) = USD$0.22 only. Ballpoint pen technology is now a commodity:

  • You can find great pens for cheap
    (but also expensive ones with lower quality or defaults.)
  • Don’t judge a pen by its price or look.
    But by your own test and experience.
  • The simple design of pens is often the best.
ballpoint pen in shop
5000VND (Vietnamese dong) = USD$0.22

Extra shopping time!

I couldn’t resist to adopt a few more pens and pencils.

A flashy pink graphite pencil STAEDTLER 2B was calling me.
So I tested it drawing Doraemon as I did for the pencil sharpener. 🙂

Doreamon drawing with pencil
Drawing the blue cat with no ear.

black pencil with black eraser
I felt this black pencil and eraser are so cool together!
black pencil lead
The lead is thicker and allows more variety of thickness.

collection of art tools in a plastic bag
It cost me in total 58500VND = USD$2.5
My new pen companions and I go back home.

Next time you go to a pen shop, draw something, and feel free to send me your drawings by email at :).

1 comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *