What is the best Ballpoint pen for drawing? | TIP 145

Arpithooda asked me on Instagram:

What is your favorite black ballpoint pen?

I thought you guys may ask yourself the same question about it. So let me share with you our discussion. Besides that, I would be curious to know which one is yours? Tell us in the comments. 🙂

Best ball point pen - papermate flair feltCapture d’écran 2015-09-08 à 3.43.14 pm

Capture d’écran 2015-08-13 à 11.46.05 amMy answer to Arpithooda:
Hard to say, sometimes ballpoint pen you get for free (from the hotel, advertising goods…) give sometimes better results than the branded ones. But as soon as the pen has no more ink, it’s often impossible to get any more.

I recommend the Papermate ballpoint pen. I used to buy them in bulk when I was a student so I could keep one in my bag, one in my pocket, on in my jacket, one in another bag… everywhere!

Today I would recommend retractable tip. They are easier to carry, and you won’t lose the cap when you draw outside.

It’s better to find one you like and stick to it.

It’s better to master one well than keeping changing looking for the best. So I guess the perfect ballpoint pen is the one you practice with the most. Basically, a good ballpoint pen has a good variation of pen pressure and doesn’t make too many stains.

James Mylne Ball point pen artworks

James Mylne amazing realistic artworks he does drawing portraits with a ballpoint pen.

Clean your ballpoint pen tip often.

After drawing for a while, the temperature of the tip rise because of the friction on paper. So the ink starts to melt and make stains (Especially when it is accidentally in contact with your palm !!).

Alternate two pens for a long drawing session

If you plan to draw for long, consider alternate using 2 pens instead of one. When you feel the first pen gets warm and will make stains, interchange it with the second one.

Paper mate inkjoy 500 rt
Paper Mate Ink Joy 500 RT 0.5 XF – Retractable tip.

And you, what’s your favorite pen?
Let me know in the comments 🙂

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About The Author


Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at choutac@thedesignsketchbook.com : )


  • ashutosh

    Reply Reply September 15, 2015

    I use bic crystal 1.6mm (thick), bic rounc stick (for medium) schneider-505F (for fine)

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply September 18, 2015

      1.6mm wow. I never seen that before. Interesting. Thanks !

  • Chetan Yadav

    Reply Reply September 8, 2015

    I use Reynolds-045 (for thicker) and Schneider-505F (for fine work)

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply September 18, 2015

      Always great to mix both thickness. Thanks 🙂

  • Renata

    Reply Reply September 8, 2015

    Hi Chou-Tac
    What do you mean with retractable tip?
    What are stains? Des taches?
    Thanks for your explanation about the ink, I had often this problem, I thought that it was because too old pen…
    Now I draw with a pilot 0.5 and I like a lot! ;-))

    • Chou-Tac

      Reply Reply September 18, 2015

      Oh, je pensais t avoir deja repondu deja. Ou c’etait par email.
      Retractable cest les stylos sans bouchon, avec des mines qui se cachent dans le corps du stylo. Ca evite de faire des taches au fond de la poche (Stains).
      Sinon oui des stylos plus vieux bavent plus que les jeunot. Mais les jeunot finissent par baver si ils sont utiliser trop longtemps. C’est comme une voiture, c’est bien de le laisser refroidir un peu.

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