Unleash Your Inner Artist: A Guide to Choosing the Best Ink Drawing Pen Set

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Inking drawing and calligraphy are making a comeback. What was once seen as an antiquated art form is now a trendy and therapeutic hobby for creatives of all ages. The soothing scratch of nib on thick paper, the meditative focus on forming elegant letters and shapes – it’s no wonder people are picking up pens again.

But getting started can be intimidating for beginners. With so many tips, techniques and tools out there, how do you choose the right ink drawing pen set? How do you know which pens will give you the most control and the gorgeous ink effects you want?

This guide will walk you through everything you need to consider when picking your first set of drawing pens. You’ll learn the key features that separate amateur tools from professional quality, the top-rated pen sets on the market today, and tips from experts on how to care for your new pens.

Equipped with the right ink drawing tools, you can lose yourself in hours of satisfying sketching, lining, cross-hatching and lettering. A world of beauty is waiting at the nib of your pen – so let’s get started!

What to Look for in Ink Drawing Pens

While personal preference will play a role, there are a few key factors to consider when evaluating any ink drawing pen set:

Nib Size Variety

The nib is the tip of the pen that touches paper. Nibs come in a range of widths – generally small, medium and broad. Some pen sets also include extra fine (XF) and very fine (VF) sizes for delicate details.

For beginners, a set with small, medium and broad nib options is ideal. The small nibs allow you to make thin lines and details. Medium nibs are versatile for both writing and drawing. Broad nibs create bolder lines.

As you gain experience, you may want more nib sizes for different effects. But start with the basics.

Ink Flow

Some pens have reservoirs that allow more ink to flow through the nib. The result is bolder, wetter lines. Other pens have tightly controlled ink channels for finer lines.

For bold lettering and drawing, get a pen set with at least one broad nib option that provides ample ink flow. For technical drawing and precision, drier pens are best. again, a mix is ideal.

comfortable Grip

How the pen feels in your hand matters. Many nibs have molded grips made of rubber or plastic that conform to your fingers. Others use simple metal or wooden grips.

If you’ll be drawing for long periods, comfort is key. Test pens in person at an art store if you can to find the grip style that feels best.

Weight Balance

Do you like a heavier, substantial pen or something more nimble and light? Weight balance comes down to personal preference.

Metal pens with brass barrels tend to be heavier, while plastic-bodied pens are lighter. Neither is better – go with what inspires you to create!


Make sure your drawing pens are made of quality materials like stainless steel nibs, brass barrels, and high-impact plastics or resins. Look for sets with lifetime guarantees or warranties.

With proper care and maintenance, a durable pen set can last years. Pay a little more upfront for longevity.

Gift Box Sets

Many premium pen sets come packaged in an attractive case or slipcover. This makes them perfect gifts for artists and calligraphers.

While not essential, a nice case adds value and provides safe storage when not in use. Leather cases also develop a nice patina over time.

Now that you know what to evaluate, let’s look at five of the top-rated ink drawing pen sets on the market today.

Reviews of the Best Ink Drawing Pen Sets

1. Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

If you ask experienced ink artists what their favorite pen set is, many will say Sakura Pigma Microns. These Japanese drawing pens are known for their versatile nibs, archival ink, and sleek design.

The set includes:

  • 6 black ink pens (sizes 005, 01, 02, 03, 05, 08)
  • Sturdy plastic barrel and nib
  • Pigment ink (waterproof and fade resistant)
  • Distinctive silver barrel color


  • Nibs have a “gripper” tip shape for control
  • Comfortable hexagonal grip
  • Impressive fine lines to bold lines
  • Reliable ink flow even at small nib sizes
  • Affordable price for the quality


  • Tips wear down over time
  • Smudging issues on some papers
  • Only available in black ink

Ideal For: Graphics, comics, technical drawing, precision work

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Microns are easy to recommend for everything from everyday sketching to professional manga and graphic art. They’re also a great introductory set for beginners who want to try a variety of nib sizes.

2. Tombow Dual Brush Pens

For stylish modern calligraphy and lettering, it’s hard to beat the versatility of Tombow Dual Brush Pens. With both fine tip and brush nib options in each pen, you can create countless effects.

The set includes:

  • 10 dual-tip pens in assorted colors
  • Nylon brush tip
  • Fine felt tip
  • Replaceable ink cartridges
  • Plastic pen body


  • Unique combination of brush and fine tips
  • Excellent for blending, coloring, detailing
  • Smooth ink flow from both tips
  • Many vivid and pastel colors to mix and match
  • Affordable introductory set


  • Tips wear down eventually with heavy use
  • Limited pen sizes – no small nibs for details
  • Can feel lightweight rather than substantial

Ideal For: Calligraphy, hand lettering, brush pen techniques

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

For artistic, lively lettering styles, the Tombow Dual Brush set offers all the tools to create gorgeous designs right out of the box. The color palette will inspire your creativity too.

3. Staedtler Calligraphy Set

With classic lines and premium materials, this German brand’s calligraphy set makes a sophisticated introduction to ink drawing. The triangular shape provides a comfortable, ergonomic grip.

The set includes:

  • Set of 3 black calligraphy pens – 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 5mm nibs
  • Thick acrylic ink – creates attractive shading
  • Triangular aluminum body and grip
  • Clean, minimalist design


  • Very comfortable grip shape
  • Impressive ink flow and bold lines
  • Easy to add pressure for line variation
  • Metal cap protects nibs
  • Excellent quality from a heritage brand


  • Only three nib sizes included
  • No case included, pens sold individually
  • Takes practice to control thick acrylic ink

Ideal for: Traditional Western calligraphy styles

Rating: 4/5 stars

For all levels of calligraphers, these pens offer beauty, comfort, and the ability to create elegant works of art. The acrylic ink adds an intriguing, glossy effect.

4. Arteza Fine Art Ink Pens

Ideal for beginners, Arteza’s affordable set offers a complete introduction to essential ink drawing techniques. Smooth steel nibs provide excellent control.

The set includes:

  • Set of 60 ink pens in 20 nib sizes (0.05mm to 2.0mm)
  • Also includes 3 classic dip pens
  • Metal pen barrel with triangle grip
  • Includes travel case


  • Outstanding value for money
  • Huge variety of nib sizes
  • Great quality given the low price
  • Neat, organized case
  • Easy to replace nibs and ink cartridges


  • Grip could be more comfortable for some
  • Not quite as durable as pricier models
  • Dip pens take practice to master

Ideal for: Beginners, practice and experimentation with different nib sizes

Rating: 4/5 stars

For new and student artists who want to become familiar with an entire range of pens and techniques, this Arteza set is a perfect affordable pick. You get to try everything without breaking the bank.

5. Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Set

Trusted by professionals worldwide, Winsor & Newton delivers exceptional traditional calligraphy pens. The polished wood case makes it a classy lifetime keepsake.

The set includes:

  • Set of 3 calligraphy pens with steel nibs (1.5mm, 2.5mm, 3.5mm)
  • One chrome ink penholder
  • 5 complimentary ink cartridges
  • Fine craft wood case


  • Signature Winsor & Newton quality
  • Gorgeous rosewood case looks impressive
  • Traditional and professional style
  • Permanent black ink won’t fade
  • Balanced and comfortable in hand


  • Expensive as an introductory set
  • Only three nib sizes
  • Not ideal for experimentation

Ideal for: Serious calligraphers and artists seeking premium tools

Rating: 5/5 stars

For experienced calligraphers ready to invest in life-long tools, Winsor & Newton delivers world-class pens and a keeper case you’ll treasure.

Choosing the Right Set for You

With so many excellent pens to choose from, think carefully about these factors as you select your set:

Skill level – Beginners should start with affordable, versatile pen sets from trusted brands. As you progress, upgrade to more sizes and premium pens.

Purpose – Technical drawing and manga require different pens than calligraphy and lettering do. Choose pens suited for your specific art needs.

Paper surface – The right ink and nibs will glide smoothly across paper. Test pens on the surfaces you’ll actually use.

Budget – Don’t overspend as a beginner. Well-priced starter sets will allow you to practice and improve before investing in pricier professional pens.

Sizes – At minimum, choose pens with small, medium and large nibs to achieve different ink effects. Go with more variety for maximum creative flexibility.

Ink colors – Most starter sets offer black only, which is fine. Add colored sets later for more impact.

Portability – If you want to draw on the go, get a set in a compact case. Larger pen barrels are better suited for studio work.

By carefully considering these factors, you’re sure to select a great ink drawing pen set matched to your creative goals and current skills.

Caring for Your Pens

To keep your new pens working smoothly for as long as possible:

  • Clean nibs regularly with water and gently wipe dry with a soft cloth. Never immerse the whole pen body in water though!
  • Store pens horizontally in a pen case or storage box. Storing them upright can cause ink to pool and nibs to dry out.
  • Don’t press too hard when drawing or writing. Let the pen glide across the page. Using too much pressure can damage nibs.
  • Replace nibs and ink cartridges as needed. Many pen sets make this easy with interchangeable parts.

Follow these tips and practice good technique. You’ll be rewarded with pens that function like new for years of creative joy!

Ink Drawing FAQs

Still feeling unsure about getting started with ink drawing pens? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What’s the difference between drawing pens and calligraphy pens?

Drawing pens have flexible nibs suitable for sketching, lining, cross-hatching, stippling, and other artistic techniques. Calligraphy pens have stiff nibs that create bold lines for lettering. Many quality pens can be used for both though!

Should I use waterproof or non-waterproof ink?

This depends on your personal preference and subject matter. Waterproof ink won’t smear if used with watercolor washes. Non-waterproof ink allows more blending and shading techniques. Try both and see what inspires you!

What paper textures work best?

Smooth Bristol, mixed media and watercolor papers take ink nicely. More textured papers like heavy watercolor cold press can cause nibs to catch.

How do I prevent ink smears?

Use quick drying ink, pause frequently to allow ink to dry between strokes, and avoid brushing over areas you’ve inked. Some bleeding is unavoidable though – embrace it as part of the art!

Can I use ink pens for coloring and shading?

Absolutely! Hatching, cross-hatching and stippling create beautiful shaded effects. Or use brush tip pens to color larger areas. Add watercolors for more artistic possibilities.

Should I buy full sets or individual pens?

It’s smart start with a well-rounded starter set to discover which nib sizes you use most. Then supplement with singles of your favorites.

What makes a good gift with a pen set?

Consider a notebook, quality drawing paper, calligraphy book, inks, nibs, colored pencils, brush pens, storage cases – anything to complement their new hobby!

Are ink pens safe for kids?

Supervise young children closely, but properly used ink pens are safe and educational for developing artists and writers. Guide them on proper technique.

How long do quality pens last?

With proper care, individual pens can last a year or more. Over time you may need to replace worn nibs and ink cartridges, but quality pens should last for many years.

Are there left-handed sets available?

Many standard pen sets work well for lefties, but you can also find specialty left-handed nibs. Obique pen holders work for either hand.

Go Forth and Create Beautiful Works!

You’re now equipped with all the knowledge you need to choose amazing ink drawing pens to unleash your creativity. Start practicing those letters, doodles and drawings. Let the meditative motion of pen on paper transport you.

Be patient with yourself as you learn. Make it a ritual habit to sit down with pen and paper. Don’t worry about perfection. And realize that your unique creative vision is all that matters.

The right pen set helps, but the art is inside you. With practice and devotion, you can create absolutely beautiful letters, designs, artwork and so much more.

Now pick up those pens and make your mark on the world!

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