Sometime after you learned how to print and draw with a pencil, you likely moved on to using a pen. And chances are, you used the world's most popular type of pen, the ballpoint.

Ballpoint pens with journal
There are several features of a ballpoint pen that distinguish it from other writing instruments. Most of these pens use a viscous (slow flowing) oil-based ink, which includes dye suspended in alcohol. This is quick drying and waterproof, which means it's less likely to smudge or bleed through paper than many water-based inks.


Ballpoint pens work well on a variety of surfaces, including many slippery or coated papers. They are available as both disposable and more environmentally-friendly refillable models. They're easier to control than other pen types, delivering ink exactly where you want it. Its versatility makes it an excellent choice as a portable pen to keep in your bag or pocket.
Some new models use hybrid ink, which has low viscosity and make writing a smoother experience than typical ballpoint pens. Our Anterique Brass Ballpoint Pen, made in Japan, uses this quality of ink, which is well-loved by its users. [A bit of trivia: Anterique derived its name from combining the word antique with technique, which gives you a clue about the company's mission.]
Marker pens
These pens have tips made of porous material - ceramic or felt (hence 'felt tip'). Each pen has a container and a core of absorbent material which wicks the ink along it to the tip. Today, the ink is usually alcohol-based. However, prior to the early 1990s, inks used toluene and xylene. Not only were they unhealthy, they smelled pretty bad, which some of you may recall.


The variety of colour options for felt tip marker pens include metallic colours, such as our Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic pens. These marker pens look especially brilliant against black paper. Felt tip pens are a fantastic choice for bullet journal enthusiasts or anyone who enjoys adding some colour and line variation to their lettering, writing, doodles and sketches. They can also be used like pencil crayons in artwork.


Vivid and pastel colours and brush-like effects are also available in felt pens. Our Dingbats Atopens, made in Japan, use water-based, archival quality ink and are dual-ended. One end is fine-tipped for those perfectionists who enjoy a precise line and a brush end, which is a great way to express your creativity and personalize hand-lettering.
Featured Products

This week we are featuring some of our favourite ballpoint and marker pens. Which one is your favourite?

  • Dingbats* Ātopen 6-Pack Dual Tip Fineliner/Brush Pens - Available in Primary or Pastel - Atopen is a versatile marker pen with two different tips. You can use them to write, draw, for all kinds of arts projects, and for calligraphy. These archival quality marker pens are made with water-based, fade proof, waterproof, and lightfast ink. Xylene-free and odourless, too!
  • Stabilo Pen 68 Metallic - Wallet of 6 -STABILO Pen 68 is a colour-intensive premium fibre-tip pen for strong lines and large areas. The metallic effects are particularly vibrant on black backgrounds. Accidental blots or annoying pumping? Not with this pen!
  • Anterique Brass Ballpoint Pen 0.5 - Luxury solid brass shavings for optimum weight and balance. Equipped with an ultra-low viscosity oil-based "Mach Ball Ink" for an impressive smooth writing experience.
Rolling 'write' along (sorry, couldn't resist), next week we'll fill you in on a pen that some consider a great hybrid between the ballpoint and the fountain pen: the rollerball!
June 08, 2021 — Antoinette D'Angelo

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