We typically focus on colored pencils here at www.bestcoloredpencils.com, but there is another large category of art supplies that are growing, particularly in regards to adult coloring books: colored pens! So what are the best colored pens? Similar to colored pencils, there are many factors that one should consider when looking for a set of colored pens and hopefully our colored pen reviews will help shed some light on this subject and give you the information you need to make your next purchase. But before we get into it, we have listed our top choices in the table right below for those who want to get to the picks and skip over the reading. For the rest of you, hop below and let’s learn about colored pens!
“Super huge set, smooth writing!” – By Ronilyn Rice (Missouri)
I bought these gel pens for my 7 year old granddaughter who lives far from me. They were a hit! She loves them! She gets her homework and chores done quickly so she can use her pens!!
“Great gift!” – By Margarita Escalante (PICO RIVERA, CA, US)
These pens have a particularly low viscosity which means that application is very smooth and precise, which can sometimes be a challenge for lower quality ballpoint pens. The set, while a bit lacking in color, still gives enough variety to complement an adult coloring book page or fill in areas of another work. The tip is sized at 1mm so it is large enough for noticeable sweeps but still small enough for detailed areas. And like many ballpoint pens, they come in being extremely affordable.
ProductPen TypeInk MaterialPrice (Amazon)Set SizePilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens FountainWater-based$$$$7Paper Mate InkJoy 100ST Ballpoint Pens BallpointWater-based$$8Staedtler Triplus Color Pen Set Fiber TipWater-based$$$36Artist’s Choice 100 Gel Pens with Case GelGel$100What is a Colored Pen?
The ballpoint pen is a pen that contains a small metal ball at its point which can dispense ink around it. Just about everybody has used a ballpoint pen before, especially since it is the most popular type of pen in the world! Interestingly, it also has a large following in the art scene, with many artists swearing by it due to its versatility. This makes it a nice candidate for a coloring book or really for any artistic endeavor you are after. Similar to the fountain pen, color depth can be varied via application pressure (by pushing down harder it can compress the ball, allowing for more ink to flow by, although to a lesser extent). The larger application size also makes it much better for covering large areas. On the opposite end, gentle passes can also result in a stippling which can be good for creating color depth. However, it can be easy to produce blobs of ink that can smear or become too intense, especially in lower-quality examples.
Our simple definition of a colored pen for art is a pen that produces acceptable ranges of color and can be easily applied while providing adequate control. That’s it! Simple enough. For a more thorough explanation and definition, there are plenty of sources out there. You will find a huge range of variables that exist from one pen to the next, and each one will have its own pros and cons and personal preferences. Some pens will be better-suited for protraits while others are better off being used for calligraphy. We will break down some of the most common types below.
Great assortment of colors & excellent quality! Ink flows nicely on all pens (except pastels) & they’re very comfortable to hold. I’m new to using gel pens for coloring & am really enjoying them. Only reason I didn’t give 5 stars is I had a hard time figuring out which colors were which.
Would be nice if they were labeled at least on the packaging. Also kinda disappointed in the pastels, ink doesn’t flow as well & they look too similar to the neons. I would love to see a set of just classic colors too!
Gel ink is the newest type of ink being discussed. Gel ink is used almost exclusively in gel pens and is not intended to be used in any type of writing or coloring utensil not specifically designed for gel. The gel consists of pigments that are suspended in a water-based fluid. This results in an extremely thick compound that is noticeably denser than the other inks being discussed. The technical term for this is “high viscosity”, which means that it is more resistant to movement. It also allows for a much higher proportion of pigments and other additives. The result of this is an extremely thick and vibrant range of colors. In some cases, it might even be too thick and occasionally bleed through paper or overpower areas that you wish to keep the color subtle.
This one might require taking a bit of a blow to your self-esteem, but if you are inherently clumsy then you might want to consider going with a colored pen that utilizes ink that dries much quicker. Any of your non-water-based pens will dry relatively quickly which reduces the likelihood of smearing.
One of the major weak points of fountain pens is their lack of color choices so this 7-piece color assortment should add a bit of variety. They also incorporate a more advanced liquid ink system which helps to ensure a smooth application. Other helpful features include a color-coordinated cap as well as see-through walls so you can see how much ink is left. The application is pretty straightforward and you can enjoy the unique feel of a fountain pen without having to dish out the typically extremely high asking price for them.
Great Set of Gel Pens!!! I love the colors this set brings they are all super vibrant. They also have a consistent texture and tone while coloring with. Some of the neons are so bright they almost lost like they glow.
If you use this for coloring or for scrapbooking or just for writing in your journal it will definitely be a wonderful set of gel pens to have.
I have just started using adult coloring books and I’m surprised at how much I am enjoying my new hobby. These colored pencils are easy to hold, non toxic and water soluble. With these pencils you will feel that they color smoothly and you don’t have to push down on them hard, like some colored pencils I have used before.
Another thing I like to do with these colored pencils is blend the colors, and that way, it looks like you get a lot more choices of colors.One thing this let’s me do is while using these pencils on a project, I can add to the look of the project, because I can also use gel pens,chalk markers, regular markers.
Because of that, it’s going to make my page, look and feel more original. More of a representation of me.There is such a variety of bright and beautiful … full review
Oil-based ink is likely the most common type of ink for coloring with, as it has a huge variety of pigments that are used. This allows for plenty of color choices which are quite important in colored pens since blending and mixing of colors is very difficult if not impossible. Oil-based ink is noticeably thicker than water-based ink and is not acceptable for certain type of colored pens that are particularly narrow passages. They are primarily used in standard ballpoint pens. You will notice that oil-based inks can be extremely deep and thick in color, but are also more prone to bubbling. They also will dry much faster which reduces the likelihood of smearing.
Ambielly Gel Pens ,60 Colored Pens Coloring Books Colorful Pencil Set Art Drawing Color Pen Set Writing (60 Gel Pen)
I’ve been coloring for years, long before they came out with the “adult coloring books it has always been a great stress reliever for me. I was content with the old school kids coloring books and crayons but lucky for me they came out with these cool “adult coloring books” and Gel Pens to color with!I have been loving filling up the pages of my new coloring books with lots of vibrant colors thanks to these Gel Pens! There is a really great color selection with these pens and not just colors but also choices of Neon, Glitter or Pastel colors so there is a variety to choose from.
I also like that these come in a case and they are very secure in the case, perfect for travel.The ONLY downside is that when I use the pastel colors they run out and I have to … full review
Best Fountain PenPilot Varsity Disposable Fountain Pens, 7-Pack Pouch, Assorted Color Inks
This book comes nicely wrapped in a plastic wrapper to protect the cover and pages from getting dirty or bent during storage and shipping. Upon opening it the first thing that I noticed was that the title of the book is actually what you see in the photo which I thought was funny.
I assumed that was just the “ad” picture, but it’s not. Not that it matters but I was surprised.The pages are square and you can color them in the book or use a blade or scissors to cut them out (great for framing after you color them!).
Since I am a lefty the fold in the spine of the book often interferes with my coloring/writing/drawing so I prefer to cut them out of the book.The book is full of a GREAT variety of designs. Some are themed, christmas, .
.. full review
“Nice quality paper stock with bold and beautiful designs!” – By Girlieeee (Warminster, PA)
GL-Sail(TM) 36 Pack Diamante Tipped Gel Pens with Case, for Adult Coloring Books and Drawing (Glitter,Neon,Pastel)
AmazaPens Gel Pens 60 Value Pack, 40% More Ink than Other Sets, Top Quality Coloring Pens for Adult Coloring Books, 47 Unique Colors, Best Gift – Includes Glitter, Neon, Pastel, Flouro & Metallic
Caliart 100 Gel Pens Coloring Pens Set for Adult Coloring Books Scrapbooking Drawing Writing Including Glitter Metallic Pastel Neon Swirl Glitter-Neon Classic Pens
48 Colored Pencils for Drawing Sketching Adult Coloring Book Watercolor Bonus Sharpener and Brush Best Art Color Pens with Bonus Coloring Books Premium Anti-Stress Great Christmas Gift
Arts, Crafts & Sewing > Painting, Drawing & Art Supplies > Drawing > Drawing Media > Pens Office Products > Office & School Supplies > Writing & Correction Supplies > Pens & Refills > Rollerball Pens > Gel Ink Rollerball Pens
60 Gel Pen Set, Colors – Metallic, Glitter, Neon, Pastel, Basic, Office Stationery Back to School Art Supplies, Coloring Pens Children Toys, Adult Coloring Book Pens Packs Drawing, Sketching, Gel Pens
I LOVE these pens! One yellow came leaking a little bUT the end cap was loose. Over all though these are a great buy! I use them for adult coloring books while I recover from foot surgery. So far none have bled through the pages but that is probably more the paper quality than the pens.
“I have been loving filling up the pages of my new coloring books with lots of vibrant colors thanks to these Gel Pens!” – By CANDIDA KASTEL
Now that we have gone over the most popular types of colored pens, let’s discuss what you put in them: the ink! There are a few different types of ink that are used and each has its own very unique characteristics.
Latest 60 Gel Pen Set for Adult Coloring. 60 Unique Top Quality Gel Ink Pens from CulaLuva for Adult Coloring, Doodling & Drawing
Colored pens are unique from colored pencils in that some of them have a dynamic writing head. In other words, the head can physically change shape depending on applying pressure and angle. This can result in thicker strokes, thinner strokes, and everything in between. This is similar to a standard paint brush and really makes colored pens stand out from colored pencils, colored pastels, or any other artistic medium with a static or “fixed” head. Being able to manipulate the shape and size of the stroke can add a nice range to what is possible, but it can also be a bit challenging for a beginner.
Koulora – 36 Gel Pens including 12 Glitter, 10 Metallic and a Variety of Neon and Pastel & Classic Colors – includes a Brown Gel Pen!
Ordered Sunday night and got them Tue morning, with Free Super Saver Shipping..About the product:- Metallic set – my fave of all. Very smooth to write and doesn’t skip, works on either white and black paper.
– Glitter set gives 3D effect, not as smooth as Metallic set but i like that it doesn’t skip either.- Swirl set – watery, skips a lot but they look very colorful in white paper and i love those that changes color while you write.
.- Neon – watery, skips a lot and I was disappointed with white, it was really bad. I was even excited about it because I use white a lot, so I’m going to stick with Uniball for this.Overall, I would recommend this product.
You can’t beat the price. You get a lot for your money and quality is good. I added pictures so … full review
Since coloring pens inherently don’t blend well, it is important to have a pen for each color that you want or need. Some types of pens will have much wider ranges of color selections while others will be quite limited. Specifically, your oil and gel-based pens will have a much larger collection of colors to choose from than your water-based pens.
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Yup I DO love them. Over the past few years I have bought endless gel sets..there did not used to be such big sets so it is nice to see so many colors at one time. These roll very nicely and I really like using them even having arthritic hands.
Contemplating buying another after the holidays just to have n hand. Not sure how long they will last but just a suggestion for those pens that seem to clog or suddenly not work….tap the sides against something.
..not hard but just enough to perk up the ink inside. Have already recommendedThe attached coloring is almost all from this set with a few of the larger areas being the Pilot Sharpie set Amazon also sells.
Lol I only wish I was offered this set for free for an honest opinion!! Note in … full review
Do you plan on using your pens for highly-detailed works such as landscapes or portraits? Or are you simply looking for something that can be suitable for adult coloring books where simply filling in spaces is all that is necessary? If you want more freedom in regards to both control and color intensity then we would recommend trying a ballpoint pen or fiber tip pen. If you are simply looking for impressive, deep color output then try going with a gel pen or rollerball pen.
A fountain pen is one of the oldest types of pens and is considered a nib pen which contains an internal reservoir of liquid ink. The ink is drawn out via gravity and capillary action. These are very interesting pens in that they communicate very well with the user, allowing for great fluctuations in application thickness through the flexible nib. You have likely seen beautiful cursive handwriting performed through the use of a fountain pen. A majority of their usage in art pieces will be in creating beautiful outlines that can have a varying thickness in a single pass but some people still find a use for them in coloring books or in particular areas on other pieces of work.
The bang for the buck with this product is just great. You get an enormous range of colors to choose from so you should be able to find a color that works for just about any piece that you have. The application is smooth enough, although you might feel that some of the higher-end brands produce a bit thicker and more pronounced color. That being said, the output is still plenty vibrant considering these are gel-based and for the price, we simply can’t complain.
We really like the nice variety of colors with this set, particularly considering that they are water-based. The tips are very fine (.3mm) which makes them great for high-detailed areas but you will want to use something with a larger stroke for filling in bigger spaces. They also stand out from many water-based compounds in that the smearing is kept to a minimum so you don’t have to stress as much over accidentally brushing your arm against wet paint. The price point is also more than reasonable for what you are getting.
I purchased these Gel Pens for a coloring book I also purchased. I originally was using crayons (which I hated). I then was using colored pencils, but having to sharpen them all the time was a pain. When I was looking at coloring books, several people mentioned gel pens in their review.
I never thought about using these. So after research these had a very high rating. So very glad I purchased this brand. I just wish they had a larger pack with a more extensive color assortment.PROS:They color great, dry quickly, don’t bleed through the paper, the ink flows very nicely.
CONS:The colors are so close to each other. Example I needed a light blue. Their light blue is not too much liter than the dark blue. I needed like a sky blue or something close to that shade. It is the same way .
.. full review
Best Gel Ink PenArtist’s Choice 100 Gel Pens with Case Extra Large Set
“Love them, very smooth rolling” – By L. Rocksvold (Winlock, Wa)
Best Adult Coloring Book (Double Size) – 140 Pages with 68 Designs – Amazing Designs & Stress Relieving Patterns including Mandalas, Geometric Shapes, an Animal – Perfect for Coloring & Sketching
Now that we have introduced the different types of colored pens and colored pen inks, let’s discuss what to look for in a colored pen you are considering purchasing. It is important to figure out what your specific needs are before purchasing a colored pen set. The characteristics of colored pens range much more than colored pencils, so if you don’t perform your due diligence you might end up with a set that is not at all suited for your planned intention.
STAEDTLER triplus fineliner, 0.3mm metal-clad tip, ergonomic triangular barrel, for writing, drawing and coloring, set of 36 fineliners, 334C36JBLU
“but other than that it is cute and will work nicely for one of my favorite artists” – By Sarah Pender
Gel Pens by AmazaPens – 24 Pack Colorful Pens – 40% More Ink – Glitter, Neon & Pastel. Superior Quality Colored Pen. Best Gift for Adult Coloring Books or a Child Who Loves to Draw, Write or Color.
A rollerball pen might seem very similar to a ballpoint pen, and you would be correct in assuming so. The primary difference is in the ink that is used (which we will discuss in greater detail below). Rollerball pens are also much newer than the other pens discussed up to this point, having only been around since the 60s. For those that enjoy coloring with ball-based pens, you will get varying opinions on which are better between ballpoint and rollerball. We encourage you to try out both on your coloring books and see which you prefer. Some key differences are that rollerball pens tend to be easier to produce color and also typically have a much larger color range but they can be more prone to bleeding and smudging.
I will let you know the reaction when my niece opens it for Christmas, but other than that it is cute and will work nicely for one of my favorite artists.
“Less clogging than other gel pens I’ve used” – By IAMM3Z (United States)
Amazing Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books by Amerigo – Set of 48 Assorted Colors Includes Glitter, Metallic, Pastel, Neon Gel Pens (Black included) – Express Yourself + GRIP for Your COMFORT!
Surprisingly, quite a few people have never tried a colored pen for coloring purposes or for adult coloring books. Sure, just about everyone has used a pen for writing but how often do you think to try them out for coloring? And many people who have tried using them for coloring have used the standard pens that they also use for writing! The definition of a colored pen is quite wide, and there is a lot more flexibility that exists in what can make a viable colored pen.
Water-based inks are primarily used in fountain pens, rollerball pens, or any writing instrument with extremely narrow passages. This is because the pigments that are common in many non-water-based inks can potentially cause clogging issues. Water-based inks are known for being particularly smooth and fluid due to their less viscous nature which makes for a very unique and often times enjoyable writing experience and coloring experience. Due to not being able to use most pigments, the color choices are a bit lacking and you won’t see some of the deep color tones that other types of ink can provide. This might make it tough to use by itself on a coloring book page, especially if there are a lot of areas to fill. In addition, they take longer to dry which makes them more prone to smearing.
Below are some of our top choices for colored pens. To make things simple, we chose the best choice for each type of pen we have discussed. That isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of other good options but these should serve you well if you want to give them a try. However, as always, we encourage you to experiment and try new products because different sets will work better for different people!
AmazaPen’s gel ink pens impressed me. They aren’t immune to the problem most gel pens have. The ink will occasionally clog. That being said I experienced clogging far less often than expected. For the most part the gel ink runs out very smoothly.
The glitter pens will occasional disperse more glitter than ink so you have to color over it again. If you don’t the color looks mostly silver and metallic instead of the selected color.One thing that I noticed that I didn’t like was the color variations.
The lids would lead you to believe their is going to be a wide shade variation between each blue, purple, green, etc. There unfortunately are several colors that are very close to the same color. Some of the neon and pastels are barely distinguishable from each other.
The yellows, greens, and pinks are the ones with the most similarity. I … full review
Gel ink pens are the “new kids on the block”, having only been around since the 80s. From a design standpoint, they are very similar to rollerball and ballpoint pens, with the primary difference coming from the ink material. And in some cases, a gel ink pen IS a rollerball pen as some rollerball pens can handle gel as their ink. The gel that is used produces extremely vivid and deep colors and the application can be quite smooth. However, you don’t enjoy the flexibility and control that you see in fiber tip and fountain pens. And while the color choices are quite vast these pens can dry out rather quickly (which might be a good or a bad thing depending on use) and can have a relatively short lifespan.
Terrific set of 48 gel pens. You get 12 of four different types of gel pens. The first set of twelve is Metallics neuritis bold metallic colors. The second set is of twelve awesome neon colors, bring on the eighties.
The third set is twelve rocking glitter colors. And the final forth set is twelve pastel so pretty. The poems are all very smooth writing. Perfect for adults or kids alike. Item was purchased at a discount for honest review.
Fiber tip pens have grown into what many people call markers, and colored markers deserve an entire article dedicated to them as well. Because of this, we will just focus on fiber tip pens. A fiber tip pen is a pen that contains strands of porous, pressed fiber such as felt that protrude from the tip and that has an internal ink source that will stick to and run up the fiber. Being flexible fiber and not a hard material like in ballpoint and roller ball pens, there is a ton of freedom on how much color is laid down, and this is governed by a combination of applied pressure as well as angle. It also allows for a ton of color flow to be possible (whether or not you want it!). Because of this, it has a bit of a learning curve before you’ll be able to jump in and use it for art.