What I Used for Inktober 2016: Prismacolor Premier 0.005 Fine Line Pen vs Dollar Store Gel Pen

River sketch - Inked with the Prismacolor Premier 0.005 fine line pen

Welcome back to my Inktober supplies review series!  Last week, we started with the blue sketch pencils by Caran d’Ache and finished up with a sneak peek (?) of the inking for today’s post.  Here’s the picture inked with today’s product, the Prismacolor Premier 0.005 Fine Line pen:

River sketch - Inked with the Prismacolor Premier 0.005 fine line pen
Inking traditionally is always a little nerve-wracking for me, so I’m pleased it turned out this well!

Here’s a close-up of the pen:

Prismacolor Premier Fine Line

But. . . I made a mistake.  The whole point of this series was to review the items I used last Inktober, right?  Well, last October I didn’t have a Prismacolor 0.005 pen.  I mostly used a dollar store gel pen instead.  This pen, in fact:

Dollar Store Gel Pen. Photo by River.


Well, as the picture is already inked, I thought hey!  We can do something fun, and compare / contrast the Prismacolor pen with the dollar store pen!  \(^u^)/

I put both pens through their paces with fine lines, wavy lines, cross-hatching, stippling, and smear tests:

Prismacolor Premier 0.005 pen vs Dollar Store gel pen test page
The light was changing. Sorry for the shadow lines! Hopefully it’s still legible. 🙂

From the first, we can see that both pens are designed for fine lines.  They would work best for outlining, detail work, and anyplace you want a consistent line.  Neither would work well for varying line weight or shading with flat, smooth colors; that’s out of  their job description.  It would be interesting to shade a black-and-white drawing using crosshatching or stippling, though!

Like in this picture! Shaded only with the gel pen.

Differences: The Prismacolor Premier 0.005 pen has a thinner and more consistent line.  The dollar store gel pen is closer to 0.007 or 0.009 in width, I think. Also, the gel pen has a tendency to “skip” and blot at times, leading to less consistent lines and a lot of frustration.  (How did I make it through Inktober with a skippy gel pen, you asked?  With patience and going over lines as many times as necessary. . . . orz)

The last test I made was the smear test.  As I like to color my traditional artworks, it’s important to have ink that won’t smear when colored or painted.  After letting the inked lines dry for a few minutes, I tested both with a water-based Tombow marker and an alcohol-based Promarker.  Let’s have a close-up on the smear test:

The Prismacolor Premier pen is clearly the superior with this test.  Since it was designed to be used with the Prismacolor markers, the ink is colorfast and doesn’t smear at all with either the water-based or the alcohol-based pigment.

The dollar store gel pen, on the other hand, does smear slightly when colored over.  It isn’t as obvious in the photo as it is in person; hopefully the close-up gives you a good look at the smearing.  The thicker the line, the more likely it will run and muddy up the colors.  That may not bother you, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

Have you seen some of the Cheap Art Supplies Challenge videos on Youtube?  They prove that cheap art supplies don’t equal lousy art, and likewise, expensive art supplies don’t make stellar art.  I’m often amazed by these videos, and they helped me resolve to not be taken in by cool marketing and buy the most expensive supplies just because.  However, the smear test drove home an important point to me: While expensive art supplies do not make the artist, having the right supplies makes the job easier.  And at ~$5 USD for the Prismacolor Premier pen, I consider it a worthy investment. . . at least compared to the dollar store gel pen. 😛  I’d still like to try some other fine line pens, but for now I’m satisfied with this one.

That about wraps up my thoughts on these two pens!  If you have any more questions, let me know!  Next Tuesday we move onto coloring and shading.  See you then ~ !


A Little Announcement: What I Used for Inktober Review Series Starts Tonight

Starting tomorrow, I’m pleased to begin a series of reviewing art supplies!

We’ll start with the supplies I picked up last year for Inktober.  As I started NaNoWriMo right after Inktober ended, this series is a little late in the game, but hopefully my review will be useful no matter what time of year it is. :3

As last October was the first year I challenged Inktober, I had only a few inking supplies: a few calligraphy pens, a set of Prismacolor pens, some gel pens from the dollar store, and a box of Crayola markers left over from my school days.   While technically that was more than enough to do the challenge, I saw an opportunity to go shopping and I took it. :3  I was able to try out a few supplies I’ve had my eye on for a while, so I’m glad for that!

These are what I bought last September:

  • Caran d’Ache Non-Photo Blue Pencils (like animators use!)
  • Tombow Dual-Brush Pens in Grayscale
  • Sakura Gelly Roll Pen in White

Added to my Prismacolor markers and colored pencils, I had a lot of options for the challenge.  :3  Since then, I’ve picked up a set of Lestrat AquaMarkers and ProMarkers and a set of Staedtler colored pencils, so I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with those as well.  I’m pleased that I’ll be able to share them with you!

Since I have supplies that cover the whole drawing process from sketch to final touches, I thought it’d be interesting to use all the supplies to draw and paint a picture (or two!).  Here’s a sneak peek of what I’m working on, starting with the blue animator pencil:

Sketch for the review series – comic!River!

Reviews will start later tonight with the blue animator pencil and will be published every Tuesday for the next few weeks!  (Posts on Friday / any other day will continue to be “what I’m working on” and process posts. 🙂 )  I hope you enjoy!  And if there’s any art supply I’ve used before and you’d like it reviewed, let me know and I’ll add it to the pile. :3