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What’s blue and black and red all over? Pens! But they don’t have to be. No need to limit yourself to stock ballpoint pen or Sharpie colors—liven up your planners, architectural drawings, illustrations, journals, and calendars with splashy color, thanks to colored fine-tipped pens! Artists, illustrators, educators, fashion designers, architects, and doodlers alike can choose from an array of gel and felt-tip colored pen sets. Our roundup below will help you find the right set for all your needs.
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1. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
Staedtler’s pens are juicy, glide freely on the page, and are comfortable to hold. The ink is vibrant and doesn’t feather, meaning you get a crisp and even line with every stroke. This set comes with 20 colors in a wonderful range of hues, including violet, pink, brown, and several greens and blues, none of which are too similar to each other. The water-based ink dries fast to prevent smearing, and the 0.3mm metal nib is ideal for fine detail work. We like that the pens come in a durable case with a lid that folds back so you can prop it upright for easy access as you write or draw.
2. Arteza Inkonic Fineliners
Want the rainbow at your fingertips? Try these fine-point pens in 70 colors including a good range of skin tones, grays, and pastels, all neatly packed in a durable, three-tier tin. The water-soluble ink is acid-free, odor-free, and nontoxic; it’s also fast-drying and smudge-proof so your lines stay clean on the page. The 0.4mm tip is clad in metal to ensure precision detailing and an ultrathin line. The pen’s triangular shaft is designed for a comfortable grip to let you work for hours at a time without fatigue—and it won’t roll off tables either. Something to watch for: The colors on the caps don’t always match the ink, and the pastel pens write darker than advertised.
3. iBayam Fineliner Pens
The iBayam Fineliner produces a smooth, smear-proof mark that works equally well in intricate architectural drawings and the pages of a well-loved planner. The water-based ink causes minimal bleed-through and comes in 24 complementary colors that are vivid but not too bright. You also get similar shades rather than starkly different tones, making this a great set for artists trying to achieve subtle color changes. The 0.38mm marker tip facilitates a precise and bold fine line, perfect for anything from detailed renderings to color-coded class notes. These super-fine pens are also durable: The nib doesn’t dry out even after extensive use, and the metal-clad body is sturdy and provides a nice weight. A plastic carrying case with a fold-over snap closure makes toting this versatile set easy
4. Tanmit 240 Refillable Gel Pen Set
If you’re searching for pens that will truly dazzle, look no further than the Tanmit refillable gel pen set, which offers a headspinning 240 nontoxic and acid-free colors for a fraction of the cost of other big sets. While other pens on our list showcase classic matte finishes, these include glitter, metallic, neon, pastel, and even fluorescent hues. The ink flows easily to guarantee a smooth line and is ideal for coloring. Doodle, draw, and decorate to your heart’s content, and don’t worry about the pens drying up—each one comes with a refill for double the usage. The set comes in several foldable snap pouches, making them easy to carry around and share in a classroom or other group setting. Pen tips range from 0.6mm to 1mm for a variety of line thicknesses.
5. Sakura Pigma Micron Color Set
Beloved by illustrators, graphic designers, and architects, these felt-tipped pens provide opaque ink that is waterproof and quick-drying. Each features a nib that yields a consistent fine line and never skips. The ink is formulated from single-pigment colors; once dry, it remains chemically stable and showcases beautiful colors that won’t fade with time. This artist-friendly set of 73 pens includes one of every color and tip size of Sakura’s Pigma Micron, Micron PN, Brush, and Graphic pens. Though the Pigma color range is limited, there are enough tip sizes and shapes to more than make up for it.
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