20th May 2011

Pen Geek : Uni POSCA PC-3M bullet tip / fine line

Ink : Opaque, waterbased, permanent* pigment (more like paint than ink though). Non toxic, lightfast, waterproof. Available in 17 colours.

Nib : Polyester, bullet tip, removable and reversible.

Size : Fine (approx 1.5mm)

Manufacturer :  Uniball (by Mitsubishi Pencil) www.posca.com

RRP : £2.63 each, although better prices online. I get mine from CultPens at £2.12 each.

The stars of my recent #smartpic project for Smart Car, Posca pens are a Creative’s best friend. These multitasking little beauties can lend their ink to just about anything, making them super versatile and a studio staple. There’s a variety of nib sizes and colours, so it’s just a matter of finding the right pen for your project.

The ink in Poscas is more like paint; smooth, opaque poster paint which glides easily from the nib. Unlike permanent markers which can sometimes streak or repel, Posca ink sits thick and strong on almost any surface. Where you might struggle to control a paint brush, Poscas give you the same effect, but more control.

Posca Pen

Posca Pen

*The manufacturers say the ink is permanent, but I’ve found that lots of water can cause it to bleed a little. The odd drop will be fine, but I’ve ruled these pens out for my forthcoming project for Famous Grouse as I know they won’t stand up to a Scottish downpour. On porous materials the ink sinks in and stays there. On non porous surfaces such as glass, you can scrape off with a scalpel blade. To be fair, there’s not much you can’t draw on with a Posca.

When using a Posca, you first need to shake it up. There’s a ball bearing inside which rattles as you shake, mixing the paint and ensuring it hasn’t settled and split. Always shake with the lid on to avoid spraying ink around the room (or in my case, down your leg).

After shaking, gently pump the nib up and down onto a scrap sheet of paper, inverting it up into the  barrel, then pressing it down onto the paper. This draws the ink down from the barrel into the nib. Once the nib is flooded with ink, you can start drawing.

As well as drawing on just about anything, you can overlay Posca colours. Lay down your first colour, leave to dry completely, then you can over draw with another colour. Cross-overs are crisp and opaque, providing you are working darker over lighter. Excellent for correcting mistakes, adding detail or drawing tartan (!).

These pens have a good lifespan to them, they don’t drain super fast or dry out. The nibs stay sharp and even when they do start to blunt, you can just pull the nib out and reverse it, so the barrel end becomes the drawing end. Their versatility and opaque ink quality makes them the first choice for so many projects. If you haven’t tried one out yet, I’d give them a shot – you’ll be amazed at what you can draw on!

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