Brad over at Pen Addict is always waxing enthusiastic about the Pigma Micron pens and I am always going on ad nauseum about the Marvy Le Pen so I decided it was high time these two pens went head-to-head. And to be fair, I threw a few other nylon tipped pens into the mix.
The big players in this category, that I could find, are:
- Copic Multiliner
- Pigma Micron
- Marvy Le Pen
- Sharpie Pen
- Staedtler Mars (in my case, I have the “professional” model) Pen
I found strengths and weaknesses in all the models tested so, in the end, your favorite of this lot will depend on which characteristic is most important to you.
The Copic Multiliner and Sakura Pigma Micron are both basically waterproof which will be important if you are using these in multimedia art, addressing envelopes or work in the field. I also tested the Copic Multiliner SP which is the same quality ink and tip as the standard disposable Multiliners but it is refillable with replaceable nibs. This is a plus if you feel guilty throwing away whole pen bodies just because a pen ran out of ink or you wore the nib down. I just discovered that you can also get colored refills for the Copic Multiliner SP so there is no longer a limit to what they can do. The Copic Multiliner colors are available in five colors and four nib sizes in the color versions. The Mircons are available in nine colors and seven nib sizes.
The Sharpie Pen is also waterproof but I could only find it available in black though according to the Sharpie web site, the Sharpie Pen is available in ten colors. The Sharpie pen is available in fine and medium nibs and is available as a retractable pen.
The Staedtler Mars Professional pen is sold in a set of four widths and was designed as a cheaper (and most definitely tidier) solution for artists and designers to the Koh-i-noor Rapidograph and Staedtler Marsmatic technical pens. If you went to art school, you will remember the torture of trying to keep these working smoothly at 2 in the morning. Instead of filling the Mars Professional with liquid ink, each pen is a separate body and nylon tip that is then slipped into the aluminum pen body with silicone rubber grip area. The Staedtler Mars Pro had the darkest black of all the pens I tested but, of course, black is the only color available so it had better be good.
While I tend to favor the Marvy Le Pen simply because I think they have the best range of colors and a nice intense black BUT the LePen is not waterproof. Its not even water resistant so its not at all good for addressing envelopes or other places that might come into contact with water (rewriting Grandma’s favorite recipes, a field notebook or in mixed media art making or journaling). Also, the Le Pen tip does not last as long as some of the other brands and it only has one nib size.
So, if waterproof or water-resistant is a pressing need, I recommend the Micron or the Multiliner. They offer similar sizes and colors. If refillable is a preference, then the Multiliner SP or the Staedtler Professional Pen are great options. If cheap and colorful is a priority, then go with the Le Pen. For the widest varieties of widths, the Micron or Multiliners are best. And if you’re like me, you’ll have all of them.
Sakura Pigma Micron sell for $2.50 each or a set of 6 for $13.50 from JetPens.
Copic Multiliner SP is available in black and multiple nib sizes from JetPens starting at $9.20 for the barrel, nib and ink refill and individual refills are $2.30, nib replacements are $2.30 for one or $3.65 for two. Color refills for the Copic Multiliner SP color refills are available from Jerry’s Artorama for $1.99. I couldn’t find an online vendor selling the disposable Copic Multiliner Color Pens but I purchased mine at a local art supply store, Creative Coldsnow for about $3 each.
The Marvy LePen is available in all its colors from JetPens for $1.15 each.
The Sharpie Pen is available in many configurations from your local big box office supply store in individual, multi-packs and boxes of one dozen.