Technical Pens

Allow me to vent...

Not a real blog post today...

Just a wee bit o' complaining.

Because I can do that, right? Isn't that what blogs are for?

A student emailed me over the weekend with some fantastic news

The kind of news that should have me dancing in the streets.

Instead, I wanted to find the nearest brick wall and bang my head against it.


My beloved colored Copic Multiliners have been undiscontinued

Yep. They discontinued these pens last year (2016) and I went into mourning because I use them, like every single freekin' day.

My student got an early copy of the 2017 catalog and they're back.

I checked the Imagination International website and they're back there too.

I've been busy, so maybe I missed the newsletter announcement, or maybe it's an announcement timed for CHA (the large Craft Hobby Assoc) show this month.

Anyway, the point is that I should be ridiculously happy and yet...

Why do I feel like grabbing a pitchfork?

Well, here's what happens when someone who uses a product daily gets word that said product has been discontinued:

3 Red replacement cartridges = $10 or so

2 Orange replacement cartridges = $6 or thereabouts

2 Yellow replacement cartridges = $6 about

2 Green replacement cartridges = $6

3 Turquoise replacement cartridges = $10

3 Sky Blue replacement cartridges = $10

2 Cobalt replacement cartridges = $6

3 Purple replacement cartridges = $10

2 Pink replacement cartridges = $6

1 Wind replacement cartridge = $3

5 Sepia replacement cartridges = $15

5 Gray replacement cartridges = $15

But that's not all. Because I teach classes with these things, so I had to scramble for a replacement product that my home-store could carry. So days of research and this:

1 set of Stabillo = $15

1 set of Staedtler = $20

1 set of Le Pen = $18

1 set of Zig Mellennium = $17

So this little adventure in undiscontinuedland cost me about $173

And that's why I'm grumpy.



Copic Multiliner vs Pigma Micron: Does It Really Matter?


90% of my beginners bring Micron pens to class

Even though the supply list specifically states "Copic Multiliner".

Does it matter?


It matters to me!

Micron Pen.jpg

I'm not a one-tool-works-for-everyone kind of teacher but there is a reason why my Copic Multiliners are worn and well loved while my Micron pens gather dust in a bottom drawer reserved for pencil stubs, old Bic pens, and stray paperclips.

Now I don't go all phlegmatic if someone pulls out a Micron pen in class. I get it- most beginners have used Microns for previous projects and why should you buy a new black pen when you have a bunch of 'em already?

And frankly, it's rare to find a craft shop or art store that carries more than a few stray Multiliners; meanwhile the Microns fly out the door like Olympic sprinters being chased by rabid cheetahs. If you want a Multiliner, you've got to go the extra mile to hunt 'em down.

But in my experience, the two products are not interchangeable. It matters which brand of pen you use.

copic multiliner.jpg

Here are four reasons why I do not use Micron pens:

Mulitliners vs Micron Pens- Does it matter which brand you use? |

1. Erasers can lift Micron ink

Admittedly, if you never draw & ink your own images, you may never notice this flaw. But trust me, I've banged my head against the wall on more than one occasion.

See that light zone down the center of my inking? That's not a creatively placed highlight. That's what happens when you run a white eraser over an area inked with Micron pen. That was 3 passes with a Pentel Hi-Polymer Eraser, a very gentle type of eraser.

With Micron pens, an inker who erases their pencil guide lines has to go back and re-ink the erasure sites to build back up the solid color.



2. Copic Ink can cause Micron to bleed

I've seen a few blogs and YouTube videos that claim otherwise. But here's the catch- what paper and what Copic ink are they using?

Multiliner vs Micron inks- Compatibility tests for colorers |

The brand of paper matters a lot for ink adhesion.

While you can sometimes get away with coloring over the top of Micron ink with your Copics, the Microns really will bleed. It's not a Napoleonic War kind of bloody mess but a bleed is a bleed and it's not a good thing.

All 8 test swatches received 4 passes with Copic colorless blender. The blending solution was loaded into a water brush because I knew what was coming and I didn't want to ruin my colorless blender nib.

The bleeding on both X-Press It and Gina K cardstock was minimal. You can only see it on close inspection and the bleed would be easily missed if I were using a colored Copic ink instead of clear. But the tip of my waterbrush was dark gray which means that your Copic nibs would pick up the Micron ink too.

The bleed was pretty significant on both brands of marker/layout paper that I own. And because I draw all my digi stamps on layout paper, this means no Microns for me!

So if you're using a Micron pen to touch up your stamp or add details, don't run the risk of ruining your project with ink incompatibility. Save the Micron work for dead last!

Multiliners vs Micron pens... ouch! |

3. I hate the grip on Micron pens

Okay, this is a personal problem and given that I actually have been struck by lightening, I'll admit that my life has challenges which yours may not.

Whiny baby time: Microns have a sharp ridge right where I hold the pen. That ridge digs into my finger, even though I do not use a death-grip. Call me a whimp but Micron pens hurt!

I signed my name six times on scrap paper and this is the dent it left. That was less than a minute of work. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to ink an image.

No way I'm holding a Micron pen for that long. Not happening.

Multiliner vs Micron- does it matter? It does if you want gray! |

4. Zero Shades of Gray...

I'm not a fan of black coloring book type lines on my coloring images and even when I do work with a black stamp, I almost always add my own details using a gray Multiliner rather than a black one.

Gray is magical ink; it's a chameleon color. Use a gray pen to add veins to a green leaf or stripes to a green eye and it looks like you used a green Multiliner. Use it over something blue and it looks like you used a blue pen. Gray morphs and changes based upon whatever color is underneath it.

For adding subtle or gentle details, gray is king. It's the only color I grab for drop shadows. Black is harsh and detracting while gray sings beautifully, on key- no matter what the key, every single time.

And guess what?

Micron doesn't come in gray.

<face palm>


It does matter!

Different inks. Different adhesion. Different compatibility. Different housing & grip area. Different color palettes.

This is why I own 28 different diameter or color Multiliners and only 4 Micron pens.

And this is why my class supply lists always specifically call for Copic Multiliners.