Looking for a pen to draw Tarot cards
January 25, 2011 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I have this blank deck of Tarot cards and I need a black, ultrafine felt tip pen to draw on them...recommendations?

I've tried a Sharpie ultrafine pen - it's just the right width (0.8 mm, I'd guess), but it's not really a deep nice black. I want it to be really really black and hopefully somewhat UV-resistant so the cards don't fade over time! Stabilo point 88 pens look good and dark right after drawing, but they fade as well...
If it were standard paper, I would just use this very black and light-resistant ink, but I think the cards are a bit too glossy for that, it would get all smudgy (also, I'd prefer to use a pen rather than a nib because it's less of a hassle).

Are there any felt tip pens where the lines end up looking as good and dark as in nib+ink drawings, and that don't fade over time? I guess it would be the same pens people use for drawing comics but there's so many different varieties out there that I'm a bit confused... Recommendations?
posted by The Toad to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Bonus points for pens that don't stink! The Sharpie pen emits a poisonous stench...)
posted by The Toad at 9:00 AM on January 25, 2011

Hit your local art supply store (preferably local, not a Michaels) and tell them what you're after. They have the pens you're looking for. I used to have to get fine pens for a rendering class, and the local art stores, especially the ones near colleges, will have a great selection and good prices.
posted by azpenguin at 9:04 AM on January 25, 2011

Best answer: Micron?
posted by dhruva at 9:04 AM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My favorite ever drawing pen is the Sakura Pigma Micron. It's like the Sharpie pen if the Sharpie pen was any good. They come in lots of thicknesses and colors and are pretty common in art supply stores.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:04 AM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I think the fading you're talking about is a function of the kind of paper you're drawing on rather than the kind of pen or ink. I draw with sharpies a lot and only experience the immediate ink fade when drawing on something glossy enough that the pigment doesn't fully sink in, causing (I guess) some of it to evaporate away. (Usually I draw on matte cardstock, which works just fine.) So it might do that with all or most of the pens you try, no matter how awesome they are.

When you go to the art store to buy whatever pens are recommended here, take a piece of test card with you to make sure it'll work like you want it to before buying it.

That said, Micron pens are really nice.
posted by phunniemee at 9:08 AM on January 25, 2011

Best answer: The Micron is a good choice. I also like Pilot's Fineliner. It's great on slick surfaces and doesn't stink.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 9:08 AM on January 25, 2011

If the cards are card stock with a gloss finish, they won't accept dyes well. Most felt tip markers are solvent based dyes, and I think that's why your fiber based pens are dark initially, but fade at they drop into the ground or smudge off.

Koh-i-noor makes a really nice lightfast, artist quality ballpoint called Sapphire with a beautiful dense precision black and a range of other artist quality colors. This nib will bite into the card surface, which would lend it a Schrimshaw effect, which is appealing to me, anyway.

One other option you may consider is drawing with a scrib tip such as a silverpoint or an awl, then taking a rigger brush and dropping sumi into the inscribed lines. Again, a scrimshaw effect that sounds so appealing to me I am logging out and heading over to my drawing table right now.

I hope this information is helpful.
posted by effluvia at 9:37 AM on January 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks guys. I've ordered a set of Sakura Micron pens of varying sizes to try them out. The surface is not as glossy as normal playing cards, just a bit more smooth than standard paper...so I hope they'll work. I'll also try the Pilot fineliner.
posted by The Toad at 10:02 AM on January 25, 2011

Best answer: the staedtler permanent lumocolor pens are in expensive and write on everything. i believe you can even get them at staples.

i use them on super glossy and slightly glossy business cards (coated and uncoated) ... work great. i feel like i tried everything for a while and now have found my permanent inkie friend.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 2:55 PM on January 25, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, so I just tried the Sakura Microns - they look (and smell) much better than the Sharpies, but they smudge. I guess the paper is too glossy for them, as phunniemee suggested. Well, nice pens anyway and I'm sure I'll find lots of other uses for them.

Will try Pilot fineliner and lumocolor and report back...
posted by The Toad at 1:17 PM on January 28, 2011

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