Common Challenges of Gel Pens and How to Overcome Them

Compared to ball pens, gel pens are still relatively new to the market, but they have been well received by artists for sketching purposes. They can be lots of fun, and come in a wide selection of colors, including metallic, acid-free archival pens. They are sold in a wide variety, like soufflé, pastel-colored pens that puff up a little on the page when dry; moonlights that are neon colored and more opaque; Gelly Roll Stardust; Gelly Roll Metallic; Glaze; and even some smear-resistant options. Generally, gel pens leave great color on pages, and are a favorite for filling doodles.

Modern black gel inks contain a blend of dye-based and pigment coloring, and consumers can easily identify the color of a pen by checking through the semi-transparent barrel. Not all varieties are suitable for arts and graphics, though their color diversity makes them very popular among artists and children. Like roller ball and ball-point pens, the ink in gel pens is delivered using a housed metal ball. Consumers can easily differentiate its ink line from that of other writing instruments by tracking the effect along the outer edges of the ink stroke. This effect is not always visible for the entire writing process though it is a common occurrence which indicates that the ink is being pushed by the ball to the outer edges of the stroke.

Gel pens are great for artwork, but like many other things, there are a few complaints. Some people claim that their pens skip a lot and don’t make nice lines, or they are not visible enough, and attribute the inconsistency to a poor brand. What they don’t realize is that good results can only be achieved under certain circumstances:

Faded lines are influenced by the surface. The darker the surface you are working on, the better and shinier the drawing will be. Generally, drawing over too transparent watercolor layers will make the lines less visible, and cause you to riffle the paper.

Skipping is a common occurrence among most types of pens, including gel pens. It will definitely happen. So, when it does, carefully overdraw the riffle to make your line continuous. Before starting the painting, it is recommended that you scribble on a piece of paper to get the ink flowing.

When you experience too little or too much ink, it is probably because you changing the drawing direction too frequently. Gel pens don’t like this. The best way to draw a continuous line is to move the pen in one direction, and then clean the nib before starting another line. Changing the direction causes skips, while drawing too many lines in the same direction without cleaning the nib causes ink blobs.

A new pen usually works well with few or no skips. But the more it is used, the tougher it gets to work with it. It can be very frustrating to have a pen with just a little ink left, and the nib is barely able to let any ink out. To avoid such challenges, you should consider having a few nibs at hand when working on an important painting to ensure that you see it through with minimal challenges.

Now that you know how to use your gel pens, all that is left is to get a reliable vendor to buy from. Elkos Pens are one of the leading global manufacturers of gel pens, and provide a wide variety of colors and sizes to suit your art needs. For more information on their varieties, visit their website at

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