Hey everyone! You may have seen on my Instagram (@glassandberries) that one of my favorite things about bullet journaling is getting to use loads of pretty pens and markers. Luckily for me, I started stocking up on supplies years ago, way before I started bullet journaling in January. And my super generous mom was nice enough to pass along some of her faves, too! I wanted to share my collection with you, plus some of my thoughts about each type of pen/marker. And, for those of you who love swatches, those are here, too! Keep reading to see more!
Note: All swatches are on a Rhodia dotPad, which has whiter pages than my actual bullet journal which is a Leuchtturm1917. I found the swatches to still be pretty accurate, but do keep in mind that actual colors may vary slightly depending on your screen and choice of paper/journal.
ZEBRA Mildliner Creative Markers
I know I’m not the only one who thought these were called “midliners” after I first saw them. If you’ve seen bullet journal supplies before, you’ve probably seen these, and for good reason – they’re fab! They have the perfect amount of color, and are basically pastel highlighters. I love the two different marker tips, though the angled tip is the one I tend to use more. These are some of my favorites of my whole collection!
Stabilo BOSS Pastel Highlighters
As soon as I saw these highlighters, I just had to have them, and quickly ordered them from Amazon. They’re as gorgeous as I expected! They’re super smooth and pigmented while not covering any writing underneath. My only complaint about them is that they bleed a bit when lifting the marker, as you can see in the swatches at the end of each line. I’ve found that dabbing the line with a tissue after lifting the marker helps a ton, though.
Tombow Brush Pens
Sooo…can you tell I love Tombows? They go on so smoothly with minimal ghosting or bleeding, are buildable, and come in so many colors that can be used on their own or as highlighters (with the exception of dark colors, of course). If I’m looking for a certain color, Tombow is my go-to. I definitely recommend keeping swatches handy, though, because the colors don’t always perfectly match the caps.
Sakura Pigma Pens
Pigma Micron pens are one of the go-tos for bullet journaling, and for good reason – they’re amazing! They write smoothly and come in tons of different sizes with different nibs, including brushes. I like to use the Micron 03, 05, or 08 for my overall layouts, and 01, 02, 03, or a pen nib (PN) for actual writing. They’re super versatile and reliable, and are my favorite of my fineliner pens.
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens
Faber-Castell is another super recognizable, popular, and reliable brand. All of these pens and markers write smoothly, and I love that you can press harder to get a darker color, or lighter for something more sheer. My favorites are the pastel brush pens, but I can’t recommend these enough, regardless of the color or pen tip!
Prismacolor Scholar Markers and Fine Line Markers
If you’ve ever been in the art section of basically any store that sells colored pencils, you’ve probably seen Prismacolor. They are, hands down, my favorite colored pencils, so I was so excited to try their markers and fineliners. Just like the colored pencils, the color payoff is amazing. The markers do ghost a little bit more (though not terribly, in my experience) than other markers, but the color makes it worth it!
Stabilo Point 88 Pens
I got these pens in between ordering and receiving my Stabilo BOSS Highlighters, and I absolutely adore them! They come in so many different colors, including neon, so you should have an easy time finding whatever color you’re looking for. My favorites and most used shades are the lighter, pastel colors, but I love the other colors, too. If you’re looking for colored pens, definitely give these a shot!
Pilot Frixion Pens and Highlighters
Pilot Frixion pens and highlighters are unique in that they have an eraser on the end of the pens. Yup, you can erase these pens, even the highlighters. And unlike other “erasable” pens which tend to leave an obvious line behind, these actually do a great job of erasing. The white gaps you see in Ball 07 and Colors swatches, as well as the second swatches of the highlighters, are spots where I used the erasers, and I thought they did a great job. Of these, the highlighters (bottom four pens) are my favorites.
Sharpie Fine Point Pens
For something more affordable and super easy to find, Sharpie fine point pens/markers are a great choice. They come in so many colors, last a long time, and dry quickly. I love using these for little accents and doodles in my bullet journal. They’re a classic for a reason!
I hadn’t heard of Le Pen before I bought them, but I loved the colors, so I wanted to give them a shot. They. Are. Gorgeous! The colors are pretty much perfect matches for the actual pen colors, which is always helpful, and they write smoothly, which is a major plus!
Crayola Supertips Markers
One of the more affordable options here, and definitely one of the easiest to find, are the Crayola Supertips. These are super popular for bullet journaling, coloring, and even calligraphy, and they’re very similar to Tombow brush pens. They do bleed a bit at the end like the Stabilo BOSS highlighters do, but for the price and range of colors, I think it’s totally worth it! These are another favorite of mine.
COPIC Multiliners and Sketch Markers
Fair warning: I’m 99% sure these are the most expensive pens and markers in my collection, and they markers ghost a ton, even on thick paper. But I love them enough to include them anyway, even though I don’t use them very often for bullet journaling. The multiliners are smooth, though not as pigmented as I would like them to be (I did get them years ago, though, so they may have just faded by now), and the markers couldn’t have a smoother feel when using them. I got the markers years ago, too, and they still had incredible color payoff. I’d recommend these more for coloring and art in general than for bullet journaling, but I do think they’re worth trying. I’d recommend buying one light color and one darker color so you can see what you think, and then invest in more if you think they’re right for you.
Staedtler Pigment Liners and Textsurfer Classic Highlighters: These are pens and highlighters that I often forget I have, but that I absolutely love. They’re super high quality, and I definitely recommend them.
Maped Highlighters: I’ll be honest, I have no idea where these mini highlighters are from, but they’re surprisingly great. They neon without being as blinding as standard highlighters, they write smoothly, and they’re obviously travel friendly!
Martha Stewart Hand-Lettering Pen and Brush Pen: These are some of the pens my mom gave me, and I really love them. They’re super pigmented, smooth, and easy to work with.
Papermate Flair Pen: Papermate Flair pens are classics, and also easy to find. They do ghost a bit, and are thicker than fineliners, but they’re a great and relatively affordable alternative. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally love them, especially for faux calligraphy.
BIC Fine Point Marker: I didn’t swatch this or even try it before working on this post, but now that I have, I can’t wait to start using it in my bullet journal. This pastel purple color is just gorgeous, and it writes smoothly as well.
Windsor + Newton Water Colour Markers: I hadn’t tried these markers before either, but they are gorgeous. They definitely ghost a bit, but they feel like absolute heaven to use, and the colors are just beautiful.
ZIG Calligraphy Pen 1.0: Yet another pen I hadn’t tried, this calligraphy pen has a tiny tip. In fact, at first glance, I thought it was a fineliner! It’s super pigmented and seems a bit easier to use than other calligraphy pens I’ve tried.
ACCU-Gel Bible-Hi-Gliders: These are the most unique “highlighters” I’ve ever tried. My mom bought them for me from the University of Washington Bookstore, so I’m not sure how easy they are to find, as I haven’t seen them elsewhere. As soon as I uncapped them, I thought they must have been defective, because they had flat, translucent, colored tips that I had never seen before. They’re basically highlighters and crayons combined, and feel very similar to coloring with crayons as well. Because of their unique texture, they don’t bleed or ghost at all, which is why their name mentions the Bible – you don’t want pens ghosting or bleeding in a Bible, and these definitely won’t do that!
Well, that wraps up my current pen and marker collection! Some of these are bigger hits for me than others, but I really do love and recommend all of them.
Do you have favorite pens or markers for bullet journaling/art/stationery? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!