One pen to rule them all

Most artists are a little obsessive about the tools they use. We love finding and trying new sketchbooks, new papers, new brushes and we absolutely love good pens. Brush pens, ball points, water brushes, fancy mechanical pencils and so on. We can spend hours seeking them out.
There’s one special pen in fact that I found almost ten years ago. I discovered it in NewYork’s Kinokuniya Bookstore. Super thin, super fluid and sharp, it’s a ballpoint but it doesn’t feel like one. It quickly turned into my absolutely favorite pen: the Uniball Signo with a 0.38 point made by mitsubishi (on the left in the picture). Here‘s a drawing I did with it to give you an idea. Years later I was happily surprised to find out this same exact pen was also my friend Tadahiro’s favorite!! Ronnie fell in love with it too. I usually buy these pens on trips to Kinokuniya or chinatown, I just discovered another option online now. The nice folks at Jetpens sent me a bunch of neat pens and pencils to try out and of course my favorite pen was among them. I was also impressed by the new Signo Bit, which has a 0.18 point, super sharp (second from left in the picture). Anyway, I was impressed by the selection on their site, really great. Don’t have a Kinokuniya store close by and need some of these neat pens? You have a good option now.


13 Responses to “One pen to rule them all”

  1. Nat Says:

    i concur on the uniball signo. awesome pen and the ink flow usually is consistent until the very end at which you know it’s time to replace it!

  2. Atsushi Says:

    I suggest you to try Kuretake Fudegokochi if you had any chance to get it from Japanese friend or some other ways. obviously Jetpens is not holding one of these. it’s felt based pen with some brush feel into it. its amazing how much variety of thickness it can handle. just my 2 cents, because I also know its fun to try new pens, esp. good ones.

  3. Kat Says:

    I have a Kinokuniya chain in my location and will keep an eye out for this pen. I don’t draw but on occasions when I need to write, I do appreciate a pen with a fine fluid tip. Scratchy makes me twitchy.

  4. flaviano Says:

    have you ever tried the brush pen for ideograms of Muji store? is awesome!

  5. Gerald Says:

    So true….I love the Kinokuniya stores. I could spend hours at the Seattle Chinatown store. The set up is great – It’s directly linked to a huge grocery store and food court. I miss it.

    The Kinokuniya store in Japan Town San Francisco is super tiny, but seem to always have a great selection of pens. I did go through some crappy brush/marker pens and later found out that you can test any pen/pencil at the front register. They’re totally helpful.

    E, Great suggestions as always. I will have to pick up a couple of these next time around. Thanks.

  6. Anthony Holden Says:

    I’m ordering a handful as we speak!! Thanks for the tip; I haven’t been able to get a hold of really great pens since I moved back from Sapporo. On a completely separate note, our son was born on April 20th–easily my best artistic creation to date (even though my wife did most of the work)!

  7. Stuart Says:

    How did Jetpens send you those pens? That’s pretty baller man – or did you actually buy them yourself? I think I just want free pens… :)

  8. andy Says:

    Cool, thanks for the link, lots of cool pens to look through!
    Always on the lookout for a good, super smooth, thinpoint pen; at the moment I’m liking the Pilot Hi-Tecpoint, but I’ve just moved to Sydney which has a Kinokuniya’s, can’t wait to check out their pen selection :)

  9. donnam Says:

    Enrico, are the Signo pens waterproof–a crucial consideration for me.

  10. Ellen Says:

    Thank you for the link. I think I finally found my long lost Pilot Brown Barrel Brush Pen. :D

  11. Enrico Says:

    Nat- good another signo-fan … ;)

    Atsushi- thanks for the recommendation! Would love to try the kuretake Fudegokochi. The folks at jetpens actually emailed me after you posted and told me they are ordering it … so they should have it in stock soon.

    Kat- I think you’re gonna like the signo, writing or drawing …

    Flaviano- I love Muji’s pens too … but I don’t think I’ve tried their brush pen ! I will be in NYC in July and a stop to Muji is an absolutely must … will look it up.

    Gerald- I want to visit Seattle … never been …

    Anthony- Excellent! Glad you found this helpful … and congratulations !! Our daughter and your son were born just over a month apart … exciting times ahead … :)

    Stuart- they probably contacted me because of this blog and sketchcrawl … and yes, free pens to try are pretty darn sweet.

    andy- you’re welcome!

    donnam- good question, I think the answer is somewhere around 90% waterproof … if you wait and let the ink dry you get very little watering down of the ink … maybe 5% …
    but if you put water right after you draw you’ll probably loose 10 to 15% of the ink in the water …
    still worth a try I think, for waterproof-needing artists …

    Ellen- yay ! excellent!


  12. Andreas Says:

    I love the signo pens. I pick mine up at the Sanseido book store inside the Mitsuwa Marketplace in San Diego.

  13. Lianne Cruz: Animation and Artwork: Blog Says:

    [...] been to one in forever due to crunch. I used a Uniball Signo pen, after reading about it in Enrico Casarosa’s blog. I have to say, this has become my new favorite fine pen as well. The ink flows so smoothly you [...]