After the troubles I had finding a set of Faber-Castell PITT manga pens that wasn’t dried up when I purchased it, I was searching for an alternative and came across the Sakura Pigma Micron pens. Since I use these pens quite a bit and the large sets were very cheap in comparison to the PITT pens, I went ahead and ordered a big set of the Sakura Pigma pens from Jerry’s Artarama along with a bulk order of other art supplies made when the Australian dollar was high. I’ve been using them for a while now so I thought it would be worth reviewing them.
Here are some sample lines I did with each pen to show the different nib widths.
You can buy these individually or in a variety of sets, and they’re available from a number of Australian art shops. The set I got is called the Sakura Pigma Manga-Comic Pro Set of 8 Assorted Tips. It contains six Micron pens (.005 to .08), one Graphic pen (which has a broader 1mm tip almost like a texta) and a mechanical pencil. Having such a wide range of nibs allows you to precisely control the width of your lines; body outlines might be better with a larger nib, while hair or facial features often look better when drawn with a very fine pen. The Graphic also lets you make wider strokes, making it perfect for drawing textured details or special effects. The mechanical pencil doesn’t add much to the set – those are easy and cheap to find in pretty much any stationery shop or supermarket – it is a useful thing to have, especially if you want to keep all your drawing supplies in the same packet.
The ink in these pens is archival and waterproof. I think it’s important to make sure any black illustration pens you use are waterproof, as even if you don’t colour in with watercolours (like I do), using other markers over them could still pick up the black and spread it into your nice bright colours if they haven’t dried permanent. There’s very little in life more annoying than going to a lot of effort to get a line drawing right and then having it ruined by ink running where it shouldn’t or colours getting muddied.
This is another character illustration I did for my PhD project’s interactive narrative.
As you can see, the pen marks stayed fast and did not muddy the pale colours when I washed over them with watercolour paints. If you do any sort of fine detailed or illustrative work, I would definitely recommend the Sakura Pigma Micron and Graphic pens.