Gel Ink pens that give a watercolor-like wash

Isn't it strange how coincidence flows? A few weeks ago, someone asked me if I knew a contact from within Jetpens.  I said no, because though I've submitted work for consideration in their blog, and I buy from the company often, I didn't have a specific relationship with the company.

And then about 10 days ago, I received an email from Jetpens asking if I wanted to review product for them.  You betcha, I did!  

A few days later, I received a 6-pack of Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica Gel Ink Pens.  I'm working on a series of examples using the pens, and I hope to have a complete review for you next week, but I wanted to share this surprise I discovered along the way.

No gel pen I've ever used has been waterproof.  I didn't expect the Maica pens to be, but I decided to test them anyway to see how resistant they were.  As it turns out, not very.  And wonderfully so!

I was amazed at how well the pigment color stayed bright even with heavy washes.  I wasn't able to totally smooth out the hard lines where I first added color but I could blend them out further by lifting color.  If fact, I could lift a small amount of color on a wet brush and use it elsewhere on the page.

This painting was done in a Crok’ Book sized 6.75" x 4.25" (17 x 11 cm), and I had to work a bit to get the ink to move and cover the entire page.  The Crok’ Book has Clairefontaine paper which is high quality, and I had no pilling or tearing drawing over wet areas.  But the pens do have a hard metal-tip and working on another paper, I found that drawing into the wet ink resulted in tears.

I won't characterize these gel pens as water-soluble pens.  But having said this, I've worked with water-soluble colored pencils and crayons that were harder to spread and less intense in color.

If you test your paper, and/or let layers dry in between, the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica Gel Ink Pens work well for small areas of colored wash.  The pens I'm using are 0.3 mm which is small, and I think I'd use a larger point size if I planned to use washes very much.  The larger size would make it easier to get the initial color down.  I do like this 0.3 mm size though.  It provides a very small line for detail.

Keep your eye out on my blog next week for more information on these pens!


  1. Thank you for this post Sandra, this is very informative. I love pens and watercolor. What a perfect combination.


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