The Pen is Mightier than the Sword..... But Which Pen??

Hiya all,

Hope you're all having a great weekend and the festive spirit is kicking in?! I always love Christmas but I have to admit that I am even more excited than usual. I think we all need lots of Christmas cheer this year and so we went Christmas crazy this can basically now see our house from space ....🤣 Oh and we also have a new puppy...I finally gave in after 18 we welcomed Rudie, our cockapoo last week. Obviously I didn't feel two kids under four, two cats, two jobs and a new business was crazy enough for us!!!!

We have also been thrilled with how much lovely feedback we are getting about our journals - I cannot tell you how happy it makes us when we hear that you really like them  So if you have received one and fancy just dropping us a few lines in an email or if you could even just tag us in on social media we would love to hear your thoughts. As a small business starting out in a market against some truly amazing big brands it really will help us too!

So one question we both keep getting asked about our journals is what pens are best and what people should be buying. This is especially true of people who may be just starting out on their bujo journey, when it can all seem just overhelming not to mention expensive. Especially when you see other people posting gorgeous spreads using really expensive pens which you then may feel you need to buy.  Firstly though I just want to say that all the views below on pens etc are entirely my own, this is not an advert at all, just from my own experience and there is no commission etc received from any brands mentioned!

Thing is though, to start out you just need a basic pen or pencil and a journal (obviously one of ours is ideal!! Had to pop that in there sorry haha). Any ball point pen etc is absolutely fine and for some, this may be just what they need and want to carry on with forever. But if you're anything like me, you may want to start adding some colour....and for this there are so many options you are literally spoilt for choice. 

And it is so tempting to rush out and spend a fortune. But to be completely honest my hands down favourite for day to day work are Crayola supertips! Costing just a few pounds for a set of 12 or 24  from the big UK supermarkets, they are an affordable way of getting colour in your journal easily. They also come in pastel colours now which are amazing. You can use supertips for everything from colouring doodles, layouts, highlighting text or even for lettering. They are actually often advised as the first pens for brush lettering beginners as you can easily change the width of your line depending on how you hold the pen and the pressure applied. 

Crayola supertips & my December 2020 cover using them:

I have also recently been introduced to the Bic felt tips, and love these too- they come in so many colours and are again a cheap buy. They have smaller ends though than the Crayola supertips so won't cover large areas as easily, just to bear in mind. 

Bic felt tips:

But if you do want to invest in some more expensive pens, our journals in particular do handle tombow brush pens especially well. The thickness of our paper means no bleed through (obviously depending on how much water you use as ultimately it's not watercolour paper, just remember that!) and they blend so well on it too. I have to admit that after trying some other cheaper options from Amazon I am a total covert to these for brush pens as so far any others I have tried just don't compare in terms of the brush nibs, the colours or the blending ability with water. However I have heard good things about the arteza brush pens, but have not tried these so cannot comment as of yet.

Tombow brush pens:

If lettering is your thing, tombow brush pens above are especially renowned for being amazing for this and I do love them. Note they take some practise though! They are also very expensive so I'd try crayola too first and then if you carry on journaling maybe treat yourself to some then. I also like the pentel fude touch sign pens for writing days of the week/quotes too although they can be a little harder to find in the UK and you do need to make sure they are genuine. Often these are imports from Japan and Asia so can be a little expensive. Lots of UK stationery shops specialising in journaling supplies stock them though and they do allow you to write in smaller lettering, whereas tombow brush pens don't allow you to do such fine work with the brush tip. 

Pentel Fude Touch Sign pens:

I also really love the two ended Zebra mildliners as mentioned above, and these are so handy. I use them daily, whether for highlighting text i.e dates, colouring drawings or to use as lines in my trackers (see below for an example). They have actually brought them out with a brush nib too now (as well as the square type nib and fine end ones pictures) but they are on my Christmas list so I can't comment on these just yet! They look great though and actually, you can pick these up now in some UK supermarkets for not too much.  They also come in so many colours.

Zebra Mildliners & a sleep tracker using them:

Turning to fineliners, I tend to use unipin (mostly) or micron ones but I have used WHSmith own brand ones in the past and they were great, lasting for ages. I personally like fineliners rather than gel ink as they don't have the tendancy to smudge quite so easily as they take much less drying time (pretty instant in comparison to gel pens).

Unipin fineliners:

Micron fineliners:

And finally pencil crayons, again you can spend as little or as much as you like....I started out with some WHsmith own brand ones and they were really good. However as I use quite a lot of pencil crayon, for smoothness and depth of colour I have to admit that I am in love with the polychromos ones by Faber Castell. Yes, they are an investment but I use them all the time so they are one of my treats to myself! 

Faber Castell Polychromos & a spread using them:

I also use a few other pens which are worth mentioning as I found them following trial and error....uniball signo gold and white gel pens are a must for me. I also love the pilot v fountain pens - just personal preference as I love how they write and the coloured inks. If anyone follows my personal journal account (@bujo.forlaura) you will see I just love colour, it's just me! 

Uniball Signo Gold Pen:

Pilot V Fountain Pens:

My last recommendation and not exactly pen related but I feel worth mentioning for beginners.....would be to always have a tip ex mouse on standby (always useful haha) and a good long ruler. Again personal preference, but short rulers mean you always have to join lines to fill the page etc and obviously this can lead to error. Any long ruler is fine, just maybe metal if possible as they are not prone to bumps and indents like plastic ones.

So whilst you can spend a fortune and if you want to then absolutely that's up to you ! I have a rather expensive stationery habit so completely get this haha....but the aim of this post is also to show that you don't have to spend a fortune at all. I would say Crayola supertips felt tips are an absolute must- some of my favourite themes have been with these and they are hands down my most used pens.  I also use unipin fineliners daily and these don't cost the earth at all.  So many supermarkets too have brought out stationery this year with their own pens and so if anyone tries any of these and likes them please let me know.

As our journal paper is so thick, it handles most pens (and watercolour/acrylic paint) really well so you should be ok trying most. We do know though that some heavy alcohol markers such as chameleon ones do bleed through as well as some spectrum noir markers (both as with other journals of a similar gsm paper).  So just to mention that our paper does not withstand these if using these is your thing. To be honest though I would suggest super thick specialist paper for these anyway, although I will hold my hands up as I don't know much about these so can't comment too much. 

And I think that's enough rattling on for me for know! Any questions on any of the above please just drop me a line. And I'm always looking for new pens to try so please let me know if you have any favourites that I've not mentioned! As usual, you can comment here or email me on any of our social media or lastly via email to

Take care all & hope this helps a little!

Laura 🦒





Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published