Pen Review: Uni Posca Paint Markers

Review by Tina Koyama

Awhile back I reviewed the white Uni Posca Paint Marker in extra fine, which is handy for lettering and fine lines. I also wanted to try a set of Uni Posca fine point markers in eight primary colors.

With a bullet tip, these markers make a line about 1.5mm wide if held at a natural angle, but you can get a slightly finer line if held upright. As advised on the packaging in Japanese (and in English on JetPens’ site), it’s important to prime the marker before first use by shaking vigorously until you hear the agitator rattle inside. Then press the tip down on scratch paper a few times to get the ink flowing. (As a precaution, I give each marker a little scribble on scrap paper before each use. It hasn’t been necessary with these, but my extra fine tip white pen occasionally blorts out a blob of ink initially.)

I got the set of paint markers with the intention of having fun with them on paper, but I read in JetPen’s product description that they also write on nonporous surfaces like glass, metal and plastic. Before I got started on paper, I doodled the pink flower on a metal jar lid. The green writing was done with a Zig Painty FX paint marker, which came in my June 2017 ArtSnacks subscription box. While both markers wrote equally well on the jar lid, the Painty FX has a distinct alcohol marker odor, while water-based Posca markers have hardly any odor – a bonus for me (I can’t stand stinky markers!).

Now I was ready for real fun – on paper! I had seen some of my urban sketcher friends using Posca markers on toned and black paper, and I love how the bright colors pop, so I pulled out my black Stillman & Birn Nova sketchbook. They were just right for sketching koi at Seattle’s Japanese Garden as they swam through dark, murky water.

The colors in the set I chose are so bold and primary that I wondered if they would work for urban sketching, but I decided realistic colors are over-rated. Even mundane street scenes look more exciting on black paper.

I also happen to have a Plum & Punch notebook containing bright neon orange paper (Ed. note:no longer available on their website), and Posca markers can hold their own with near-neon vibrancy.

Of course, they also work great on white paper. I made test scribbles in my Plumchester sketchbook and gave the red scribble a swipe with the waterbrush after it dried. Although Posca inks are waterproof, I could see some insignificant bleeding. When I scribbled the white marker through the other colors after they dried, the white reactivated the colors a bit, making them smear.

Final Impressions

Posca markers are a lot of fun, and their brilliant opacity makes them ideal to use with black and brightly colored papers. Major bonus points for being stink-free!

Tina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by JetPens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I got to know of Posca markers because my son needed them for art class. I found them very interesting – the way the vivid colors pooled evenly and opaquely. My son’s class used them to color and draw on pebbles. (Imagine how gorgeous a gold pebble would look!) Thank you for this review 😀

  2. Thanks for this review! I’ve been eyeballing these for a bit, and this is what I needed to see to know I need them. I love the sketches! The urban sketching looks very cool with those colors.

  3. The street scene is what brought me here. b( ^^)b It’s very cool! Have you thought of doing a night scene with black paper? Cities have a lot of color to offer at night as well. Just a thought. I thought I’d drop in from Google’s image search tell you the art here’s cool. ^^

  4. The glossy dark black barrel decorated with the recognizable Uni POSCA colorful emblem and usage instructions makes the Uni POSCA pens or markers easily identifiable. The ink reservoir and a metal ball intended to help paint mix when shaken are both located inside the barrel. With a valve-controlled device, the ink is released. This stops the tip from absorbing paint before the paint is activated.

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