Just when I thought I’d reviewed every possible brand and variety of felt-tipped or fiber-tipped pen, I find another one. The Uni Pin ($1.65-$2.45) pigment ink fineliner pens are available in a variety of tip sizes and colors. What caught my interest specifically was the availability of two shades of grey and a sepia. The only other fineliner I could find that has a sepia is the Sakura Pigma. And the Uni Pin was the only one that came in greys.
I grabbed a couple point sizes for each color, trying to be consistent in sizing across the colors as best as I could. Unfortunately, some were out of stock so I got close. I ended up with 01 (0.28mm) in all four colors, 05 (0.5mm) in light grey, dark gray and sepia and 02 (0.33mm) and 04 (0.4mm) in black.
The Uni Pin numbering system is similar to that of the Sakura Pigma Microns where the number doesn’t always reference the tip size. A Pigma in 005 is actually 0.2mm, an 01 is 0.25mm, an 04 is 0.4mm, an 05 is is 0.45mm and an 08 is 0.5mm. Confused yet?
The pen bodies are all plastic except for a metal clip and the metal tip. The barrels are a matte finish so they are not slippery to the touch. It’s a nice detail to a plastic pen.
The tips look pretty solid across the various sizes. The metal sheaths protecting the plastics tips seem to be reinforced at the end where they meet with the housing which may keep the points from getting bent.
The black seems on par with most of the other brands I’ve tried. I think the only thing that might set it apart is the longevity of the tips which will only be determined over time and the blackness of the ink. The dark and light grey pens are very interesting and would make nice alternatives or additions in drawing. The sepia was disappointly dark, almost black. I would have preferred a lighter, warmer brown.
I tested the waterproofiness after only about five minutes so I’m not sure how dry the ink was. YMMV. The pens say on the side “waterproof”. The Rhodia paper is very smooth so that might affected how the ink adhered to the fibers and skewed the results here. I tested the ink again later and it did not move so the dry time was a bit longer than I anticipated. It may have been because of the Rhodia paper specifically. If you plan on painting over this pen, give it a good 15 minutes to dry or test it on a scrap piece before adding water to your art.
Overall, the Uni Pin has a lot to recommend it. The price is competitive. The availability of greys in a variety of widths is commendable. If you’ve already settled on a fineliner, however, I’m hardpressed to convince anyone to switch brands on these points alone. The only other factor will be to determine longevity which is something a lot of the other brands don’t have. So, stay tuned.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 16 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pens: Uni Pin Pens (Pigment Based) in Sepia, Dark Grey, Light Grey and Black