We Tested Out Pentel Color Pens and Here’s What Happened
Are these artist-quality markers worth adding to your adult coloring tool collection?
By Thea Voutiritsas
You can’t take a stroll through any office supply store without seeing the bold red Pentel logo staring back at you, but their awesome Pental Arts line of products are good for more than just writing grocery lists or taking notes in class. Pentel Color Pen markers come in sets of 36, 24, or 18 markers and make a great option for coloring book fans out there. Available for around $12.49 for a pack of 36 markers on Amazon (and Prime-eligible, at that), it’s a deal hard to overlook for those looking to start or expand an adult coloring collection. Rated four out of five stars on Amazon, we had to see for ourselves if Pentel’s Color Pen markers could stand up to our adult coloring standards.
These water-based markers are made with a fiber tip and snap-fit caps. Pentel promises vivid, long-lasting ink and durable felt tips that produce fine lines. The markers come in a handy plastic case that folds and snaps shut—great for travel and staying organized. Each marker is labeled with a 3-digit identification code that corresponds to its color name listed on the back of the case, making it easy to keep track of what colors you’ve used for any given project.
The Paper Test
There’s a fine line between vibrant markers and oversaturated ones. And there’s a serious difference between a durable marker tip and a destructive one. Depending on the type of tip and the ink formula inside, markers can easily bleed through the paper, or worse, tear it apart. So, we tested the Pentel Color Pen markers on three types of paper to check for the ultimate marker sins: bleeding and pilling.
Standard Copy Paper
We started off the test with 28-pound standard copy paper. The Pentel Color Pens bled through this paper quite a bit—which makes them a no-go for double-sided coloring pages—and also caused a bit of pilling. Even worse, the bits of paper that did come up got stuck to the marker tip and created a fibrous little mess that had to be removed every now and again we colored. One bright note: As far as the actual color payoff goes, the markers were mostly true to the color of their barrel. The darker colors looked pretty even, but lighter colors came out a little streaky.
Digital Copy Paper
The Pentel Color Pens fared a bit better on the slick surface of our 28-pound digital copy paper. Pilling was less of an issue but still happened in areas where we colored over the same spot twice. This left a slightly fuzzy texture behind when we finished coloring (though you couldn’t really tell by looking at it). Bleeding was significantly less severe in this round, but some ink still bled through in darker colors and more saturated areas.
These markers performed the best on cardstock by far. Rather than pilling, the markers glided across the surface smoothly and evenly. They also didn’t bleed through the paper at all. In addition, the ink looked much more even across the board, but the lighter colors still had some streaks showing through.
What's the Verdict?
With fairly intense color payoff and a wide range of colors to choose from, Pentel Color Pens definitely live up to their promises. Their true-to-color ink and barrels make it easy to pick and choose colors without fretting over surprising inks. The convenient carrying case doesn’t hurt, either. However, they’re not ideal for double-sided coloring books or pages printed on regular copy paper—cardstock or a heavier multimedia paper works best!
In terms of tip size, we found the Color Pens to work well for moderate detail work, but make sure you don’t mistake “fine point” for “fine tip.” The Pentel Color Pens are pretty comparable to Crayola Fine Line markers, Artist Loft Triangle markers, or the fine point side of the Staedtler Duo-Color markers. However, they’re nowhere near as thin as a Sharpie Ultrafine Tip pens or Staedtler Fineliner pens.
At just $12.49 for a pack of 36 markers (but also available in packs of 6, 12, or 18), this affordable marker set is perfect for those looking for a solid set of colors to build a collection. It’s also great for colorists who want to expand their toolkit. The only thing to keep in mind is to stick with cardstock or single-sided coloring pages for best results if you’re going to spring for these bad boys!