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The Best Technical Drawing Pens

The Best Technical Drawing Pens

The Best Technical Drawing Pens

Technical drawing pens are designed to be the perfect drafting tool. Engineers and architects need perfectly straight, dark lines that are exactly the same width every time to draw schematics and other technical drawings by hand. Technical drawing pens deliver with needle-point tips that can be used precisely along a ruler’s edge and richly pigmented inks that stand out from the page. Although they were originally intended for technical use, these pens’ precision, quality, and reliability have made them a favorite among artists as well.

Ohto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pens
Ohto Graphic Liner Drawing Pens are easy to use and have durable tips.
The Ohto Graphic Liner combines the best features of metal- and plastic-tipped technical drawing pens with very little compromise. Its secret is a metal rollerball tip. This tip makes it as easy to use at natural drawing angles as plastic-tipped pens, so it’s accessible for beginners. However, just like traditional metal-tipped technical pens, the tip won’t wear down, fray, or flex. The one drawback of the rollerball tip is that the ink occasionally pools around the ball and forms a slightly wider spot at the ends of lines.

As a disposable pen, the Ohto Graphic Liner requires no maintenance and is easy to grab and go. It has dark, waterproof pigment ink that is also Copic proof and archival quality. This makes it a good choice for multi-media art and work that is intended to last a long time. It comes in several tip sizes.

A metal-tipped technical drawing pen compared with a plastic-tipped pen.
Technical drawing pens with metal and plastic tips.
The terms “technical pen,” “drawing pen,” and “technical drawing pen” are often used interchangeably and lack precise definitions. In this guide, a technical drawing pen is any pen with a needle-point tip that is suitable for drawing along a straightedge, makes precise, consistent marks, and has completely waterproof ink.

Traditional technical drawing pens use a narrow metal tube, usually containing a very thin wire, to deliver ink to their tip. The circular tube design allows pens to create extremely precise lines in any stroke direction. This ink delivery mechanism requires the pen to be held perpendicular to the writing surface to function properly.

Some newer styles have plastic tips that are reinforced with metal guides. Plastic-tipped pens are slightly less precise but easier to use at an angle. These pens can also be considered fineliners, but we include them here because their waterproof ink and firm needle-point tips allow them to be used in the same way as traditional technical pens.

Technical Drawing Pen Considerations
Tip Size
Tip Size
Sakura Pigma Microns boast a variety of tip sizes.
The tips of technical drawing pens range from a miniscule 0.03 mm to a bold 1.5 mm. Each tip produces a line of a single width, and different pens can be used together to accentuate each other. Small tips can produce meticulous details but must be treated delicately to avoid damage. Larger tips are more durable and allow for a richer ink flow. Their thick lines are perfect for outlines and bold letters.

Some technical drawing pens use a naming scheme that does not correspond to a millimeter measurement. The numbers on these pens, such as 003 or 05, express their relative tip size. A pen with the number 003 has a tip size similar to 0.15 mm, while the tip size of a 05 pen is comparable to 0.45 mm. You can check the millimeter tip size of each of these pens on their respective product pages on our website.

In addition, some manufacturers measure the tip width while others measure the line produced. Most metal tips are measured by the line produced and give a finer line than plastic tips of the same measurement.

Tip Material
Metal tip versus plastic tip
Metal tips are more durable than plastic tips but come with a steeper learning curve.
Technical drawing pens can have either metal tips or plastic tips reinforced with a metal guide. Metal tips are durable and can be made into very fine sizes. However, they are more expensive to replace and require regular cleaning. Plastic-tipped pens often feel smoother than their metal counterparts. They are more forgiving of acute drawing angles and can provide a small amount of line variation but tend to be less durable. Even careful use can lead to breaking or fraying. Even so, their lower price and overall reliability make them a widely-chosen favorite among artists.
Disposable vs. Reusable
Comparison of disposable and refillable pens
Refillable pens are more eco-friendly in the long term.
Technical drawing pens are available in either disposable or reusable, refillable bodies. Despite the connotations of the word "disposable," the choice between the two is less about quality and more about personal preference. Disposable pens require little to no maintenance and are perfect for beginners or on-the-go draftspeople. Reusable technical drawing pens are built to last a lifetime. These pens can be disassembled to refill the ink, replace damaged parts, or clean the pen. They are better suited to more advanced users as they must be cleaned regularly to prevent damage.
Ink Filling System
Comparison of ink cartridge and ink bottle
Almost like fountain pens, cartridge versus bottle is a key question to ask yourself when selecting a technical drawing pen.
Reusable pens may use either a bottle- or cartridge-based filling system. Pens that use bottled inks allow you to experiment with different inks or dilute the ink you already have to achieve color gradients. Keep in mind that you should only use inks intended for use with technical drawing pens or fountain pens as other inks may damage the pens. Bottled inks are also more economical over time. The downside of this filling system is that ink bottles are easy to spill during refilling and transport.

If you’re concerned about messes or travel frequently, cartridges are a better bet. They are easy to install and contain the ink safely. However, they lock you into the ink provided by the manufacturer and are more expensive in the long run.

Resistance to Other Media
Resistance to Other Media
A technical drawing pen shouldn't budge under water or markers.
If you plan to color your work, it’s important to make sure that your inked lines won’t smear under the coloring media you use. All of the pens in this guide are both waterproof and Copic proof. It’s also useful to choose pens that won’t lighten too much when erased over. This keeps inked lines looking sharp after you erase pencil sketches and guidelines. All these traits can be checked for yourself in our test section.
Technical Drawing Pen Recommendations
Beginner Technical Drawing Pens

These reliable, inexpensive pens let beginners try technical drawing pens without the commitment of large price tags or maintenance.

Staedtler Pigment Liner Pens
Staedtler Pigment Liners can survived uncapped for long periods of forgetfulness.
Staedtler Pigment Liners are even more reliable and maintenance-free than other disposable drawing pens because they can be left uncapped for up to 18 hours without drying out. We don’t recommend making a habit of leaving the caps off, but this feature is helpful for switching between tip sizes quickly without worrying about pen caps. They have highly pigmented ink that resists lifting well and is both fade resistant and acid free. They come in several tip sizes and a rainbow of colors.
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens
Sakura Pigma Microns are a perennial artist favorite.
Sakura Pigma Microns are some of the most widely used technical drawing pens. They boast archival-quality, micro-pigmented ink in seventeen colors and many different tip sizes. You can even get the same ink in other tip styles, including chisel, bullet, and brush tips. Read our Guide to Sakura Pigma Pens to learn more about them. Sakura Microns are maintenance-free, portable, reliable, and have forgiving tips that can be used at an angle–perfect for all varieties of creative people. They are more prone to lifting than our other recommendations, but not severely so.
Intermediate Technical Drawing Pens

These reusable pens are more durable than their disposable counterparts and have a higher upfront cost. Since you don’t have to replace the entire pen every time you run out of ink or bend a tip, they are less expensive and more environmentally friendly in the long run.

Copic Multiliner SP Pens
Copic Multiliner SP Pens are specially made to work with alcohol markers.
The Copic Multiliner SP is a favorite among artists for its dark line, reliable performance, durable metal body, and replaceable tips. Its nine tip sizes range from a tiny 0.03 mm to a bold 0.7 mm, plus a brush tip option. Copic Multiliner SP pens are only available in black, but there is also a disposable version of the Copic Multiliner that comes in many colors. These pens resist lifting well.
Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch Drawing Pens
Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch Drawing Pens are the best introduction to metal-tipped technical pens.
Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch pens are an affordable and easy-to-use introduction to metal-tipped technical pens. Their range of three tip sizes is relatively limited, but the 0.25 mm, 0.35 mm, and 0.5 mm pens sizes are versatile enough for a wide range of applications. As suggested by the name, these pens are designed to work even when used quickly and at an angle. This makes them easy to adjust to, although they do feel smoother and are most effective when held vertically.

Since they use an internal inkwell to hold bottled ink, you can dilute their ink to achieve a gradient or use other inks if they suit your purposes better. The ink included with the pen is dark, free-flowing, and highly lifting resistant. These pens should be cleaned regularly to avoid clogs.

Advanced Technical Drawing Pens

If you have a set of these technical drawing pens, you’ll never need another. With proper care, these high-quality metal-tipped pens will perform impeccably for many years. Their highly pigmented inks, range of tip sizes, reliable quality, and manufacturer warranties make them ideal for professional use.

Rotring Isograph Pens
Rotring Isographs can be filled with bottled ink.
Rotring Isographs boast high-quality engineering and performance. You can replace the tips if they become damaged. Isographs use bottled ink rather than cartridges. This allows you to dilute the ink to achieve different tones or try alternate inks. Keep in mind that Isograph pens do not ship with ink, so you will need to buy ink separately.
Technical Drawings, Blueprints, & Schematics
Technical Drawings, Blueprints, & Schematics
Technical drawings and blueprints require precise lines, mathematical accuracy, and perfect details. When a single mis-drawn line could mean a misplaced support beam, the tools for drawing need to be as sharp as the minds using them. The technical drawing pen was created to meet these requirements, with needle-point tips for use with templates and reliable fine lines for meticulous details. Even with the advent of computer-aided design, these pens are still widely used by engineers, architects, and other designers. Metal-tipped technical pens are the best tools to achieve this high level of accuracy.

Products Used: Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch 0.35

Scientific & Medical Illustration
Scientific & Medical Illustration
Scientific & medical illustrations are often used instead of photographs for educational use, journal publications, and even court cases. In order to represent subjects accurately while making the piece as clear and useful as possible, illustrators carefully render important details and leave out elements that may distract the eye. They go to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of their art and often use a technique called stippling to achieve lifelike dimension. Technical drawing pens are ideal for this technique, as it involves the precise placement of many tiny dots.

Products Used: Rotring Isograph 0.5, Sakura Pigma Micron 005, Sakura Pigma Micron 01 (Purple)

Lettering & Type Design
Lettering & Type Design
Type design is the process of creating a readable, beautiful, and coherent font. To achieve these results, many typographers use guides and templates before drawing each letter on vellum or tracing paper. Technical pens work especially well on these translucent papers, giving typographers clean edges and bold lines for a perfect font.

Products Used: Ohto Graphic Liner 02, Rotring Isograph 0.5

Art & Illustration
Art & Illustration
Artists of all kinds love technical pens for their unchanging line widths, small tip sizes, portability, and reliability. Their needle-point tips allow technical pens to be used with rulers and templates, and they are perfect for drawing the finest details. Artists who work with watercolors or other water-based media count on the waterproof ink used in technical drawing pens to keep their lines crisp.

Comic artists also use technical pens for lettering due to their even line weight and reliable flow. While all technical drawing pens are well suited for comics and manga, the Sakura Pigma Micron and Copic Multiliner pens are the most common choice among comic artists because of their fine line weight and more forgiving plastic tips.

Products Used: Copic Multiliner SP 0.3


Technical drawing pens require special care to ensure optimal performance. These simple guidelines will keep your pens functioning well.

During Use
During Use
Technical drawing pens are designed to be held perpendicular to the paper surface. Using them at an angle may cause them to skip or stop working altogether. They should never be used at an angle of less than 45 degrees away from the paper surface. It’s also best to stick with smooth papers like vellum and tracing paper as rough surfaces like watercolor paper can damage the tips. This is especially true for plastic-tipped pens.
Reusable metal-tipped pens need to be cleaned periodically to prevent any buildup of dried ink. We recommend cleaning your pens about every two weeks if you are using them regularly, whenever you change inks, or any time they aren’t working properly. You should also clean out any ink that’s left in your pens if you don’t plan to use them for a while to prevent dried ink from clogging the narrow pen tips.

If your pen came with cleaning instructions, follow them when maintaining your pen. The process is similar to cleaning a fountain pen, but you need to be extra careful not to damage the delicate nib. If your pen did not come with cleaning instructions, this process should do the trick:

1. Disassemble

Disassemble all the parts except the nib. We do not recommend disassembling the nib as this may void the pen’s warranty and risks bending the internal wire.

2. Rinse

Rinse the nib and any other soiled parts with water until no more ink comes out. If you are doing this at a sink, make sure to plug the drain to avoid losing small pieces.

3. Soak

Soak the pen parts in a cup of water. Keep changing the water as it becomes saturated with ink until it stays clear for an hour. You can purchase special cleaning bulbs for some pens that force water through the tip to clean it more thoroughly, similar to flushing a fountain pen with a converter.

4. Dry

Allow all of the parts to dry completely before filling them with ink and reassembling the pen. You can speed this up by tapping the parts gently to remove excess moisture and drying them with q-tips. Do not tap the pen tip against anything or you will damage it.

Line Variation
It’s best to store inked technical drawing pens on their sides. This helps prevent them from drying out or leaking into the cap. If you will not be using your pen for a while, clean it thoroughly before storage to prevent the ink from drying out and clogging the tip.
Technical Drawing Pen Test Results

We tested all of our technical drawing pens for resistance against water, Copic markers, and erasing. We allowed all samples to dry for 24 hours before testing.

All of these pens are lightfast except for the Tombow Mono Drawing Pens.

NameSwatchWater ResistanceCopic ResistanceLifting
Copic MultilinersCopic Multiliner Pens SwatchCopic Multiliner Pens Water ResistanceCopic Multiliner Pens Copic ResistanceCopic Multiliner Pens Lifting
Deleter Neopiko Line 3Deleter Neopiko Line 3 Pens SwatchDeleter Neopiko Line 3 Pens Water ResistanceDeleter Neopiko Line 3 Pens Copic ResistanceDeleter Neopiko Line 3 Pens Lifting
Faber-Castell PITT ArtistFaber-Castell PITT Artist Pens SwatchFaber-Castell PITT Artist Pens Water ResistanceFaber-Castell PITT Artist Pens Copic ResistanceFaber-Castell PITT Artist Pens Lifting
Koh-I-Noor RapidosketchKoh-I-Noor Rapidosketch Drawing Pens SwatchKoh-I-Noor Rapidosketch Drawing Pens Water ResistanceKoh-I-Noor Rapidosketch Drawing Pens Copic ResistanceKoh-I-Noor Rapidosketch Drawing Pens Lifting
Kuretake Zig Cartoonist MangakaKuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pens SwatchKuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pens Water ResistanceKuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pens Copic ResistanceKuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pens Lifting
Marvy Le Pen TechnicalMarvy Le Pen Technical Drawing Pens SwatchMarvy Le Pen Technical Drawing Pens Water ResistanceMarvy Le Pen Technical Drawing Pens Copic ResistanceMarvy Le Pen Technical Drawing Pens
Ohto Graphic LinerOhto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pens SwatchOhto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pens Water ResistanceOhto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pens Copic ResistanceOhto Graphic Liner Needle Point Drawing Pens Lifting
Pilot Drawing PensPilot Drawing Pens SwatchPilot Drawing Pens Water ResistancePilot Drawing Pens Copic ResistancePilot Drawing Pens Lifting
Rotring IsographRotring Isograph Pens SwatchRotring Isograph Pens Water ResistanceRotring Isograph Pens Copic ResistanceRotring Isograph Pens Lifting
Rotring TikkyRotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pens SwatchRotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pens Water ResistanceRotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pens Copic ResistanceRotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pens Lifting
Sakura Pigma MicronSakura Pigma Micron Pens SwatchSakura Pigma Micron Pens Water ResistanceSakura Pigma Micron Pens Copic ResistanceSakura Pigma Micron Pens Lifting
Staedtler Pigment LinerStaedtler Pigment Liner Pens SwatchStaedtler Pigment Liner Pens Water ResistanceStaedtler Pigment Liner Pens Copic ResistanceStaedtler Pigment Liner Pens Lifting
Tombow Mono Drawing PensTombow Mono Drawing Pens SwatchTombow Mono Drawing Pens Water ResistanceTombow Mono Drawing Pens Copic ResistanceTombow Mono Drawing Pens Lifting
Uni PinUni Pin Pens SwatchUni Pin Pens Water ResistanceUni Pin Pens Copic ResistanceUni Pin Pens Lifting

Do you want to review all of our recommended technical drawing pens at once? Use our comparison tool to see their specifications side by side.


Our writers draw on their personal expertise, consult our in-house subject matter experts, and do extensive research to make our guides as accurate and comprehensive as possible. We then test every finding that makes it through the research stage. Only the techniques and tools whose performance we personally confirm make it into our guides as recommendations.


Technical drawing pens are beloved by artists, engineers, and draftspeople alike for their extreme precision and wide variety of tip sizes. How do you use your technical drawing pens? Tell us in the comments below.

NameTip SizesTip Material / Replacement AvailableFilling SystemRefillableAdd to Cart
Copic Multiliner SP0.03 mm, 0.05 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mmPlastic / YesCartridgeYesAdd Items to Cart
Deleter Neopiko Line 30.03 mm, 0.05 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm, 2.0 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Faber-Castell PITT Artist 0.1 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.5 mm, 2.5 mm, Plastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch0.25 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.5 mm Metal / NoBottle (Included)YesAdd Items to Cart
Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka0.18 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.45 mm, 0.65 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Marvy Le Pen Technical0.03 mm, 0.05 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.8 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Ohto Graphic Liner0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.5 mmMetal / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Pilot Drawing Pens005, 01, 02, 03, 05, 08Plastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Rotring Isograph0.1 mm, 0.18 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mmMetal / YesBottleYesAdd Items to Cart
Rotring Tikky0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Sakura Pigma Micron0.15 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.35 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.45 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm, 2.0 mm, 3.0 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Staedtler Pigment Liner0.05 mm, 0.1 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.2 mm, 2.0 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Tombow Mono0.1 mm, 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.8 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart
Uni Pin0.05 mm, 0.28 mm, 0.33 mm, 0.38 mm, 0.4 mm, 0.49 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.55 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mmPlastic / NoInternalNoAdd Items to Cart