Similar to science, playing with pens involves experimentation.  I recently read a post authored by Heather of A Penchant for Paper on writing on dark paper, and here is a response to her question on which pens might be good for dark paper.


  1. Faber-Castell PITT artist pen in silver:  Out of the 8 media I tested, the saturation of this pen is the strongest, and most visible, given the ink is pigmented.  On top of it, the ink is also waterproof and has maximum lightfastness (i.e. resistance to light).  
  2. Pilot Latte writes similarly to Sakura Soufflé.  At first contact with paper, the ink appears opaque but as it dries, it becomes matte.  Compare to Sakura Soufflé, the ink consistency is thinner.  
  3. Sakura Soufflé is a versatile craft pen.  Same as Pilot Latte, Soufflé can be use on paper, glass, and plastic.  Because the high viscosity of the ink, one needs to write slower than usual to allow the ink to flow smoothly.  The drying time for Soufflé is also a lot longer than Latte.
  4. Sakura Glaze does not show up as well as I predicted.  As its name suggested, the “glaze” gives out a bit of shimmer, in turn makes the text visible.  I would use it for darker paper of lighter shade (e.g. kraft).
  5. If I believe correctly, Pentel Hybrid has been discontinued.  I just happened to have one hanging around and if I remembered correctly, I have the pen since 2000 (!), and yes, it still writes.  Unlike other craft pens I have used, I do not have to adjust writing speed for the ink to flow freely.  Opposite of Glaze, Pentel Hybrid shows up a lot better on darker paper than lighter ones.
  6. This is not the best example of Sakura Aqualip, since the one I have is white, which dries clear.  Since the pen meant to give a 3-D effect, the text is visible due to the rise.  I imagine other shade of Aqualip might show up better.
  7. Just for my own experiment, I try out Derwent metallic pencils on dark paper.  The result varies by color.  Colors that are closer to paper itself will not show up as well as contrasting color.  
  8. This is not a pen, but an ink.  I use Royal Talens gouache mixture with a dip pen, which is my preferred method when using darker paper.  One of the shortcoming is that it is not waterproof.  The alternative to that will be using an acrylic gouache in metallic tones or lighter hues.
What are your top choices for pairing with dark paper?

9 thoughts on “Response: Writing on Dark Paper

  1. Writing on dark paper is always so tricky (specially with white or yellow), but personally I like the J. Herbin pigmented inks and pair them with dip nibs, I think that gives the best result 🙂


  2. Thanks for this follow-up post, Shangching! It's great to see some more samples of different pens and inks on dark paper. The silver Faber-Castell PITT pen looks really great, and the Latte and Souffle are pretty nice as well. I also like the gouache idea.


  3. I tried J.Herbin's pearlescent ink before using metallic tone gouache, and I find that gouache actually is less finicky than J. Herbin. Even after diluting it with small amount of water, J. Herbin's pigmented ink is still a bit too thick. Maybe it is user error after all 🙂


  4. The PITT marker is probably the best out of the batch, and just imagine the gold or bronze colored ones! Between Latte and Souffle, I will probably go with the latter, since the ink is thicker and gives it a 3D look. Gouache is great, especially if you paint as well. In my opinion, it is just the right consistency and easy to clean up. I hope you find this post helpful 🙂


  5. I don't have JH's pigmented ink, but I did try out the pearlescent ones. It has a great effect, but the ink consistency can be a bit finicky. I usually need to water it down a bit for it to coat nicely on a nib. Would try out the pigmented ones when I have a chance.

    Thank you for stopping by!


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