Best Pen for Drawing Portraits

Chapter 2: Monami Fx Style + Monami bp 153

You may have read my previous post regarding Monami Cartoon 153 pens where I’ve told the story of how I was on a quest to find the perfect pen for drawing and I stumbled upon the company Monami Korea.

For the longest time I was trying out different pens: marker pens, fineliners, ballpoint pens, pens, pens, pens in order to find the one which suited my style best. And I didn’t even think I had a distinctive style – I just wanted something that would have the characteristics of a pencil so I could draw the tiny details and not make them as bold as the rest. And the hair, oh the hair, one of my biggest problems. I just couldn’t draw hair with a fineliner, because it would come out too bold, too sharp and too messy, no matter how small the nib size was.

And then I tried using various ballpoint pens. I was satisfied with the general look and feel – being able to actually draw without it looking like a printed coloring book, as I did with fineliners. But still, those ballpoint pens weren’t the best option because they really bled a lot, and every once in a while I would move my hand and smudge the drawing and then I would spend the rest of the time trying to fix it (in which I would rarely succeed).

The Scavenger
drawing with fineliners in 2017
aquaman unfinished
drawing with a random ballpoint pen in January 2019

So I was searching for a tool which would have the following qualities:

  • easy to control the thickness and thinness of the line
  • won’t smudge
  • handy for sketching
drawing with Monami ballpoint 153 & Monami Fx Style

Since pictures (and drawings) speak more than words, you can see that Monami bp 153 has the characteristics I mentioned. But what was surprise to me was actually the other pen Monami was generous enough to send me to sample – Monami Fx Style. It draws really thin lines so it’s suitable for more detailed and tiny work. I was incredibly satisfied with the style of drawing I got when combining these two Monami pens in my recent works.

Sketching with pencils isn’t for me because it always smudges, and I really like strong and visible lines in my illustrations. But I don’t want them to be to bold, because it doesn’t look that well with the other materials I use such as watercolors. Creating with Monami bp 153 has the feel of the pencil, but the lines are more prominent and won’t be covered when painting. Exactly what I was looking for!

Have you tried these pens and what do you think?


Monami Carton 153 Ballpoint pens set review

A long time ago in a galaxy called the Internet I was stalking other artists to find the perfect pen when I saw the Monami 153 Cartoon ballpoint pens. I remember it was the green one I saw first and I liked the design so much that the quality didn’t even matter to me. But unfortunately those pens were nowhere to be found in the country where I live. After months of searching and watching timelapse videos with these pens on Instagram, I decided to reach out to the company that produces them, Monami Korea.  They were so amazing and considerate that they sent me a whole parcel with samples to try out. So now I get to make a review!

Well that was a beautiful story. And with a happy ending too, because I am even more satisfied with the pens than I imagined I would be.

Please don’t think I’m going to sugarcoat this review because I got a bunch of things for free. It is my pleasure to write this first review of many to come and I will be 100% honest. Otherwise what’s the point?

So here’s a video of me sketching with Monami 153 Cartoon ballpoint pens. Because pictures and especially videos speak for themselves better than I do (especially since English is not my mother tongue).

This set includes 12 0.5mm oil-based ballpoint pens in 12 different colors. They are packed in a beautiful transparent bag with slider which you can carry anywhere. The best thing is that each pen has different tiny supercute illustrations. They are coordinated with cute color names (I wrote them on the photo on the right). I don’t know about you, but the design of the products I use is really important to me. I loved how it was done with care – it’s simply a joy to look at these pens. Another thing I liked is that they are also practical – easy to hold and control and carry with you.

What I like the most is you can use these pens in variety of ways (one example are the drawings I did which you can see below). You can write wit them or sketch with them. Personally, I think it’s really fun to use them instead of the usual black pen to make a layout of my drawing.

You can watch the video of me writing this on my Instagram story. You can always find it in the highlight: Monami.
Let’s look at some pros and cons written in my handwriting which I hope you’ll be able to read, hehe.
A closer look at some pros:

0.5mm makes it really easy to sketch tiny details and when you apply pressure you can get bolder lines, so it’s really easy to use it almost as you would use a pencil.

I always draw first a sketch with a pencil so it’s important to me that I can draw over the pencil. Some pens can’t do that, but this one I have tried out and it works perfectly.

The only cons I could think of:

On the other hand, yes, it does bleed a little, but I always keep a tissue nearby to clean it. It’s not as bad as some other pencils I’ve used, so I don’t think this is going to be a huge problem. I’m looking for some tips on how to use pens that bleed, so feel free to comment if you have an answer!

The other thing I forgot to write is that the last two colors which should be neon aren’t that visible on the white paper.

Please let me know if you’ve tried these out, if you have some tips and if you have any questions at all!