In this article you will find reviews of just a few of the best gel pens for coloring. Adult coloring has become a very popular hobby over the last few years and I have also found it to be a great pass time for kids. If you are a beginner just looking for information on gel pens then you have come to the right place. I am sure you will find a gel pen set that is best suited for you.
Editor’s Top Pick
Best Gel Pens for coloring
My Paletteus Artist Gel Pens – 48 pens and 48 refills + carrying case
The affordability of gel pens make them a good choice for artist and colorists. Many sets can be bought below $20 which allows for testing different brands until you find what suits you. Our choice for the best gel pens is only a recommendation and is based on the user experience and feedback. Feel free to continue reading my article and reviews to pick up some more helpful information and be sure to like us on Facebook or bookmark this page as we update frequently.
For your convenience here are the brands reviewed.
Best Gel Pens In 2021:
- ColorIt Gel Pens – 48 count
- Castle Art Supply Gel Pens – 100 count
- Shuttle Art 360 Gel Pens – 180 count
- Reaeon Glitter Gel Pens – 100 count
- My Paletteus Artist Gel Pens – 48 count
Top 5 Reviews of the Best Gel Pens for Coloring
I researched and picked out 5 of the best gel pens for coloring based on customer reviews. All of the pens below are popular among actual people that have used them and will work for adult coloring books. I also chose these because the prices are reasonable and all of them are within just a few dollars of each other.
1. ColorIt Gel Pens
This set of gel pens has many five star reviews and would make a great choice for someone looking for a nice mix of colors including 12 metallic, 12 neon and 24 glitter with refills. Comes with a nice carrying case for on the go coloring. As a side note the gift box is an extra that according to the manufacturer can be used to store your art supplies.
- 0.8mm – 1.0mm tip sizes
- Extra refill for every color
- Good variety for beginners
- Comes with magnetic gift box plus a carrying case
- Case holds pens snug
- Many 5 star reviews found online
- Dries fast
- Non-toxic and acid free
- Needs more colors
- Some pens may need to be broke in
This set of gel pens would probably make a great gift to someone who loves to color adult coloring books as a hobby. Overall reviews show these pens write smooth with the exception of some needing to be tested and broken in on some scrap paper. These are probably better for adding more variety to an existing set of gel pens.
2. Castle Art Supply Gel Pens
This is a larger set of 100 that gives plenty of colors to go around. Once you unfold the plastic case you will find the swirl, neon, metallic, pastel and glitter gel pens. The only information I could find on the tip size was just a fine tip. This would suggest a typical gel pen tip of around 0 .8mm to 1.0mm since this seems to be around the norm on gel pens for coloring.
- Smooth writing and coloring
- Plenty of colors including some flesh tones
- Fine tip
- Good quality and customer service
- Great gift for any artist or colorist
- Some papers may not work as well
- No indicated tip size from manufacturer
- Case could be a bit flimsy
- No refills
I did read one customer review that mentioned the case splitting but this could be that it was a gift to a younger child. Good snapping caps ensure the tips do not dry up and research shows customers were ecstatic about all the pens working with just a few exceptions. Excellent gift for adults or kids but may need a different storage option for younger children.
3. Shuttle Art 360 Gel Pens
This is a large set of 180 pens and 180 refills that should last for quite a while making this a great set for adult coloring. These are ballpoint gel pens measuring 0.8mm to 1.0mm. They have snapping caps and are stored in plastic trays labeled 1 through 9 with 20 pens in each tray. Smooth ink transfer from pen to paper works especially well for cheap gel pens for coloring books.
- Extra-large set with some new colors
- Smooth non scratch bullet tips
- 180 refills
- Triangular grip
- Fine tip
- More refills may be available
- Caps could be difficult to remove
- Pens are not labeled or numbered
- Caps do not match the ink color
There are so many colors here that some colors look very close to the same. Plenty of customer feedback shows that this set contains new colors that may not be available with other sets. Some kind of labeling may need to be done unless you keep the pens in the corresponding tray to match the refills along with color charts since the cap colors may be slightly different from the actual ink itself.
4. Reaeon Glitter Gel Pens
A pack of 100 gel pens with 100 refill tubes that have glitter in the ink. 62 glitter and 38 neon glitter. Being non-toxic, acid-free, and lead-free makes this my top choice for kids even though they would satisfy anyone who likes adult coloring.
- Pens are labeled and numbered to match refills
- Glitter is balanced nicely
- Good Quality
- A large variety of colors
- Secure caps
- Unique colors
- Numbers on pens and refills may be hard to read
- Could use ink up faster
- Cap color may not match ink exactly
I have always liked the idea of glitter in gel pens as this adds a nice pop to any piece of artwork. Expect extra glitter to be in these gel pens as one customer review did not approve of the amount of glitter indicating it was too much. Overall the positive feedback far outweighed the negative and this leads me to believe these would be a nice choice for someone looking to add a little sparkle to their life.
5. My Paletteus Artist Gel Pens
Beginners take note because this might be the best gel pen set for coloring as it comes with a completely redone leather carrying case that holds 48 pens and 48 refills. You get 24 glitters, 12 metallics, and 12 neon with rubber grips that help make the pen more comfortable in your hand. Smooth 0.8mm and 1.0mm ballpoint tips write smooth and crisp lines.
- Easy to hold
- Smooth and precise lines and strokes
- Non-toxic and acid-free
- Upgraded leather carrying case with mesh pocket
- Sealing caps
- Labeled and numbered
- Caps could be fragile
I was somewhat impressed with the customer reviews on these gel pens as they all really love the product. The new and improved leather carrying case helps with organization and portability. This brand claims to be a gelly roll ink which is some of the best inks that many artists love.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are gel pens used for?
Gel pens are used for writing and illustration mostly but are becoming quite popular for coloring and decorative lettering. Glitter gel pens can be used to add that extra flair to older art pieces and make really nice postcards for the holidays or any occasion.
Can you color with gel pens?
Coloring with gel pens has become fairly popular over the years and seems to grow still. Adults are also finding that coloring is a great release after a hard day’s work as it is relaxing and helps to take your mind off of the stressful things throughout the day.
Do gel pens bleed through the paper?
Gel pens have thick gel ink and are designed to not bleed. Some brands have a wetter ink that could bleed on some thinner papers but this type is preferred because the wetter ink allows for blending using your finger or a brush. Other types of gel pens have a faster drying time and almost never bleed through the paper.
How should I store gel pens?
This might be somewhat of a controversial subject for some professional artists but most seem to store with the tips up. This seems to be the most recommended method used when storing gel pens. Dropping the pens can cause air bubbles to form in the tube and will cause the ink to skip when coloring or writing.
I found the above video to be a very helpful source for some of the basics to use when coloring with gel pens.
Coloring With Gel Pens
Before you start coloring be sure to have some scratch paper to test your colors on and check the pen tips for ink flow. If a pen does not write then try tapping the pen tip on the surface to get the ball rolling.
First, you want to choose the colors you are going to begin coloring with. This is usually a light, medium, and dark tone if you are going for a realistic approach. In general, you will be working with the light colors first and then adding the darker tones. This helps to keep your color clean and your contrast sharp. Working from dark to light can cause a muddy look if you are not extra careful.
Highlighting With Gel Pens
One of the reasons gel pens differ from standard pens is the white gel pen. This pen is used to color on darker papers such as black. They can be used to add highlights to your gel pen art by applying the white after all the gel has dried. All white gel pens do not perform the same when applied to a darker surface. You may find a white paint pen will also work but may not be as good for some of the finer details Some brands tend to dry and lose their brilliance but I did find one that I recommend as the best white gel pen to hold its color and brilliance.
These Sakura White Gelly Roll Pens should do the trick.
Another type of gel pen that many people do not realize is the clear glitter gel pen. You can use these to add sparkle to other finished colorings. They work well on markers or colored pencils and even oil-based colored pencils which can take your older art to the next level. Adding glitter to your highlight from the white pen can create a very nice shimmering effect.
The Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust Pen works very well for this technique.
Shade and Texture Techniques To Try With Gel Pens
When coloring with gel pens you will find that the ink is somewhat different and transfers to the paper more smoothly than with standard pens. When I was in art school they gave us a lesson just on pen and ink. The tools were somewhat different because we used quill pens and dip pens with various types of tips or nibs and the main focus were on illustration. We also only used black ink.
I have found that these same techniques can be used with gel pens and give texture and depth to your artwork. Care should be taken when using a straight edge as it is easy to start hurrying your lines and the next thing you know you have ink where you did not want it. Listed below are some basic beginner techniques that work very well with gel pens.
This is just a series of parallel lines used to add texture and shading. Drawing lines closer together will give you a darker value and a wider spacing would indicate your light source. Hatching is also a good way to add textures to something like boards and trees. Using a straight edge of a ruler or triangle will help to keep things neat and clean when shading while more of a freehand style may be used to create textures but not always. That part depends entirely on the effect you’re going for.
Being very similar to hatching, cross-hatching just adds another line going the opposite direction on your paper. Be sure to explore all types of variations such as an “X” pattern to give a real neat diamond shape. For really dark areas you can add more lines going in other directions to create a completely different effect. Patience and practice come in handy with this style of art.
This is the art of taking anything from a dot to a pattern and being repeated for texture and some cool effects for shading. Although slow, using dots is a very effective technique to indicate shading especially if you are being somewhat precise with the placement. Repeating patterns are really nice to create a certain texture that can really make your artwork pop. The sky’s the limit with what you can do with this particular style. This technique comes from a pointillism style of art.
Using a dry brush to pull the ink can create some really nice effects. Just remember that some gel pens dry faster than others so be sure to have your brush ready. Blending can also be done in this way. You can try different types of brushes to get a multitude of effects. You can also take a toothpick to separate the bristles and get even more types of patterns. Always test your pens and brushes before applying them to the actual piece you are working on as this will save you time by not having to fix or erase mistakes.
Conclusion To The Best Gel Pens For Coloring
Well first off I have to say that there is a lot more to gel pens than I thought before all the research. There are some things I think you should take note of before buying a set of gel pens.
Things like air bubbles in the ink can be overcome by gently tapping the pen on a piece of scrap paper. You may also try storing the pens with the tips down but be careful of possible leaks into the cap as splattering can occur when taking the cap off.
Almost all gel pens will have some colors that might not come out smoothly or feel scratchy when first using them. One possible reason could be the gel has created a film over the tip and needs to be cleaned off. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to press firmly on a scrap piece of paper and make scribbles until the ink starts flowing. If the first one did not work you could try to heat the tip being careful not to melt the barrel of the pen.
My Recommendation for Best Gel Pens For Artist And Colorists.
It was not very hard for me to decide on what I think are the best gel pens for coloring. I highly recommend My Paletteus Artist Gel Pens because of 2 factors mostly. These are high-quality gelly roll gel pens and an awesome leather carrying case. This is a perfect choice for a beginner while also having the high quality for adult coloring artists out there.
Well, I hope this review has been an inspiration and helps you find your way on your journey to find the best gel pens for coloring.