Inking 101: The Mighty Pigma Micron

Pro-level drafting tools can often be painfully expensive, or so specialised that they can be difficult to obtain (especially in South Africa).  Luckily, there are some gems that are both affordable, and likely to be in your favourite artist’s pencil bag too. Case in point, the Sakura Pigma Micron.

Pigma Micron pens in carry bag

Microns just seem to pop up everywhere.  They’re incredibly widely available, and very affordable for what they are. A brief history of their existence can be summed up into a single sentence:  They were essentially created to replace the expensive and unwieldy rapidograph pens.

Rapidograph pens are refillable drafting pens with steel nibs.  While you can get great results with them, they are messy to use and refill, require special inks, and cost an arm and a leg.  While they’re still available albeit difficult to find, they are slowly dying out as artists and draftsmen alike are switching to reliable, affordable, and accessible disposable technical pens, such as the Micron variety.

Ink Pens
Illustration with Pigma Micron Pens

Microns, unlike rapidographs, have a firm felt tip which helps with smooth inkflow.  The ink itself is archival pigment ink for waterproof and fade proof lines, making them perfect for artwork that will withstand the test of time.  The standard ink is jet black, however, these pens also come in a variety of vibrant colours. The nib sizes vary wildly as Microns can be found in sizes 0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.8, 1mm (Pigma Graphic 1), 2mm (Pigma Graphic 2, chisel tip), BR (Pigma Brush Pen), and more.

What’s great about Microns is that you may see someone in high school using one to take notes, but in actual fact, many/most pro inkers working for the likes of Marvel and DC Comics swear by them – you may even have seen them in your favourite Batman or Spider-Man comic already without realising!

Sakura Micron Pens
Christi du Toit illustration

We’ve snapped a few photos of our process here, which shows the initial pencil sketch, the finished inked artwork (using Pigma Microns only) and the final, scanned and digitally coloured comic book character, ready for printing! This just shows how easy it is to get professional results with these handy tools.

If you’re new to technical pens, and interested in trying Microns for your own work, we have sets available that have a few preselected pen sizes which give you a variety to try out.  On the other hand, if you’re already using Microns, and want to stock up, we have the individual pens available in a variety of nib styles, sizes and colours too.

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