Tangling with ballpoint pen – Comparison between BIC and STAEDTLER

I just love tangling with ballpoint pen.

Ballpoint Pen Tangling by Ina Sonnenmoser

For this reason, I bought 2 packets of cheap ballpoint pen markers:

I already had a packet of BIC Cristal Original 1.0mm pens and also a few of the STAEDTLER ball 423 M. Now let’s see the difference between those pens:



The BIC Cristal 1.6mm ballpoint pen draws rather thick lines. The colors are very bright. They do tend to create ink blobs at the tip after a few lines. You will need to wipe the tip regularly on a tissue or piece of paper to avoid ink blobs.

The BIC Cristal Original 1.0mm writes a lot thinner.

Both BIC pens move effortlessly over the paper without the need to apply pressure.

The Staedtler ball 432 M appears to have a 1.0mm tip. The ink distribution is not as fast as on the BIC pens, which also means you have to wipe the tip less often. I prefer the Staedtler brand over the BIC when it comes to flicking or drawing with no pressure though. The difference in color when drawing lightly in comparison to adding multiple layers or applying more pressure is more prominent with the ink the Stadtler pens use.

The Staedtler ball 423 M are similar to the 432 M. The 432 has a lid and the 423 has a retractable tip. To me, the ink seems to be different from BIC. As soon as any oil from my hand is on the paper, the Staedtler pens won’t write. When that happens, I use an eraser to clean the surface of the oil. It does not happen very often because I always keep a piece of paper or tissue between my hand and the paper.

I prepared a color chart to compare the different values of the colors:

Ballpoint pen Color chart

And now you can see a huge difference! Green is not just green. And even the blacks show that it is easier to have a grey blend with the Staedtler than with the BIC. The BIC pen creates dark black lines when flicking. The Staedtler appears more grey and you have to add a lot more layers to get to the darkest black.

Excuse my lousy attempt at creating a gem/crystal in ballpoint pen. I want to show what’s possible, but don’t want to start drawing right now 🙂

I created this drawing to see how far I can go with blending using the Staedtler pens.

Ballpoint Tangling by Ina Sonnenmoser

Testing will continue right after I am back from holiday 🙂

Happy tangling!



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