When it comes to personal preferences, there’s one office tool that people have strong opinions about—pens. We recently connected with architectural interior designer Jen Dallas who shared her personal favorite writing tool and why it’s a must-have whether you’re sketching out design plans or just taking notes.
What item made your work life easier this week/month/lately?
Jen Dallas: My pen collection! I sketch all of my design ideas freehand. It is an excellent way to convey an idea quickly and help my clients visualize my vision. I have tried many pens over the years. I actually have a special love for office supplies. But I have finally found the best pens to assist me:
Pilot Fineliner Markers
Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Markers
JD: I only use these two pens for these sketches. I use this Pilot Fineliner for sketching. If it is an elevation, I will quickly add a single line of a fine point Sharpie to the bottom of the sketch. It makes a quick sketch look clean and has a nice style to it. I also always add my signature “dot”. The best squick sketches often show the artist has some sort of signature that makes their drawing pop.
Copic Sketch Markers
JD: If you wish to add color, I like to use Copic markers. I find the colors they offer are great for architectural drawings. Sometimes when using a marker, less is more, and these markers allow you to do more of a light wash than a strong marker look on paper.
Why is this item so great?
JD: The lines that the pen makes are consistent and don’t get blurry. It’s a simple pen—some pens can get too complicated or fine. To me, the point of the pen is perfect. The Copic markers have the best colors for architectural drawings.
Where/how do you use this item most?
JD: I use pens for all of my sketches, from elevations to perspectives. I use the red for drawings or to add critical dimensions, and I use both the Copic markers and the fine liners daily.
How did you discover this item?
JD: When I was working for an architect, I noticed that they had the black fine line pens in their office, and I got to try one. They gave one to me, I started to use them, and I fell in love. I went to the art supply store soon after to pick me up some of my own. I’ve always been extremely picky about the pens I use, so when I find one I like, I’m 100% faithful!
Will you use this item in the future?
JD: I don’t see why I would change my pens. Although I consistently try others for different techniques with my drawing, I see these as always being my main pen of choice. I love the markers, too, and have no reason to change that—unless they change the markers in some way I wouldn’t like!
How has this item made your job easier?
JD: When using the fine line pens, I don’t have to redraw or clean up my drawings because the pen never blurs or messes up the drawing quality. It saves me time. The Copic markers are refillable, which is great. I have a few of my favorite colors I use all the time. I used to keep extra markers on hand, but now, I have refills to use to fill my favorites back up. It's better for the environment too, so it's a win-win.
How might someone not in your line of work benefit from this item?
JD: I think these pens are great for everyone. They are weighty, easy to hold, inexpensive, and have a tough tip so you don’t have to replace them often. I like the point of the line, and you can use them for almost any project or task that requires a pen.
What, if anything, would you change about this item?
JD: The Copic markers can be bought with different types of tips. I wish they were more clear on which marker has what tip. I prefer the one with a wide tip on one end and a wider one on the other. I don’t use a brush end, but I have made the mistake of grabbing the color I want with the wrong tip.
Are there any care/use tips someone considering this item should know about?
JD: You definitely need to replace the cap when not in use, or the tip will dry out.