Pilot Oil-Based Drawing Pens

This is a just a quick note about the “new” (recently available on Jet Pens) Pilot oil-based drawing pens.  I bought the 01 and 03 versions of this pen as I was intrigued by the ‘oil-based’ approach.


I think it’s fair to say that the de facto standard in the nylon/felt drawing pen world is the Sakura Pigma Micron pen line and I’ll use them as a baseline because so many know these pens.

I must preface my comments with the realisation that most people don’t pay much attention to the actual sizes of tips of these pens and realize that a Micron 05 makes a thicker line than a Micron 03 but the actual thickness is not precisely indicated by those numbers.

So be it, but we also have expectations when it comes to this sort of labelling and expect that a Staedtler 03 won’t be too different from the Micron 03 in width.  That is the reason for this note.

PilotOil-BasedPensThis is displayed larger than life so that the line widths are easy to see.  I’ve left the Pilot pen lines unlabelled so that you can guess what I used to make them.  A hint can be found in my mention of which pens I bought 🙂

The thing is, these lines are from a Pilot 01 and 03 respectively.  You can see that they are much thicker than Micron lines labelled with the same numbers.  In fact, the Pilot 03 is so much thicker than a Micron 03 that it’s thicker than a Micron 08 as well.  This is no big deal if you know it to be the case before you buy but otherwise it comes as a big surprise.

4 thoughts on “Pilot Oil-Based Drawing Pens

  1. Wow, if I had bought a pilot 01 thinking I was getting a very thin line I would be so dissapointed.unreal how the pilot 08 is thicker than the 03 micron… these pens would not be for me..is use microns and rarely use anything larger than a 05. I usually use 01 or 03. I use thim for fine line sketches and drawings. If I do use the 05 micron it will be in a doodle, which if I use colored pencil to fill in and not Copic Markers ,ill just use a cheap sharpee fine pen and save my more expensive micron point ☺ thanks larry

    • Yep, that’s how I feel, Lynne. Their 01 is about as thick as I’d ever use. These won’t be getting a lot of use. I don’t use nylon-tipped pens very much but the one I use the most is a refillable Sharpie pen, and Sharpie pens are about equivalent to a Micron 03, only a lot cheaper. I sometimes use an 01 and for that I generally use Micron, though I’ve come to prefer Staedthler because the markings don’t rub off.

      Cheers — Larry

  2. How’s the ink itself? I don’t think I’ve ever tried a pen with oil-based ink. . . Interesting. Glad to see you doing your share of spending at Jetpens.

    • The ink is pretty much like Microns. Dries quick, waterproof, very black. I tried using them on sopping wet paper (ink goes everywhere just like Microns) and on damp paper (Micron ink will feather, Pilot ink retains its line).

      As for you using oil-based ink, if you’ve ever used a Bic pen you’ve used oil-based ink. True ‘ball-point’ pens are oil-based. Rollerball and gel pens are not but also aren’t waterproof. But newer, “hybrid” gel pens mix the two, creating a mostly waterproof, smooth-flowing ink. The Uniball Vision Elite and Uniball Signo UM-151 series are examples of this.

      Cheers — Larry

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