Mark your Markers

Do you ever buy multiples of the same marker or pen? I do! When I find a pen I like I buy it in bulk, baby! 

But… I’m not always smart about it.

I store the pens I use the most in cups on my desk*… I’ll put multiples of the same pen in the same cup. What ends up happening is that I use all of the pens a little bit at a time, and I can’t ever find a consistent “juicy” pen when I need it. 

So, I implemented a system: Marking my markers! Only 2 pens of the same kind can go in the cup. All the others go in my supplies drawer. I have a “use” pen and a “reserve” pen. The “use” pen is the one I try to use first, and I’ll label it in some way so it’s easy to identify. But, sometimes you need a juicy new pen! Your “use” pen can be a little dry, or the tip might be worn, or the black isn’t as dark as when you first opened it… so I use the reserve pen as a backup for those situations. 

This creates a natural cycle. The “use” pen gets used up quickly because you’re using it more often, and the “reserve” pen gets used slowly. Once the “use” pen is all used up or dry or damaged, the “reserve” becomes the “used” and I restock a fresh pen to be the new “reserve.” 

Here’s a few pens I have in the rotation right now:

  • I use my Elegant Writer in my watercolor paintings, and I have 4 different ones “in stock.” I keep blue painter’s tape around my “use” pen and another one in my supplies case. The other 2 are in storage.
  • I LOVE the UniPin fine line brush markers, but they do dry out and the nibs can get worn down fast, so I keep a “use” and a “reserve” in my cup. I’ve marked my “use” pen with pink acrylic marker on the top of the cap and the side.
  • Tombow Monotwins: I buy them buy the box! These were the first pens where I started using my marking system. I used to just use the marker to color out some of the white label so I could find it, but it’s not very obvious or easy to see. I think the blue painter’s tape or acrylic marker on the cap top and side of the marker is a much better visual cue, so I don’t scribble out the labels in black anymore. 

The last benefit to marking your markers? You can always tell your pens apart from others’!

*Always check the packaging for how to store pens/markers. Some need to be stored horizontally instead of vertically.