Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen – White Ink

31 01 2011

First doodles, then writing


It’s like writing with powdered liquid angels. (By the way, the caption border of this thing keeps resizing…and if it’s still doing that while you’re reading this, know that I gave up on trying to fix it)

I ordered this pen because I like to pretend that I know what I’m doing with art supplies. There was no other reason. I had no need for it, no intended use even. It was once again the product of whimsy and foolishness (nature’s best intellectual combination, to be sure).

Each pen is made of 47% post-processed recycled angels, for a cleaner environment.

Overall, the pen has a nice, clean, bright sort of look to it. I feel like a white-ink pen should have a minimalist aesthetic going on, lest it risk looking pompously ostentatious. This pen has some ornamentation, but not too much.

But then we roll the pen over and it's nothing but ostentation. And by ostentation, I mean words...words I can't read.

I do think it’s weird that the barcode and all this…well, whatever is written here is printed directly onto the barrel instead of being printed on a sticker that could be peeled off. Sorta kills the minimalization I was hoping for.

The barrel of the pen is made of that same hard, crack-prone plastic I complained about with the Platinum Preppy fountain pen–and my pen is already showing cracks along the barrel, running through and perpendicular to the gold band. It hasn’t had any impact on functionality yet, it just makes the pen look a little battle-worn…but I’m not sure that’s the look I want for this kind of pen.

Oh my. This is dirty. This...this needs to be cleaned.

While the writing is smooth, it easily starts getting caked around the tip until it looks like you’ve been writing with sloppy milkshakes. Potentially related to this problem, it will sometimes take a few strokes to get the pen writing. Once it’s going, the pen is a smooth sailor, barring the occasional rollerball blanking stripe (or, whatever you call that phenomenon (which I originally typed as “penomenon” (someone please start a pen blog called Penomenon)) where the pen will fail to leave ink in the middle of the line). I did run into some smudging from the ink taking too long to dry, and the doodles I did on the black paper later left a LOT of post-dried ink smudge on the adjacent black cover.


It will remain this clean for one, maybe two lines of writing.

I haven’t had any smudging so far on the brown paper, so perhaps we’ll write that up as a paper issue–this pen can smudge, post-drying, on the right (wrong?) kinds of paper.

For a straight-up sketching tool, I found the pen unwieldy. It’s a broad gel pen, so I really should have seen this coming, but the last time I wrote in white was with easily manipulable white pencils. And by wrote, I mean drew.  There isn’t a wide berth for nuance here, unless you’re working on a larger scale than I did.

Now let’s not beat the pen up too badly (because, as I mentioned, it’s prone to cracking, and I don’t want my pens to have any mental breakdowns while on review). This is a nice, thick, opaque white ink we get to lay down here. Good enough to even be used for writing, which some weak-willed milksop white pens probably can’t do. If you want to write in white, then this pen will get you there.

SAI Outline brush & watercolor brushes, Kuretake small compact water brush, and this here white gel pen.

But I don’t think this pen was particularly designed for writing so much as being part of a supporting cast in a piece of artwork. With that in mind, let’s put it to the test on some really terrible artwork.

You can almost get the idea of how, in capable hands, this white gel pen might be applied judiciously toward bringing out highlights in a visually pleasing and subtle manner. On a “slapped together in less than ten minutes during my lunch break” manner, you just get this. The underlying color peeks through a little, and if that’s not your thing, then slap another layer of gel pen on there. I could see this becoming an indispensable art tool for me, after a few months or years practice so that I’d know what I’m doing.

But that isn’t the only artistic application of this versatile pen. You can also…

...give yourself a French manicure.

It’s not waterproof though, so get a really sturdy, chip-resistant clear polish top-coat to put over it. I used a really old, chip-enhancing clear polish top-coat to waste my time and render the entire nail production worthless after a few hours of using my hands. But it looked nice while it lasted, and the French pedicure, protected in socks and shoes, is still going strong.

I almost got the hang of making really good doodles with this pen

If you need a white pen because you’re one of those people who knows what to do with a white pen, but for some reason don’t have one, this is a good pen. Just watch out for rollerball streaking, and make sure you don’t drag your hand through the ink before it’s dry (or after it’s dry, if your hands are sweaty). And heck, if you’re not one of those people, but just want a white pen, it’ll be good for you, too. If you don’t want or need a white pen, do I really need to tell you not to buy it? Why are you trusted with money?

I think this pen and this notebook go well together. I think their relationship is going places.

Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen – White Ink at JetPens




7 responses

1 02 2011
John M.

I got this pen for my wife before Christmas. It works really well on green and red cards. The white stands out well since it’s a broad tip. I also have the Uni-ball Signo Angelic UM-120AC 0.7mm White (made with 120 high octane angel dust) but it doesn’t stand out as well as the broad tip.

18 04 2011
James Beckman

Hey what is the journal/notepad you used with this pen and where can i get one! It looks awesome.

6 09 2011
fountain pen, fountain pens

Someone essentially assist to make severely posts I might state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up amazing. Great task!

15 06 2012
Daycraft Cookie Bookie « No Pen Intended

[…] think I’ve found my new perfect paper for writing with the Uni Signo Broad white gel ink pen. Look at that ink […]

30 01 2013

I need a white gel ink pen that would easily dry but would also easily come off when I’m done without using acetone or thinner as I will only be using it for outline/mapping on vinyl painted with heat set paint. Will this work?

The sakura is cheaper, the uni ball angelic slightly cheaper than the uni ball broad, then there’s also the pentel hybrid which is about the same price as the uni ball angelic, and there’s the pilot brand which is the next cheapest thing to the sakura.

Of these, what would address my needs for the white ink gel pen? Thanks.

1 02 2013
No Pen Intended

I’m not sure what would be best, but you might want to look into chalk pens like the Kuretake Post-Chalk dry-wipe pen. It writes on and erases off of pretty much anything, though I don’t know how heat set paint would impact it. Unfortunately I don’t have the materials to test the pens that I have to see how they would behave in the situation you describe. My best advice would be to do a little mock-up test on a scrap of the same material first to see if it will do what you want, then use it for the larger work.

1 02 2013

“Slapped together in 10 minutes” how jealous am I, can’t draw to save my life!
Smudging due to being slow drying was an issue I noted whilst reviewing this pen in gold, which is a shame as its a nice smooth writer

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