Toolbox Tuesday – Markers

As an author I sign books. Since most of my books are sold as ebooks, this happens only a few times a year when I’m at events like Gay Rom Lit or various pride celebrations in my neck of the woods.

GRL SD bookIf you’ve had an author sign a book for you, it’s often with these results on the following page. Bleed through.

A lot of authors use Sharpie markers to sign. These markers write in nearly every surface, so they are a must, especially if signing glossy paper or photos, but when you put a Sharpie to the porous paper on the inner title page of a book, where most authors sign, it is guaranteed to bleed through the page.

Alcohol in the ink is what causes the ink to bleed. So what’s an author to do?

There are several options out there on the market, and now that the coloring craze has taken over the world, more and more companies are making products designed not to ruin paper. I’m going to tell you about two.

For the last few years, my go-to pen for signing books is Staedtler triplus® fineliner. I have the 10 pack that comes in a handy-dandy case-turned-stand which makes all the colors easy to use, especially since I draw a little when I sign a book. :) These are also three-sided makers, so the grip is really comfortable.

HUGE bonus with these, they are what Staedtler calls Dry Safe. You can keep the cover off the marker for days and the marker won’t dry out. Huge bonus if you’re the easily distracted type like me.

Yet, I felt limited in my colors. There was no purple, for instance. What writer of gay fiction can live without purple, I ask you? So I went a hunting for more colors. Staedtler also makes 36 packs, but I kept reading good things about Stabilo pens.

Stabilo won’t bleed, and we had a few around the house, so I already knew I liked how they wrote. So for Christmas, I put markers on my list. And I got them! These are Stabilo Art Pen 88.

They work just as great. I use them to sign books and for everyday note keeping. I can now write on both side of the pages in my journals. I have a ton of colors too, and I had to include the shot of the open top on the roller pack, because the color you want is easy to get to even without opening.

Both of these are very fine point markers. There are times I wanted a larger point. One of the reasons I think a lot of authors have gone over to the Sharpie, aside from ease of buying them, is that they fill the space on the page. It can be nerve wracking to try to figure out some quippy or personal something on the fly after first meeting a reader. These lovely people have read my books, have dug into parts of my heart and soul, yet I don’t know most of them. So to use a marker to fill up that space with less words…. Ahhhhh!

I’m trying to get better at that personal message thing. It’s a work in progress. Please be patient.

On my Christmas wish list was also the larger tipped Stabilo Art Pen 68. Here is the difference in point size. Staedtler triplus® fineliner is on the left, Stabilo 88 is in the center, and Stabilo 68 is on the right.


So how do they write? That’s the proof. I wrote with the Stabilo 68 and the Staedtler so you can compare, then I flipped over the paper. :)

Whether you’re an author signing books or someone who simply loves writing in journals, both types of pens are fantastic. They also work for coloring, if markers are your thing. You’ll still want to have a Sharpie around for photos and such, but these are a great investment.

If you know of any other markers that come in great colors and don’t bleed through paper, I’d love to hear about them. I’m ready to try all the markers in the world!


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