Uniball Signo UM 153 (White Gel Pen)

Uniball Signo UM 153 (White Gel Pen)

I am on the hunt for a method for adding white, opaque ink to my artwork. There’s nothing like a white detail to bring an otherwise flat piece of artwork to life, and I love experimenting with dimension. The Uniball Signo UM 153 has been my first white ink experiment, which I chose based on a study of different product reviews on Amazon.

Uniball Signo UM 153 closeup with details white gel pen

Below is a list of its pros and cons, based entirely on my own experience using it:

Pros

  • Opaque

This pen is a white gel pen, so the ink sits on top of whatever else you’ve done instead of fading in or blending. It’s nice and opaque, which means it really pops on colorful or dark backgrounds. Here’s the first piece of artwork I made using the pen, which was super fun to create:

white and black pen on gouache
White gel pen and black marker on top of a gouache and watercolor background
  • Easy to Use

Because it’s a gel pen and not a paintbrush or a pen and ink setup, the Uniball Signo UM 153 is really easy to use. It’s great for making art in a house with toddlers, because I can pick it up and set it down without worrying about any cleanup. That earns MAJOR bonus points right now!

  • Bright White

As you can see, the ink in this gel pen is a brilliant white. I can’t see any touches of cream or grey in this one, which is exactly what I wanted. Here’s another recent piece that shows off the clarity of its color:

white gel pen uniball artwork moon and stars
An illustration of the moon and stars using a white gel pen

Cons

  • Uneven Flow

Unfortunately, this white gel pen does have its downsides. My main problem with it is that the flow can be really uneven, and I can’t figure out what I can do to make it more predictable. It’s also really hard to get any sort of coverage over a stroke that didn’t fill in well originally, so it’s not like I can just wait a bit and go back to fix it. Doing so can tidy an illustration up a little bit, but not completely. Here’s a closeup of a section of the moon and stars illustration that turned out less than ideal:

uneven flow of the white gel pen closeup
A closeup of the moon and stars illustrating showing the white gel pen’s uneven performance
  • Hard to Get Started

So far, the biggest factor in the pen’s flow rate seems to be consistent use. The more you use it, the better it works, but starting a drawing is a real bear. You can counteract this by scribbling on a scrap piece of paper before you work on your actual piece, but it’s still frustrating. Here’s another closeup of the drawing – I’d set the pen down for a while and restarted on this star, and you can see a definitely difference in quality of this section:

closeup of star showing white gel pen performance
I came back to this drawing after a while and started on this star. You can definitely see a difference in the strokes created by the white gel pen here.

Where to Find It

If you’re intrigued, I found these pens on Amazon. That’s another pro – they’re very affordable!

Final Verdict

I won’t repurchase the Uniball Signo UM 153, but I will continue to play with the ones I have already. If you decide to test them out, tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can see what you create!