Smooth Coloring Journey: Best Gel Pens for Doodling

Coloring is a relaxing hobby that calms the mind and allows you to release creativity. And if you enjoy coloring, you should consider adding gel pens into the mix. 

You may think Gel pens are just for kids, but you’d be wrong! Gel pens are gorgeous to draw or write with. They flow nicely and produce fun, bright colors that look vibrant. 

These gel pens have been carefully selected due to their quality, design, color range, and types of ink.

Why Color with Gel Pens?

When you think of art or adult coloring books, a colored gel pen set might not spring to mind. But you’re missing out if you’ve never given gel pens a shot! 

Unlike more complicated art supplies, anyone can pick up some gel pens and get started. But you can create gorgeous artwork such as mandalas, posters, or greeting cards with gel pens. 

And there are so many beautiful varieties of gel pens. You’ll find glitter pens, neon, pastel, metallic colors, and more. So, the possibilities of what you can draw and how you use them are endless. 

You might be wondering, what are gel pens used for? Well, you can use your gel pens in all sorts of ways. They’re perfect for coloring in entire coloring sheets. Or you can use them to add highlights or a bit of sparkle to drawings you’ve done with colored pencils. 

You can use gel pens to add fine details or fill in mandalas with their fine tips. But they’re just as suitable for decorating cards, invitations, and other crafty art projects. 

They’re not super expensive, and they’re simple to use. You won’t need to worry about them bleeding through your paper, and you can take them anywhere. 

Gel pens look bright, fun, and eye-catching. But you can also try out new techniques and create cool effects with them. So, if you love coloring, you should definitely invest in some gel pens! 

Read on for my reviews of the best gel pens for adult coloring books. (And, of course, they’re just as popular with kids, too).

The Best Gel Pens for Coloring: Buying Guide

Here’s everything you need to know to pick the right gel pens!

Color & Type of Ink

There are all sorts of gel pens out there. You have the regular gel pens in all the rainbow colors, of course. But then you also have metallic, glittery, scented, and neon gel pens. And more! 

Before you buy, think about how you’ll use your gel pens. Do you want to color in whole coloring pages? In that case, you might be best with a wide range of colored gel pens. But if you want to add details or a little sparkle, you could go for glitter or metallic gel pens. 

When it comes to the ink, you should also find out the quality of the ink. For example, does it smudge easily or bleed through the paper? Is it very slow to dry, so you’ll have to wait and can’t turn the page in your coloring book? Also, how bright and saturated are the ink colors? These may seem like small factors, but they can make a real difference to your experience. 

One other factor to consider is whether the gel pens have non-toxic ink. That’s especially important for children but also for adults. You don’t want to breathe in any nasty chemicals as you draw.  

Finally, how long will the pens last? Some gel pens can run out before you know it, leaving you wondering where all the ink went. In contrast, some are designed to last much longer, making them a better investment for your cash. 

Pen Tip 

Another essential factor in gel pens is the pen tip or nib. You want it to be high-quality and durable so that the ink flows smoothly and you can easily cover large areas. 

On cheaper pens, the nip can break or get clogged easily. That can be a pain, and you might even need to throw the whole pen away if it’s broken beyond use. And that would be a big waste of your money.

You should also look at the thickness of the tip. Gel pens can range from as thin as 0.3 mm right up to 1mm. The finer the tip, the better it is for intricate details. But it’s not suited to putting down large areas of color, depending on how you use the pen.

Comfort & Design

Next up, how comfortable are the gel pens to hold? Many gel pens have a nice rubberized grip cushion and boosts your comfort. But some gel pens don’t have this, and the hard plastic can dig into your hand. That’s especially true if you use your gel pens a lot. 

It’s also important that the pen shape fits your hand well. So, if possible, try to test the gel pens first or read some reviews and see how other people found them. 

How many pens are included?

When considering the value for money and the range of colors, you should look at how many pens are in the set. And make sure to double-check if each one is different or whether repeats are included. 

Some sets will include refills, so you may think you’re getting 60 pens. But instead, you get 30 pens and 30 refills. So you have fewer pens to work with, and you won’t have such a wide color range. Although it can save you money as you won’t need to buy new gel pens as frequently! 

As for the pens included, do they have a nice range? Does it cover all the different shades and tones, or is it heavy on one particular color? The wider the variety, the better when it comes to gel pens.

Do the gel pens have any extra features?

Some gel pens have extra features which add value. For example, they may have retractable nibs that protect the pen tips. Plus, it means you don’t need pen lids which can easily get lost (and then your pens can dry out). 

Another example is extra refills or replacement cartridges. That means the pens will cut down on plastic waste and save you money!

Also, do the gel pens come in a case or storage tin, and how sturdy is it?  A travel case with a zipper is ideal, as it will stop your pens from falling out and getting lost. Then, you can use them at home or on the go and always know where to find them.


You’ll find that gel pens can vary from cheap, budget prices to premium, high-end brands. So, it’s worth considering how much you can spend on your gel pens. 

Also, consider whether you want as many as possible for your money. Or, would you rather have a smaller set of higher quality? Sometimes, it’s better to invest in quality pens rather than cheap ones that run out quickly. But, it all comes down to your personal preference and priorities. 

These questions will help you pick out the best gel pens for your needs and budget.  

The Best Gel Pens for Adult Coloring Books

Sakura 74-Piece Gelly Roll Gel Pen Set

Best Overall

Sakura 74-Piece Gelly Roll

(Images credit: Sakura)

The Sakura brand might sound familiar. It was the original inventor of the gel pen and introduced it to the market back in the 1980s. So, that’s where it all began! 

Since this time, Sakura has continued to hone its gel pens. And now, you can buy the result of all that hard work, the amazing Gelly Roll gel pens.

This set is fantastic as it includes a wide range of gel pens. It’s not just full of different colors. Instead, you can create fun effects with their Metallic, Shadow, and Stardust gel pens.

So, what exactly does this set include? You get 74 gel pens overall, including:

  • 14 metallic gel pens
  • 17 classic gel pens with fine and medium tips
  • 20 Moonlight gel pens
  • 13 glitter gel pens
  • 10 dual-color gel pens

These pens range in nib thicknesses from 0.3 up to 0.7mm. Generally, that is a finer tip than many gel pens have. So, it lends itself to fine, detailed work and intricate lettering. You get a lot of control and precision with these gel pens.

But it does mean that putting down areas of color will take longer. So, think about how you’ll use your gel pens to decide if the Gelly Rolls are right for you! 

Other than that, these pens are a joy to use. The ink comes out thick, matte, and creamy, and the pens glide across the paper. It shouldn’t smear, smudge, or bleed through the paper, and many of the inks are of archival quality. It’s also odorless and non-toxic, so these are safe for everyone to use. 

You get a nice range of pretty colors and can get creative trying out the different styles. The extra precision is crucial if you use gel pens for crafting projects or greeting cards. 

The biggest drawback is the price – Sakura Gelly Roll pens don’t come cheap! They’re an excellent choice if you don’t mind splashing your cash. If not, keep scrolling for some more affordable options! 

  • Number of Pens: 74 
  • Type of Ink: Color, glitter, metallic, neon, and dual-color inks
  • Extra Features: Variety of ink types


  • These pens write smoothly with creamy, bright ink and nice effects
  • You can have fun with glittery, metallic, or two-tone gel pens
  • The inks are long-lasting and non-toxic


  • These pens are pretty expensive 

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Crayola Signature Detailing Gen Pens

Best Minimalist Set with Case

Crayola Signature Detailing

(Images credit: Crayola)

You might think Crayola is just for kids, but you’d be wrong about their gel pens! Anyone can enjoy using these outstanding pens, including experienced artists. 

These gel pens have been designed to flow consistently and produce a clean, even line. You get 11 glitter gel pens and 9 metallic pens within this set. With these colors, you can create all sorts of gorgeous drawings and designs! 

The pens themselves look stylish in black, making them stand out from your ‘regular’ gel pen. A rubber grip provides comfort as you draw. And each pen has color-coded ends and lids, so you can always find the right shade. 

Another nice touch is the sturdy metal case they come in. It’s durable enough to protect your pens when moving, but it also looks great! So, it could sit in pride of place on your desk and look wonderful. 

One more notable feature is the pen lids. They attach firmly to the pens and don’t fall off by accident, so keeping track of them is easy. But when you need to remove them, they pop off easily and fit neatly on the end of the pen. 

The Crayola gel pens are perfect for both budding and experienced artists. They would make a beautiful gift for a creative friend in their gorgeous packaging. 

  • Number of Pens: 20 
  • Type of Ink: Glitter, metallic
  • Extra Features: Sturdy metal storage tin


  • You get a nice range of metallic and glitter shades
  • The pens are comfortable to use with a nice, even ink-flow
  • They come in a sturdy and stylish metal storage tin


  • You don’t get as much variety in this set

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PaperMate InkJoy Gel Pens (36-Piece Set)

Best Luxury Colored Pens

InkJoy (36-Piece Set)

(Images credit: PaperMate)

Sometimes, you just want the best of the best. And with gel pens, that means the PaperMate InkJoy pens. These pens will surely delight you whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional artist. 

They have a unique design that makes them very comfortable to use. The first thing you’ll notice is the comfortable grip covers the whole pen rather than a small section. But simultaneously, you can still see how much ink is left. The design has been thought through with the user in mind and down to the last detail. 

They are also retractable, which is a handy feature that’s rarely seen on gel pens. It is very useful, as it means you won’t lose any caps. And as a result, you won’t risk your gel pens drying up before you can use them. 

The InkJoy gel pens look and feel premium. It’s hard to match the smoothness of the ink or the feel of this pen in your hand. There are no scratchy nibs, and the ink doesn’t get clogged up.

Another benefit of these Papermate pens is that they dry so fast. Gel pens are known for drying slowly, and waiting for the ink to dry can be frustrating. But that shouldn’t be a problem with these quick-drying InkJoy gel pens. So, you can get more down and avoid any messy smudges.  

You get 36 gel pens in this set, which is a smaller range than many others on this list. Partly, that’s down to the (high) price you’ll pay for these gel pens. But as they’re so bright and saturated, you should find that this is a good selection for most uses. 

  • Number of Pens: 36
  • Type of Ink: Color gel ink
  • Extra Features: Retractable nibs (no lids necessary), all-over pen comfort grip


  • These gel pens feel premium and are very comfortable to hold 
  • The ink is thick and rich in color but very fast-drying
  • The pens are ergonomic with a soft comfort grip 
  • You can see how much ink is left as you work
  • They are retractable, which protects the nibs and stops you from losing pen lids


  • The most expensive gel pens on this list

Arteza 60-Piece Gel Pens Set

Best Budget Set

Arteza 60-Piece

(Images credit: Arteza)

Arteza is a well-known art supply brand; its gel pens don’t disappoint. As you’d expect from this kind of company, they take their gel pens seriously. 

In this set, you get 60 gel pens of various varieties. That includes: 

  • 3 Classic
  • 9 Pastel
  • 10 Neon
  • 11 Metallic
  • 17 Glitter
  • 4 Glitter-Neon

You even get six rainbow gel pens that change colors as you draw for a unique look! As you can imagine, there are no limits to what you can create with these gel pens. 

They’re perfect for both detailed work and filling in large areas in coloring books. But you can also create amazing effects with glitter gel pens. So, they’re ideal for birthday and greetings cards or decorating your bullet journal. 

The metal pen tips are durable and allow the ink to flow smoothly. And the best part is that these gel pens are refillable. So, it’s a great choice if you’re on a budget. You can top them up with low-cost refills and get even more out of your gel pens.

The Arteza gel pens even come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, you can be sure of their quality (or you can get your money back). 

At this price, this gel pen set is a real steal! So why not treat yourself or a loved one? The vibrant colors and variety of these gel pens are sure to delight! 

  • Number of Pens:60
  • Type of Ink: Classic, pastel, neon, metallic, glitter, and glitter-neon
  • Extra Features: Refillable pens, 100% satisfaction guarantee


  • Perfect for anyone who likes to try out different styles
  • You can create pretty lettering designs or use them in coloring books
  • It comes with a wide range of gel pens of all types
  • The pens are refillable – good for your wallet and the environment


  • Super value for money from a reputable brand

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ColorIt Gel Pens

Best Mid-Range Set for Adult Coloring Books


(Images credit: ColorIt)

If you’re looking for a large set of gel pens that won’t break the bank, check out the ColorIt gel pens. This gorgeous set includes 48 vibrant, brightly colored gel pens. You get all the shades of the rainbow to create all sorts of vivid drawings. 

What’s more, each pen comes with a refill. So, this set should last long and provide many hours of creative fun. 

All these pens come in a sturdy, practical case with a zipper. The soft rubber grip makes them feel nice and comfortable in hand. And the ink flows smoothly, making it a fantastic drawing experience. 

Each pen has an individual number and color name, making it super easy to find the right pen at any time. You’ll never get confused about which shade you were using. And that comes in handy when you have so many to choose between!

You also get a nice storage case with these gel pens. That’s a big advantage as it helps you to keep your gel pens tidy and organized. It’s useful both at home and when you’re on the move. You’ll always know where your gel pens are with this case. Plus, you can take them with you anywhere without worrying about losing them. 

Another excellent feature is that these gel pens are refillable. So, they’re kind to the environment and your budget! 

Instead of having to throw away each pen when it’s run out of ink, you can top it up instead. That results in a lot less plastic waste so that you can do your bit for the environment. And it works out a lot cheaper, too! They even come with a 1-year warranty, which shows this company cares about their customers.

These gel pens are excellent for creatives, artists, and students. They’re a fantastic investment as they’re long-lasting and are a joy to use, all at a reasonable price. 

  • Number of pens: 48 gel pens + 48 ink refills
  • Type of ink: Non-toxic colored inks
  • Extra features: Refillable, comes with travel case


  • These gel pens are bright, vibrant, and draw smoothly onto paper
  • The ink lasts longer, and you can refill each gel pen
  • They have a soft rubber grip for your comfort


  • Each gel pen is individually named and numbered

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120-Pack Glitter Gel Pens

Best Glitter Set

Glitter Gel Pens

(Images credit: Soucolor)

If you’re all about glitter, this set is for you! With 60 gel pens, you’ll soon be decorating everything with sparkles and glitter! 

It also ticks all the other boxes we look for gel pens. They come in a nice case that keeps them neat and tidy. With three tiers, you can see all your gel pens at a glance and pick out the one you’re after. 

The pens are well-designed, with sturdy tips and rubberized grips. This feature allows you to get a firm hold on your pens without them digging in. 

You get an excellent color range, so it’s easy to grab the exact shade you need. As a bonus, this set includes a free coloring book for you to test out your gel pens.

The ink used in these gel pens is vibrant and saturated. It flows smoothly out of the pen, and you can blend different shades together. That opens up even more possibilities, including layering and shading effects.

These pens contain 40% more ink, so they should last you longer, too. And each one is named and numbered, so you don’t get mixed up between similar shades.

You can use these gel pens on all sorts of paper, from white cards to colored and black paper. They work just as well on cards, making them versatile for all your crafting needs.

And all this comes at a very affordable price. That makes this glitter gel pen set perfect for children, students, or anyone on a budget! 

  • Number of Pens: 60 gel pens + 60 refills
  • Type of Ink: Glitter
  • Extra Features: Refillable, nice rubber grip 


  • Gorgeous glitter pens feel comfortable to use
  • They have more ink, so they last longer – and come with refills
  • The ink is bright and flows smoothly, so they are easy to draw or write with
  • Super affordable – a great budget option


  • All the pens are glitter gel pens – so there’s not as much variety as some sets 

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The Wrap Up

With this ultimate guide to gel pens, now you know everything there is to know about gel pens! So, take your pick from the recommended gel pen sets, and happy drawing!

Let me know if you have any questions or if you have a favorite gel pen brand below. And follow me on Pinterest for more creative reviews, tips, and guides! 

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

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