Comparative Analysis of Five Pens for Indoor Graffiti
Note that these pens are compared for durability in the indoor graffiti enviroment. Such graffiti is thus much more likely to be subject to being washed or being painted over than to rain or excess sunlight.
This is the most basic of all pens for wall writing: it has a thick tip, comes in black, green, red, blue and purple and is very widely available and pretty cheap. It lasts on the wall very well and the ink lasts for a while. The death of these pens usually comes from the tip getting worn off, as the ink is rather dry and requires ever-increasing pressure to write with. Also, according to Senso, the "tampon" can be taken out of these pens and replaced with latex paint, so they are somewhat reusable.
Price: A Durability: C Persistence: B
This is Sanford's version of the Marks-A-Lot. It has the same basic features as the Marks-A-Lot, but is a little more expensive and a little less widely available. The primary difference between the Markette and the Marks-A-Lot is in the ink, which is not as dry as that of the Markette and therefore requires less pressure to apply. The tip of the Markette consequently survives a lot longer, and this pen probably has a better price-to-durability ratio then the Marks-A-Lot.
Price: A- Durability: B+ Persistence: B.
Magnum 44 is Markette's big brother. This pen is big. The surface area of the tip is a good six times then that of the Markette, and Magnum 44 ink is impossible to remove and very hard to paint over. The Magnums can be hard to find (some larger art stores and hardware stores carry them), and at upwards of $3 they are a bit pricy. While the durability of the tip is great, the amount of ink to width of line ratio in these pens is not, and in my experience they run out disappointingly fast. They are also toxic and give headaches, and it is not always desirable to write something in that thick of a line (of course, if writing in that thick of a line is what you want to do, you don't have many other options). To my knowledge, they only come in black.
Price: B- Durability: C Persistence: A.
The pen-touch is a metallic ink pen that comes in gold and silver. It is a wonderful long-lasting pen that releases fast-drying permanent metallic ink and has a very durable tip and a large ink supply. Sadly, it does not work well for wall-writing: the pressure system that releases controllable amounts of ink when writing on a horizontal surface sometimes leaks out enormous amounts of it on a vertical one, while at other times barely releases enough. Sometimes so much ink is released that it covers a good deal of the user's index finger. They also oftentimes leak in the pocket as they are supposed to be stored horizontally and not shaken. I recommend the Pen-touch Gold only to someone who is willing to be careful with their pens. They cost a little more then the Magnum 44 and are available at art stores.
Price: C Durability: A Persistence: A.
Mr. Sketch Scented Watercolor Pens
Same size and shape as the basic Marks-A-Lot, these pens are cheap ($0.65) and non-toxic. However, being watercolor, their ink both washes off easily and fades with time. There is, however, a case when these pens are more durable then many others, and that is when they get painted over. Through some strange property of their ink, it takes 3-4 layers of white to cover them over, and sometimes they come back to shine through even that. They can also be used with spit to create highlights on other pieces. Their death usually comes from running out of ink.
Price: A+ Durability: B Persistence: F/Special
My personal choice: Markette 336. Wet ink, good price, strong tip.
One pen that I have not tried that I am told is good is the Pilot Supercolor. I will expand on it once I try it out.