With gel pens becoming more and more popular for general writing and art, we have noticed more and more questions from the community based around “how to fix a gel pen that skips?“. Although skipping can be very common for low-quality gel pens, it can still occur on a less common basis when using a higher quality, cheap gel pen from a reputable brand so we have decided to publish this article to try and help any of our readers who are having issues with their gel pens skipping.
Thankfully, all of these tips and tricks to stop your gel pen from skipping can be done at home and done require any expensive equipment to fix them. Please keep in mind though, even with the best gel pens on the market, skipping can still occur at the start of your drawing session due to the gel based ink. If this is all that you are having trouble with then drawing some figure eights on some spare paper for a few minutes will usually do the trick.
Unfortunately though, not all of the issues that can cause your gel pen to skip when writing or drawing are that easy to fix. We have made a list of the most common reasons that could case skipping in a gel pen below and then offered quick and easy ways that you can correct the issue and get a nice, steady stream of ink out of your gel pen of choice.
How To Fix A Gel Pen That Skips
Please note that we have tried to arrange the problems below in order of what we feel will be most common to least common. This gives our readers a better chance of finding the cause of their gel pen skipping without having to waste much time.
Are You Using High-Quality Gel Pens
As we touched on above, one of the main reasons that your gel pen may skip is due to using a low quality gel pen. Unfortunately, over the last few years, low quality gel pens and counterfeit gel pens have swamped the market. Thankfully, your local stationary store should be taking steps to ensure that they source original pens direct from the brand or an authorised supplier to prevent this from happening.
Thankfully, switching over to some higher quality gel pens does not have to break the bank and you will often find that the better gel pens on the market have a very similar price point to their low-quality cousins. Making the switch over to a reputable brand of gel pens that have a good reputation amongst the community is the easiest way to ensure that your gel pens will not skip and offer you the best possible writing experience available.
Make Sure You Are Writing On Suitable Paper
Another common cause of gel pens skipping is the actual paper that you are using with them. We would recommend that you use 80 GSM paper as a minimum but ideally you will be wanting to go with 100 GSM paper or higher. These days the difference in price between decent paper and lower quality 60 GSM or lower paper is minimal but it can help to improve your writing or drawing when using a gel pen.
In addition to stopping any issues with skipping when using your gel pens, upgrading to a higher GSM rating can also help to control bleed, feathering, and ghosting during your drawing or writing sessions. If you are using cheaper gel pens or gel pens with an extra-fine nib, using a higher GSM paper can also help to reduce any issues with scratching too making it well worth the time and effort to upgrade.
Have You Broken Your Gel Pen In
This is another very common reason that you gel pen may skip when writing or drawing with it but thankfully it is another quick and easy fix. Although it is more common with gel pens that are brand new, if you have not used your pens for a week or more then this can also cause an old gel pen to skip too.
Our recommendation is to just get some spare paper and draw figure eights on it for a few minutes to see if you are able to rotate the ball mechanism in the pen nib to get it to connect with the gel ink and get it to start writing correctly. Don’t worry if the pen skips a few times for the first minute or so, you are looking to improve the connction with the ball inside the ballpoint or rollerball nib to get the ink flowing correctly.
If you are using higher quality gel pens then you usually only have to do this once after the initial purchase of the pen. If you are using cheaper, lower quality gel pens then the chances of you having to do this after not using your pens for a few weeks drastically increases. Either way though, it is a relatively quick and easy process, especially if you hold multiple gel pens in your hand at once to speed the process up.
Store Your Gel Pen Correctly
This is one of the most common issues that we see with people new to drawing or writing for pleasure no matter what type of pen it is. People always presume that it does not matter how you actually store your pens when not in use but storing your pens can actually help to prevent skipping as the ink is primed and ready to connect with the ball when you start writing.
We have a dedicated article on how to store your pens that may be worth reading if you suspect that this may be why your gel pens are skipping when you writing with them. As most people who use gel pens also have other types of pen or markets in their collection, the article can be worth skimming over as it offers specific advice on a wide range of popular pen types as different ink formulas and delivery systems need different storage for optimal performance.
Does your Gel Pen Have A Protective Coat
If you are new to using a gel pen than you may have accidentally left the protective wax/plastic cap on the ball mechanism of the pen. The is a very common mistake that many people make some most gel pen brands so not actually do this but it is a protective measure to protect your pens from their ink drying up prior to purchase. If you look at the nib of your gel pen, you may see a small wax or plastic cap over the ball and you simply peel it off with your finger nail.
Although this may sound simple, it is a very common cause of some gel pens skipping as a large number of people are not even aware that their pens have these protective caps on and then try to write with them in place. Although a part of the ball mechanism on your gel pen may break through the wax or plastic, it will give the effect of the pen skipping when it actually isn’t.
These protective caps are quick and easy to remove once you aware aware of them and your gel pen will usually stop having problems with skipping once you have removed them. Unfortunately, as the list of gel pen brands on the market is so large it is difficult to provide a list of brands that add these protective caps to their pens. The easiest way to tell if this is why your gel pen is skipping is to simply look at the nib of your pen as the caps are very easy to see and are usually the same color as the ink in your gel pen.
Clean The Nib Of Your Gel Pen
On the flipside of your gel pens skipping due to being brand new or having a protective coat, your older gel pens may end up skipping due to a build up of dirt and grim in their nib. If you are using your gel pens for art work rather than writing then this can be very common as other materials such as paint or chalk dust can build up in the nib and cause the pen to skip.
Usually, the issue is easy to fix and you are able to put the nib of your pen into a paper towel and rotate it to apply friction to help remove the dirt and grim. Unfortunately though, if the issue is more serious then it may take a little more work and involved you drawing figure eights on some spare paper for around ten seconds to move the dirt and grim around and then wiping with the paper towel.
Depending on how serious the build up of dirt and grim actually is, the issue with the gel pen skipping during use may not be fixable as the dirt and grime can get behind the ball mechanism and essentially break the pen. Thankfully though, as we mentioned earlier in the article, decent gel pens are much cheaper than they used to be so you are able to replace any broken gel pens with ease.
What Nib Size Are You Using
This one is specific to the lower quality gel pens on the market but if you have chosen to pick up an extra-fine nib on a low-quality gel pen you are going to have problems with skipping and there really is not much that you are able to do about it. Although you can try to upgrade to using 100 GSM paper, there is no guarantee that this will fix the issue although it can reduce the chance of your pens skipping.
If you have picked up some low-quality gel pens with an extra-fine nib then upgrading them to some decent gel pens is probably going to be the best option in all honesty. This is why we always recommend that our readers avoid gel pens that have been made in China and go with something that has been made in North America, Europe, Japan, or Korea as the quality of the pen is much higher while often still being cheap.
That brings our article on how to fix a gel pen that is skipping to a close. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to stop your gel pen from skipping when writing or drawing with it. As we mentioned back at the start of the article, the majority of your issues with your gel pens that can cause them to stick can usually be fixed at home within a few minutes allowing you to fix the problem fast without having to waste a bunch of time.