In the late 1980s America was introduced to the gel pen after years of research and development in Japan. Sakura was the first company to create a gel-based ink that led to the creation of the first smooth, gel point writing instruments. Since then, an unlimited number of different colors and styles have been created. Today, these pens are a favorite among graphic artists due to the dynamic gel ink formula that is smear proof and comes in a large array of vibrant colors. Gel pens essentially combine the performance of a ball point with the smooth glide of a rollerball for a brilliant writing experience. Pilot offers many different styles and features from contoured grips to visible ink supplies that let you know when it is time for a refill. For extra comfort, soft rubber grips are available which allow for more control and reduces stress on the writer's hand.