Dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) and Polymer pen lithography (PPL) are powerful lithography techniques being able to pattern a wide range of inks. Transport and surface spreading depend on the ink physicochemical properties, defining its diffusive and fluid character. Structure assembly on surface arises from a balance between the entanglement of the ink itself and the interaction with the substrate. According to the transport characteristics, different models have been proposed. In this article we review the common types of inks employed for patterning, the particular physicochemical characteristics that make them flow following different dynamics as well as the corresponding transport mechanisms and models that describe them.