Posts filed under Brush Pen

An Introduction To The Brush Pen Sampler

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

A few months ago, I wrote about my introduction to the brush pen genre with the Pilot Petit3. Shortly after that, JetPens began offering a sampler pack of 5 popular brush pens under the $30 mark. I ordered one right after seeing it, and I've been trying them out since. The main thing I've learned? Not all brush pens are created equal. Each one has a purpose, and as long as you understand that, you'll get along just fine.

The criteria

Recently, JetPens released a fantastic video that explains the different qualities of brush pens and how that affects the writing, drawing, lettering, etc. experience. I'm using the same qualities in my review, so let's have a quick look at what they are:

  • Tip type: This describes what the tip is made out of. This could be natural hair bristles, synthetic bristles, or felt. Depending on the type of material used in the tip, the rest of the characteristics of the pen will vary greatly.
  • Firmness: This can range from soft, medium, and firm. Soft tips will create wider line variation, but require more control and finesse. Firm tips are easier to use, but do not have great line variation.
  • Fineness: This can range from fine, medium, and broad. This refers to the line width the pen produces, similar to your fountain pen nib sizes. Brush pens with a soft firmness can hit all three line widths.
  • Elasticity: You guessed it, this refers to how well the brush tip can hold its original shape after being expanded with additional pressure. Basically, bristle tip pens will maintain the wide shape once you let off, and you'll have to fiddle with it a bit to make it fine again, whereas a felt tip pen will immediately return to its original width when the stroke is complete.
  • Ink flow: Again, if you're familiar with fountain pens, this one will make sense. This refers to how much ink comes out when making marks, similar to how we refer to a nib as "wet" or "dry."
  • Saturation: Another common term with fountain pens. This refers to the coloration of the ink. In the case of a black ink, a saturated ink will create a deep, dark black on the page, whereas a not-so-saturated ink will make a gray or brown shaded black mark.

Now, with that out of the way, let's take a look at these 5 pens.

Kuretake Disposable Pocket Brush Pen, Fine

The Kuretake brush pen is a fine felt tip pen that is really easy to use. It's disposable, which means that once the ink dries up, you throw it away. The barrel is a sparkly dark blue color with gold text. The cap sits firmly on the pen when closed.

  • Tip type: Felt.
  • Firmness: I think this pen errs on the side of firm, but you can get some decent variation if you press hard enough.
  • Fineness: Fine
  • Elasticity: The tip returns to its original shape immediately.
  • Ink flow: Very good ink flow, as it requires the slightest pressure to put ink on the page.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen, Soft

Of the felt tip brush pens in this pack, the Tombow is my favorite. I love how it writes, even if it isn't so pretty on the outside. This pen also comes with a handy little lettering guide, but I honestly haven't found much use for it. The body is a dark gray color with white text and lots of little graphics.

  • Tip type: Felt.
  • Firmness: I'd call this a medium because you can get a bit of line variation fairly easily.
  • Fineness: Fine to medium.
  • Elasticity: The tip returns to its original shape almost immediately.
  • Ink flow: Very good ink flow — requires almost no pressure to make a mark.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Zebra Disposable Brush Pen, Super Fine

The Zebra, even though its called "super fine," is very similar to the Tombow. You can get a decent amount of line variation, but it doesn't write as well as the Tombow. It's an excellent pen, but just a couple marks behind the Tombow. The body looks very similar to the Kuretake — dark sparkly blue with gold text, so it's very easy to confuse them.

  • Tip type: Felt tip.
  • Firmness: Firm to medium, but not as soft as the Tombow.
  • Fineness: Fine with the ability to reach medium.
  • Elasticity: Returns to original shape very quickly.
  • Ink flow: Very good ink flow, but a tad drier than the previous two.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Pilot Pocket Brush Pen, Soft

Ah, the Pilot brush pen. Of the broad, "lots of variation" group, this is my favorite. The pen is black with gold Japanese lettering on the body and red lettering on the cap. There isn't a word of English on this pen, so I only know it's the Pilot from a process of elimination.

  • Tip type: Felt.
  • Firmness: Very soft.
  • Fineness: Capable of making fine to broad lines easily.
  • Elasticity: Returns to original shape fairly easily, but might need some help after making broad lines.
  • Ink flow: Exceptional ink flow for such a wide tip.
  • Saturation: Very dark saturation.

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for Calligraphy

Of the bunch, this is the only bristle tip pen, and it's a hoot to use. This one takes the most practice and patience when using, and it's absolutely not suited for writing. The pen body is black some minimal silver text on the cap. Also, of the bunch, this pen uses an ink cartridge, so you can refill it after its empty.

  • Tip type: Synthetic bristles.
  • Firmness: Soft — very soft.
  • Fineness: Medium to broad. You can get an insane level of variation from this one.
  • Elasticity: Needs help returning to a medium point. It likes to stay pretty broad when making lines.
  • Ink flow: The ink flow is "good enough" for most things, but it's not nearly as good as the other 4.
  • Saturation: The saturation also leaves something to be desired, as the lines can look a bit brown on the page.

Conclusion

All in all, this sampler pack is a great way to break into the brush pen genre. For me, I still feel like I have no idea how to use these properly, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the heck out of them. I don't consider myself an artist, but these pens make me want to draw, and for that I'll eternally love them.

If you're curious about brush pens, I highly suggest you start here.

Posted on April 1, 2015 and filed under Tombow, Pentel, Kuretake, Pen Reviews, Pilot, Zebra, Brush Pen.

Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Flexible Pen Review

Image via JetPens.com

Image via JetPens.com

Everyone knows I love a good brush pen, but not for the normal artistic reasons. I like writing with them, and the added flair they add to my lettering is enjoyable. Some are better than others in the writing department though, so where does the Kuretake Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Flexible stand?

First off, Kuretake has become one of those brands that can do no wrong in my book. The Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Outline Pen is my favorite plastic tip pen, beating out stalwarts from Sakura and Copic, and the Fudegokochi Super Fine Brush Pen is the best writing brush pen I own. Just look how clean my lettering is in those reviews. Hard to not be impressed.

The Zig Cartoonist Mangaka Flexible Pen is a different animal from those two. It is a soft tip brush which allows for a range of both thin and thick lines. Essentially, it is exactly what you should think of when you are thinking about a brush pen.

I don’t have the hand skill to do this pen justice but I was impressed with the quick, clean transition from wide to narrow in the lines. The meat of my letters were solid and the end of the lines had that nice snap you want to see in a brush. This is an effect you cannot get from a standard drawing pen.

For my daily writing purposes it isn’t all that great - the Fudegokochi works better for that. But in the right hands - artistic hands - the Mangaka Flexible would sing.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on November 28, 2014 and filed under Brush Pen, Kuretake, Pen Reviews.

An Introduction To Brush Pens

Fountain pens are pretty awesome, and gel and ballpoint pens have their place. I'm not totally on the pencil bandwagon yet, but I have been experimenting for a while with another genre of writing instruments: brush pens.

Before JetPens, I didn't know that brush pens existed. They're not a typical item you find in a office supply store or even an art store. I worked in a college bookstore that stocked lots of fancy art supplies, but never saw anything like this. That's why I purchased a couple so that I could see what they're about.

There's many different brands and models to choose from when you decide to try out a brush pen, but I went with the Pilot Petit3 first. I already owned a couple of Petit1 fountain pens and loved the form factor, so I knew the brush version would at least feel good in my hand and make me smile when I noticed the charming translucent design.

I won't lie – when I first tried writing with these pens, I was really turned off by how they felt. It's so different than anything I've tried. Most pens have a very firm tip that allows you to write in a very controlled way. Brush pens offer a different kind of control. You just need to back off a little.

Brush pens write the way they do because of a cluster of tiny fibers that form the tip. Since there's hundreds (thousands?) of these fibers in a cluster, you get a beautiful variation of line widths and ink flow. I would compare it to a flex nib, but I don't own one to compare it with.

After figuring out to press lightly and limit my upstrokes, I began to really enjoy writing with the pens.

These aren't pens that I would use to write for long periods of time. I've mostly used them to jot down notes and (more often) draw quick doodles. These pens are fun to play with, and that's a good enough reason to have a few. They're fun.

At just under $4, it's a pretty low risk experiment. Whatever you do, be more adventurous when you're picking out your colors. I went with black and blue, and the former is pretty boring. Check out the vibrant colors as they'll shade more and have more character! Personally, I think the Apple Green and Apricot Orange are a great combo.

Also, these pens (as well as the rest of the Petit line) are refillable. For about half the price of the pen, you can pick up three more cartridges. All 8 colors are available as refills, which is awesome.

These are a great introduction to the brush pen category, and you can't beat the value of the Petit line.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on August 27, 2014 and filed under Brush Pen, Pen Reviews, Pilot, Petit.

Pilot and Pentel Brush Pen Giveaway Winner

Do brush pens bring out your artistic side? They have to, right? They are some of the most expressive pens you can buy and are flat out fun to use, even if you are not artistically inclined like me. Hopefully our giveaway winner can put them to good use:

BrushPenGiveawayWinner.JPG

Congratulations Cassandra! Get in touch via the Contact Page and I will get the pens headed your way. You have one week to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks to JetPens for providing great products!

Posted on January 31, 2014 and filed under Brush Pen, Giveaways, JetPens.