Posts filed under Pentel

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.

Pentel Hybrid Technica Gel Ink Pen Review

So did the Pentel Hybrid Technica vanish from JetPens, or is it such an average pen that it never really went away and I only noticed it again when the 0.4 mm tip sizes popped into the new products feed? Knowing myself the way I do, my money is on the latter.

Average is ok in my book though, as that places it ahead of most pens that you find in the office or out and about. To put it into perspective, I consider the Pilot G2 an average pen. The barrel is strong and sturdy and the ink flows well. What keeps it from being in the top tier with pens like the Uni-ball Signo DX is that the line is not quite as sharp and the grip is slighty waxy. These are things I can feel when writing and are noticeable when compared to its peers.

As an option, I added the 0.3 mm refill to my order and that refill is superior to the 0.4 mm for me. It's cleaner and sharper, which stand to reason being a small size. Regardless, it was better to write with and going with the 0.3 mm barrel from the get go would have been the better choice.

One bonus if you are considering the Pentel Hybrid Technica is that they fit the Pentel Slicci perfectly, as in it is the exact same refill size an shape. An excellent option for those who want a wider Slicci barrel.

Overall, this is a solid pen, and if you are a fan of Pentel pens and inks you won't be disappointed.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and this product was received at no charge.)

Posted on December 12, 2014 and filed under Hybrid Technica, Pen Reviews, Pentel.

Pentel i+ 3 Color Multi Pen Review

The Pentel i+ 3 Color Multi Pen is the latest entry into the customizable multi pen category. It’s not Pentel’s first foray though, as their Sliccies model hit the market back in 2009. It was met with mixed reviews, as was the Sliccies 2+1. I wasn’t a fan of either but the i+ 3 has finally put Pentel on the right track.

The barrel design is what I like to call “standard operating procedure” for Japanese multi pens. Plastic barrel, clear, threaded section, plunger-style refill deployment - all the basics other companies have covered as well. It is good looking and inexpensive too. Everything you need to start building your multi pen.

Building it out is where Pentel wants to seperate itself by giving fans of their inks - specifically the EnerGel and Vicuna - the opportunity to use them in a multi pen. The EnerGel is available in black, blue, and red in 0.5 mm, and the Vicuna in the same colors and tip sizes. There are also 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm pencil components.

I went with the black and red EnerGel and the blue Vicuna refill. The EnerGel refills are excellent writers and I especially like the needle tip style as opposed to the conical tip. The gel inks are some of the smoothest and darkest on the market. But the Vicuna - that is the big winner here. I was already a fan of the 0.7 mm refills and the 0.5 mm may be even better. It is easily as good as the Jetstream and Acroball.

So where does the i+ 3 fit in the grand scheme of Japanese multi pens? Pilot and Uni-ball still take the top spot for me, but Pentel’s fans should be pleased. This gives them a valid option to use some of the best refills on the market. If Pentel can find a way to broaden the EnerGel refill lineup with more colors and sizes they will be able to easily compete with the big boys.

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

Posted on October 24, 2014 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Pentel.

Pentel Orenz 0.2 mm Mechanical Pencil Review

When mechanical pencil leads get under 0.5 mm the chance of breaking the lead when writing increases greatly. I think 0.5 mm is the sweet spot, but I will use an 0.3 mm pencil from time to time, knowing that it might cause frustration. 0.2 mm seems like a pipe dream, but the Pentel Orenz introduces a new feature to help prevent breakage that actually works.

With the Orenz, Pentel has created a lead guide pipe that fully protects the lead and has a rounded edge so you can write without the tip scratching or catching on the paper. This sounds like it wouldn't work, but I am here to say it works exactly as advertised.

Like the Uni-ball Kuru Toga before it, I didn't have high hopes for the Orenz. The Kuru Toga introduced legitimate technology that changed the way we write with pencils, and while I won't go that far with the Orenz, it absolutely fixes the lead breakage problem that keeps 0.2 mm from regular use.

In my time with the pencil I never once broke the lead. Not a single time. I was worried more about the smoothness than breakage to be honest, and that turned out to be a non-issue as well. No matter how low of an angle I wrote at the 0.2 mm lead just kept on writing.

Aside from the unique lead protection mechanism, the guide pipe is fully retractable, another feature in the plus column. The plastic barrel is lightweight and features the stock small Pentel eraser, both of which are similar to Pentel's famous Sharp drafting pencil line.

The Pentel Orenz is a good pencil, and may be a game changer for those who need 0.2 mm lead. You can pick one up at JetPens for $8.50.

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

Posted on September 2, 2014 and filed under Pencil Reviews, Pentel.