Posts filed under Pentel

Pentel Aquash Water Brush Review

(This is a guest post by Nick Folz. You can find more of Nick and his work on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.)

As opposed to constantly asking for more brush and art posts I thought I would just crank one out about my new favorite tool: JetPens. Disclaimer - I am not using this pen as the recommended (with water), but I have not modified it in any way. Any who, lets dive in to the dirty details.

This is a product from Pentel. Those of you who are ArtSnacks subscribers should have received one in your April snack box, I bought mine at an art store for a cool $5. It is marketed by Pentel as a water brush to create washes over watercolor pencil work, but I load it up with ink and have found it to be the best brush in my arsenal. It is an empty plastic reservoir body with removable (twist threaded screw top) brush tip, a plastic cap fits snuggly over the plastic bristles. The model I have is the medium, and that size is perfect for my use. It can swing from barely visible fine lines to thick area fills. I guess I should mention that it is empty when purchased. I have mine filled with Liquitex carbon black ink, but have also used a variety of india inks that all behaved comparably.

The Good

-- The action on the brush tip is tight and predictable, with a ton of variance that makes it a joy to use.

-- Filling it is easy (so long as your ink has a dropper in the cap, most do.)

-- The ink reservoir has just the right amount of "give" that the brush doesn't run dry or flood the bristles.

-- If you are inking a large area you can give the barrel a squeeze to get more ink to the tip. -- Reservoir is big enough that you can draw everyday for a month and not run dry. (obviously has some variance to how much of your page gets inked.)

-- It is remarkable that at this price point to have such a high level tool.

The Bad

-- While it is portable, I would avoid tossing it into a bag or pocket unguarded. The cap only snaps on, and while it hasn't popped off on me yet, I still take precaution. (I have an old zippered eyeglass case I keep it and the ink in).

-- If you are a sticker for aesthetics, look elsewhere. It is plastic by function (so you can squeeze the barrel for more ink), so I have no idea how a higher end one would look or function.

I have been down nearly every brush road: Pilot pocket brushes, Faber-Castell art brush pens, Variety brush packs from big box stores and Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable to name a few. My favorites were the Series 7, but I hated having to get out all the accoutrements (ink well, cup of water, endless paper towels, etc.) every time I laid down some ink. I kept veering down the brush pen roads in an attempt to find a more portable option, but found they all lacked the snap of an actual brush and would run dry after a week of use. I bought the Pentel Aquash Water Brush on a whim and boy and I glad I did! I am very tempted to get four more to fill with different colors to have on hand, and at this price point I could do so without breaking a sweat (or the bank.)

They can be purchased at JetPens or your local art supply store.

Posted on June 25, 2015 and filed under Brush Pen, Pentel, Pen Reviews.

Pentel EnerGel Tradio 0.5 mm Needle-Point Gel Ink Pen Review

I'm not sure what Pentel is trying to accomplish here. On one hand, the EnerGel is a staple in the world of gel ink pens because of its smooth, dark lines. On the other hand, the Tradio is well respected by artists and writers alike for its wild nib and line variation. Put them together and you get...what exactly?

The Pentel EnerGel Tradio Needle-Point Gel is a good pen. A really good pen in fact. It writes wonderfully, as you would expect, and is visually appealing. The grip is a little slick, but that's my only gripe as far as form and funtion goes. But for the life of me, I don't know why this pen exists.

The only Tradio feature this pen has is the window in the cap. That design does say to me "Hey, I'm a Tradio", but if you have ever used or seen a Tradio that is where the similarities stop.

That leaves the rest of the experience in the hands of the EnerGel. And as I mentioned earlier, it is a fine EnerGel. What I didn't mention is it is an expensive EnerGel at $4.00 per unit. My favorite online-only EnerGel is the Euro Needle. It has a better barrel and a better grip and the same great writing quality for just $2.50. For a base level EnerGel experience, you can get the EnerGel X for $1.35. So, three for the price of one, plus retractability and several more ink colors to choose from.

The EnerGel Tradio is straight out of the Redundant Department of Redundancy, and an inferior product to boot. Let's see some real innovation next time Pentel.

(Interesting note: Only after I completed this review I realized I had reviewed the 0.7 mm blue ink model of this pen a year and a half ago. Fun to compare my thoughts then and now.)

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on June 10, 2015 and filed under Energel, Pen Reviews, Pentel.

Pentel Graph Gear 800 Drafting Pencil Review

Like micro-tip gel ink pens, mechanical pencils are a tool I like to have handy everywhere I may be writing. There is something about their technical design and fine lines that speak to me, and the Pentel Graph Gear 800 is a nice addition to my lineup.

Pentel’s Graph Gear lineup is well known and widely respected. The 1000 model drafting pencil and ballpoint are hugely popular with their aluminum barrel construction, but there is a definite place for the plastic barrel of the 800 lineup. The key is in the grip. It is metal, giving it the proper weight and balance for a drafting pencil, and features the same rubber pads that give other Graph Gear models an excellent feel.

Pentel color codes their barrels to match lead diameters, with black for 0.5 mm, blue for 0.7 mm, and yellow for 0.9 mm (green is 0.4 mm and brown is 0.3 mm for those product lines that use them). This is helpful for professionals who may have a lineup of pencils on their table when having to switch up line widths.

I find using the Graph Gear 800 to be a real pleasure. It is a comfortable writer while retaining the solid feel of the twice as expensive 1000 model. I prefer it over the less expensive Pentel Sharp model as well. The grip alone is worth the added cost.

Overall, this is a quality drafting pencil that I’m happy to have at my desk.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on June 3, 2015 and filed under Drafting Pencil, Mechanial Pencil, Pencil Reviews, 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.


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.