Review: A Uniball Double-Sided Pocket Brush Pen meets a Special Moleskine

This review is by Kalina Wilson, who can also be found at

DSCI0003_0340 I was recently given this adorable little Limited Edition Pac Man Moleskine notebook as a gift.  Despite the book's obvious charm I didn't have much idea what to do with it.  The pages are very thin.  Most ink sinks right through, and watercolor is out of the question. 

Since the paper wasn't inspiring, I coated some pages with acrylic paint as an experiment, but this added a new challenge since some of the acrylic was glossy and wouldn't take ink.

Enter the Uniball Pocket Brush Pen.

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Uniball double sided sampleThis pen was recommended by Pen Addict commenter and pen/pencil blogger ThirdeYe in response to my Kuretake Hair Brush review.  I wasn't optimistic, but gave it a shot in the Moleskine and it quickly came out on top!  

The Uniball lays down a nice wet line that is fantastic for quick, loose sketching - similar to the Pilot brushes but with a faster dry time.  You can see from some smearing below (center image, lower right) that this was still an issue due to all that ink, but the Pilot brushes were unusable for me for this reason and the Uniball was a big improvement.

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You can see that the brush is visible through the paper, but it's not bad - my other brush pens were much worse in this regard.  The large molded foam tip is very flexible with no weird springback issues such as I've had with some disposable Kuretakes and the Copic brushes. It is so fun to work with that these days I keep it in my hand while watching TV and am constantly freezing frames for quick sketches.

Additionally, the pen works great over acrylic, even glossy acrylic.

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I don't switch to the small tip often (actually I kept forgetting it was there) but it works well - not sure I'd choose it above the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft for normal use but it's convenient to have it on the other end of the pen.  Both caps are postable.

Now we come to the bad news.

DSCI0003_0344 DSCI0060_0291 When I spoke with friend and urban sketcher Alanna Randall  about this pen, she reported that hers quickly became unwieldy due to a frayed tip on the larger brush.  Not two days later, mine had become identical to hers, and started giving a weaker, dryer line - here's a post-fray sketch.

Besides this tip issue, the major drawback of the pen is that it is not waterproof.  I love it for quick sketches, but wouldn't use it for longer drawings that might later want watercolors.

 In conclusion, I have to assume this pen's tip can only last through perhaps a week of moderately heavy use - if that.  I'd feel a little better about the short lifespan if the pen were made out of recycled materials, which it isn't.  However, it works better than any other pen I have as a quick, wet brush for use on regular Moleskine notebook paper and over acrylic paint.  I recommend this pen as a lot of fun, just be prepared for it to be short-lived.



Posted on February 21, 2011 and filed under Brush Pen, Geminica, Moleskine, Pen Reviews, Uni-Ball.