Tombow has been in the art pen market for some time, and are especially well known for their series of brush pens. The popularity of the brand would lead you to think they would offer a standard drawing pen as part of their lineup before now, but it took until earlier this year for the Tombow Mono Drawing Pen to hit the market.
I got an early look at the 01, 03, and 05 tip size set from JetPens (they will be on the site soon - I’ll update the link when), and they are as good as you would expect from a company like Tombow. If you enjoy drawing pens and are a Tombow fan, I can recommend these to you wholeheartedly. If you are looking for your first drawing pen, read on to find out how they stack up against the competition.
Since I mostly write with this type of pen, I lean towards the middle of the spectrum on tip size. 01 is very fine, and limited to specific use cases unless you want to wreck the tip within minutes of opening the package. 05 leaves a fantastic, rich line, but is almost marker-sized. Too wide for me, but works well for coloring and filling in. 03 is the sweet spot, giving me a fine, clean written line, and works well for my quick sketches. It’s just the right width to show detail and remain legible.
It’s inevitable that the Tombow Mono Drawing Pen will be compared to the Sakura Pigma Micron and Staedtler Pigment Liner, the two top pens in this market. And that is before you get to my personal favorite, the Kuretake Zig Mangaka. The Tombow Mono Drawing Pen is not at that level in my book.
That’s not a knock on the Tombow, but rather a commentary on how good the other three pens are. This is a tough market to break into, and Tombow did a nice job. The are firmly in the second tier with other solid choices like the Uni Pin, Stabilo Point 88, and Pilot Drawing Pen, which it looks very similar to in fact. I’ve left out another half-dozen pens in this group as well.
In my short time using them, the Tombow feels softer than the Micron, making me wonder if it will hold up as well. It’s close, but you can tell a difference. The black ink is dark, closer to the pitch black of the Staedtler than the slightly less dark Micron.
As I mentioned earlier, if you are in the Tombow camp for brush pens and other similar pens, then you will like these a lot. If you are agnostic and just want a great example of a drawing pen, then you should check out one or more of the other pens I mentioned.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)