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Brush Pen Review for Calligraphy and Art 
22nd-Jul-2014 08:55 pm
So, since I've just gotten another small delivery from JetPens, and dear eggy_egg, similarly obsessed with pens as me apparently *ehehe* asked me how they are, I decided to post a little review on all the brush pens I have accumulated so far.

My brush-pen roomies have reached a proud number of nine by now. And that's just the ones that are black and grey sdlkfjgh

Here's a picture of all the pens reviewed, followed by the review for your viewing pleasure, before I'll typhoontype away :D Clicking on the image will lead you to an original sized scan, ご遠慮なしにね (⌒-⌒)


Brush Pen Review
The 〜 I applied water to right after I'd made the line.
The X I applied water to after the ink had dried.
Note that I used normal printer paper for this, so effects may differ on thicker paper.

Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
・General notes on writing/drawing: Putting this one first might have been a bad strategy, I don't know. Fact is: I LOVE THIS PENNNNNNNN. I love it. As you can see from the review sheet, writing western letters, cursive or block, can be a little awkward. It will either look artsy, or clumsy, which is partly due to the brush-like tip. However, if you want to write kanji* [*I'll be writing 'kanji' to keep it simple, what I mean is anything Japanese, including any kinds of kana |D], with a little bit of practice they will come out absolutely beautiful. Don't let my fugly writing mislead you |D The brush flow is smooth and accurate, setting the right accents exactly where you need them to be.
You could probably use it for drawing after having gotten used to, but the hairy tip can make it hard to draw accurate lines.
As you can see on the sheet, you can achieve anything between really fine lines and quite thick ones.
The black colour is rich and vivid, never smears, and has never leaked.
・Water resistance: Not advertised as water-proof, yet surprisingly, it is. Even freshly drawn lines won't smear. This was just the most pleasant surprise for me!
・Tip: Brush tip with artificial hair.
・Reusable: Yes. You can purchase cartridge packages (incl. 4)
・Other: Clip-on.
・Conclusion: Perfect for Japanese/Chinese writing.

Pentel Standard Brush Pen, Tsumi-tip
・General notes on writing/drawing: Also a wonderful brush pen, and along the Pocket version, one of my favourites. It works quite similar to the one above, however there are some differences. I felt the black was one of the richest I've ever encountered. Thickest possible stroke out of all brush pens I have. The tip control is really good, as is the 'spring' of the brush. Again, writing western letters is a little... awkward, but it's optimal for writing kanji. In fact, I might have used it even more than the pocket version for playing around with kanji calligraphy.
There can be quite some 'ghosting' effect with this pen though. It doesn't really show that much on my sheet (see the S, d, B), but especially when you write bigger kanji, it will be quite noticeable. I can't say that is a negative - it really depends on what you want your writing to look like. Ghosting can make it look more natural, like a drying brush.
・Water resistance: Absolutely none. Smears extremely, even when long dried.
・Tip: Brush tip with artificial hair.
・Reusable: Yes. The entire lower part can be exchanged. Also comes with grey ink.
・Other: The size might be needing some getting used to. Take note of the ghosting effect.
・Conclusion: Why don't I like it more than the pocket version? First of all because it's not water resistant, and secondly, somehow it's not as handy. It's great to have at home, but if I wanted one for on-the-go, the Pocket would be my choice.

Uni Double Sided Brush Pen Fine/Medium
・General notes on writing/drawing: I really like having this with me wherever I go. It feels a little scratchy when writing western letters, so I hardly use it for that. Writing kanji is fine, but I find it does not make as good a calligraphy-pen as some others I have. The smooth, soft and bendy fine-tip I prefer to use for doodles on-the-go, or artsy whatevers. This pen is GREAT fun when doodling, not least because of the spring in the tips and the range of thickness you can achieve.
・Water resistance: Smears when wet. Does not smear when dried if water is moderately applied. Once you add a little too much, it will smear a little.
・Tip: Bendable felt-tip. The medium comes very close to feeling like a hair-tip as much as is possible for a felt-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on.
・Conclusion: I'd recommend you try it out. I find it great fun for doodling.

Zebra Brush Pen Fine
・General notes on writing/drawing: This tip is bendy, yet not quite as soft as the above. I've used this a lot for writing Japanese vocabulary. I love the blackness, and the way it forms the characters. What I've used it for even more, is outlining drawings. So far, it's been one of my favourite felt-tip brush pens. I've used this one for ... a very long time, and so far the tip hasn't been worn down at all, despite this being a disposable pen. [A very long time = bought it 2011, am still using it. I have NOT used it all this time non-stop, which makes it a little hard to pinpoint just how much I've really used it.]
As I've mentioned above, I've used this a lot for drawings and outlining, however recently I realised I wantneed a finer pen for that, so I might not be using it as much the same way anymore in the future.
・Water resistance: Yes. Might smudge a tiny bit if applied immediately, but absolutely water-proof once dried.
・Tip: Felt-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on. Note that although it says "fine", it can still achieve medium lines. If you want a fine line for outlining, refer to the next entry.
・Conclusion: Great pen for both writing and sketching/outlining. A favourite!

Zebra Brush Pen Super Fine
・General notes on writing/drawing: I just recently got this, so I can't say too much about it yet. I remember I once had it before, but back then I just wanted to use it to write, and somehow I felt the tip was too scratchy for my being able to write comfortably, so I gave it away. I re-purchased it because of my experience with the fine tip Zebra, and the need for an even finer tip.
This one can achieve, as the name suggests, super fine lines, so I'm very excited about having gotten this one. Outlining with it so far has been great fun.
It does have the tendency to ghost a little bit.
・Water resistance: Yes. Hardly any smudging when applying water to the wet ink.
・Tip: Felt-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on.

Pilot Futayaku Double Sided
・General notes on writing/drawing: I originally got this because I was in dire need of a grey brush pen, and since the Zebra was my favourite, I didn't intend to use the black side very much. Just recently I found I quite liked both sides for random practice-doodles. It feels similar to the zebra as handling and flow is concerned, and the black is nice and rich, however there's some downsides to it. The pigment gathers in the last strokes (if that makes sense) and will reflect the light. Also, depending on the paper you use, the ink might be absorbed so if you're really picky, you will see the edges might "fray" a bit. Which is why I use it mainly for practice sketches - with its grey side it's really handy for that. However, I also noticed that the grey gets absorbed a lot into the paper, no matter whether I write or sketch with it, and I'm not very comfortable with that happening.
Out of all the brush pens so far, I feel this one is most comfortable to write both kanji and Western letters with. It feels natural and smooth for both.
・Water resistance: Black smears a lot when wet, but quite water-proof once dried. The grey does not smudge, however is getting absorbed a bit and edges fray once you apply water.
・Tip: Felt-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on.
・Conclusion: Great for non-serious doodles and writing, however if you're looking for a good grey tip for writing or shading, this is not the one.

Akashiya Sai Outline Brush Pen
・General notes on writing/drawing: I got this as an addition to my Akashiya Sai Water Colour Brush Pens, despite not using them as much anymore *ahah* I just unboxed it today but was pretty much blown away by its practicability. It's really great for drawing/doodling when you want to achieve a brush-like look without using actual brushes. There's a lot of control in the tip for being a hair-tip brush pen. Comparing it to my favourite out of those, the Pentel Pocket, I'd say that the black isn't quite as rich, and the ghosting effect is really strong. Writing kanji works well (I derped a little on the sheet, スマン), however the feel of it isn't quite as natural as with the Pentel brushes. That said, I'd probably not use it for calligraphy, however it might be nice to play around with for doodles and the likes.
・Water resistance: Yes, both on freshly drawn and dried lines.
・Tip: Artificial hair-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on.
・Conclusion: Strong ghosting effect. Good control of tip. Definitely the addition to the Akashiya Water Colour sets or brush-doodling, not sure whether I'd use it much for other things.

Pentel Sign Pen, grey
・General notes on writing/drawing: Got this in desperate search for a good grey one. However this one is a disaster. Sadly, because it writes smoothly and doesn't have as much of that annoying absorb-thing going on like my previously only grey pen, the Pilot Futayaku, and there's a wide range of thickness.
However, the moment I removed the cap, I had ink all over my fingers. Not sure whether that is a failed construction - there is a little whole close to the tip, which seems intended, but I'm guessing that's where the ink flows out from, and why would you do that??? Each time I remove the cap, there's ink all over it. If there's too much ink in the tip, the grey will come out as very dark, and gradually change to a lighter colour, which makes it impossible to keep a steady hue.
・Water resistance: No. Does not smear much, but edges fray a lot on both wet and dry.
・Tip: Felt-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on.
・Conclusion: NO!

Tombow Fudenousuke Twin Tip Brush Pen
・General notes on writing/drawing: Also got this recently, for the same reason I got the Pentel Sign Pen: The need for grey.
The tip is surprisingly bendy and allows anything from very fine to medium strokes. Writing kanji feels natural and writing works fluidly, this also applies to Western letters, although I'd prefer it for kanji. Very good control, so could work for sketches just as well. Have not tested that enough yet.
The black is very rich, possibly one of the richest out of the felt-tips.
The grey tip is the best I have encountered so far. There's no absorb-fray thing going on at all, the range is very good, it feels good to write with, and all in all is just very comfortable.
・Water resistance: Yes. Black only smudges a little when wet, grey did neither smudge nor fray. FINALLY!
・Tip: Felt-tip.
・Reusable: No.
・Other: Clip-on. Cap on the grey side seems a little loosely fit.
・Conclusion: YESSS. Finally a twin black/grey brush pen that feels good and seems to work the way I want it to.

Uniball Signo 1.0
・General notes on writing/drawing: I just added this for the fun of it. Got this for eventual high-lights. It can also be used for corrections. This is not a brush pen though, but your regular gel ink ball pen. The white is quite rich with high opacity. It will layer on top of anything you do.
・Water resistance: Yes.
・Tip: Ball-pen.
・Reusable: Yes, in various colours.
・Other: Clip-on. Dries quickly.

Wow, for a project.

If you have any questions regarding these pens, or would like to contribute with your own experiences with these or other brush pens, feel free to comment! ☆ヽ(´▽`)ノ
I'd be happy if you joined in on the fun.
Roaded on May 23rd 2018, 10:45 am GMT.