The Big Brush-Off

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I have been stockpiling brush pens for awhile now and I though I’d do a little round-up of the ones I’ve liked the best. These are all basically disposable pocket pens that use either a felt/fiber sponge-like material for the tip or a more rubbery polymer material for the tip. None of these use actual bristle-style brushes. When I did the actual drawing test I could not identify two of the pens as all the writing on the pen is in Japanese. After some careful study, I noticed the Mitsubishi logo on both pens and was able to establish that they were from Uni-Ball (a division of Mistubishi). Please read the notes for details as some of the writing sample information in the photo is not accurate. Sorry!

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From top to bottom:

  • Uni-Ball Double-Sided Pocket Brush (I did not figure out that it was double-sided until after I shot all the photos for this review. So sorry to fall down on the job like this!  The smaller tip on this pen is similar to the Uni-Ball Pocket Brush pen which is #1 in the writing samples below. $3.30
  • Copic Multiliner Brush S which is a disposable version of the reusable and slightly higher priced Copic Multiliner SP Brush $9.20. I purchased the disposable Copic at my local art supply store, Creative Coldsnow.
  • Uni-Ball Pocket Brush. I was unable to find this model online but the Uni-Ball Double-Sided Pocket Brush uses the same polymer tip in the small end. Or if you only want the small brush tip in a polymer material, try the Pilot Pocket Brush -Hard $5
  • Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Hard $2.50

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The numbers to the left are my personal ranking of the pens though I like them all for various uses. My favorite was the Uni-Ball Pocket Brush with the finer point. It lays down a dark black and can create a lot of line variation from thick to very fine. The Uni-Ball Double Sided Pocket Brush was #2 only because I didn’t figure out until after I shot the photos that the opposite end of the pen held the same point as the Uni-Ball pocket brush so it is really the top of my list. The thick porous end is great fun with lots of variation in lightweights. I use this pen in place of a Sharpie permanent a lot of the time because it doesn’t make my writing all clumpy like the stubby end of a Sharpie even though it isn’t waterproof. The Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen was the finest point, good for writing at small sizes or detail work in drawing. It was pretty water resistant. The Copic Multiliner Brush S is a long point with a porous felt-like tip. It seemed the most likely to suffer wear and dull at the point but was the most water-resistant.

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These pens are lots of fun to use and are not so expensive that you couldn’t grab one or two and try them out. If you’ve ever wanted to play around with a flexible nib, these are a fun introduction and brush lettering can be quite a beautiful thing!

beautiful thing hand lettered
Lettered with Uni-Ball Pocket Brush, scanned in black and white and then inverted in Photoshop.

Here’s a few other brush pen round-ups you might like:

I’ve mentioned other brush pens in the past like my favorite bristle-style, the Pentel pocket brush which is refillable. There is also the Faber-Castell brush pens, the Sakura Pigma Brush pens and many others. I’ve tried to stick with the pens that are more inclined to be used for writing or Sketchnoting rather than the large array of watercolor inspired pens. Please let me know if I missed your favorite.

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