Brush Pen Comparison

Brush Pens comparison

I’ve had a fascination lately with brush pens. There are so many variables with brush pens; tip size and tip material being the biggest factors.

I’ve collected all the brush pens I currently have for a little show-and-tell. I certainly wouldn’t say one of these is better than another but they are all different and you might enjoy a specific aspect of one or more of these pens.

Some of the pens have foam-like tips, some have more like felt-tip points, some have actual filament brush tips.

Brush Pens comparison

From top to bottom:

  1. Staedtler Mars Duo 3000 (purchased my single black marker at a local art supply store, set of 10 different colors available for $29.62)
  2. Copic CIAO Superbrush (part of a set of 6 markers for $23)
  3. Copic Multiliner Brush (mine is a disposable version but a refillable version is available for $9.20)
  4. Kuretake No. 8 Fountain Brush Pen ($13.50)
  5. Pentel Art Brush ($8.25)
  6. Pilot Pocket Brush – Hard ($5.00)
  7. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen – Hard ($2.50)

Brush Pens comparison

As you can see, the pens have a wide range of widths and softnesses that will affect how wide a line you can create and how variable your line widths will be. Most of the brush pens are water soluble, non-waterproof.

My favorite pens are the Staedtler Mars 3000 Duo and the Copic Ciao Superbrush. The foam/polyester brush tips are stiff enough to create a wide range of line weights while putting down a rich black ink. Both are available in a lot of other colors and are water-soluble, blendable inks. The points seem to stand up to all the abuse I throw at them too.

The softest brush pens are the ones with real filament brush tips like the Pentel Color Brush and the Kuretake Fountain Brush Pen.They take a bit more practice to get the hang of using them. The Kuretake came out a little light because it uses a fountain pen style cartridge and I had cleaned it out so there was still a little water in the bristles and feed when I put the new cartridge in it. The Pentel Color Brush has a flexible pen body so that you can squeeze it to force more ink out. Often, when I run out of ink in the Pentel Color Brush Pens, I’ll just dip it into a bottle of black ink and keep going. The bristles will soak up a good deal of ink.

The Tombow Fudenosuke is the finest making the thinnest lines. I tend to use it as my everyday marker for labelling file folders, addressing envelopes and the like. It adds more character to my writing than a Sharpie marker. The Pilot Pocket Brush is similar but with more variation in line weight and a bit more bold.

The felt-tip brush pens like the Copic Multiliner Brush tend to fray out at the tips quickly. Luckily, replacement tips are available and the Copic Multiliner is the one pen that’s waterproof.

I’ve barely scratched the surface at the wide array of brush pens available. Some are refillable, some are cartridge-based, some are not. There are more sizes and ink colors to choose from too. Have you tried any brush pens?

Pens were tested on the Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank Pad.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items shown here were sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I use both Copic and Prismacolor brush tip markers and I love them so much I don’t know if I can ever go back to chisel-tip. I don’t think I’d want to write with them, though.

  2. Nice review but I’m pretty sure Copic Ciao are not water soluble as they’re alcohol based markers. I’m not sure how to take the information on the rest of the pens now because it’s a discredit to claim that about Copics, sorry.

    1. I’d store parallel pens flat like fountain pens. If you want to store them in a cup, I’d store them tip up but you may need to prime them a bit if they’ve been sitting for awhile to get the ink flowing back up to the points.

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