Review by Tina Koyama
Akashiya Sai ThinLine Brush Pens ($4.95 each or set of 5/$14.25) are, by far, the thinnest brush pens I have ever used. Available in five earthy colors, the pigment-based inks are waterproof, which is still relatively rare among bristle brush pens. After waiting less than a minute, the inks could be washed without a trace of bleeding.
These slender pens look a bit like eye liners (if you use both brush pens and eye liners, avoid unfortunate accidents by storing them far apart in your purse).
Like most brush pens, the extra-fine brush tips are made of a synthetic material that can be reshaped easily to retain the point. With the pen held vertically, the tip can impart a remarkably thin line. Used at an angle, the brush can make a relatively broad stroke, too.
I sketched a tree with the Seiboku color in a Stillman & Birn Delta sketchbook to see the range of line variation, and I love the organic look of the strokes this brush delivers. I think calligraphers and letterers would also appreciate the flexibility and thinness of the brush tip.
If I have any quibbles, it is that the slender barrel – about the same as a pencil – is not very comfortable to work with for any length of time. I prefer a chunkier barrel on a brush, especially for the delicate work that this brush invites. Still, it’s a lovely addition to my (admittedly sizable) arsenal of brush pens.