A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a young girl discovered her first truly unusual pen. It was the Marvy Le Pen. I was probably in grade school and along with hunting for Hello Kitty stuff, I found the exotic Le Pen. In the meantime, I’ve found many other pens that perform better and last longer than the Le Pen but I always have a soft spot for these. For the most part, their color range has not changed since my grade school days. The tips of the fiber tip pens still wear out quickly and the original Le Pen only come in one tip size. So I was pretty delighted to hear that Marvy had created a new product in the Le Pen line: the Flex Brush.
I got the Le Pen Flex Brush in the 6-pen Set of Jewel Tone Colors ($9.75). These were always my favorite colors when I went shopping for the original Le Pens as a kid and I think of them as Le Pen’s signature colors. The set includes: amethyst (lavender), burgundy, magenta, navy, Oriental Blue, and teal.
The 6-pen set come in a rigid plastic case with a flip lid that doubles as a stand for the pens making it easier to access the pens while working. The clips lock into the case with a click.
The easiest way to discern the Flex pens from regular Le Pens are two ways: the foil stamped “Flex” on the barrel and the end cap is a translucent version of the color rather than opaque. The pen width, length and clip are otherwise identical to the original.
The fiber tips are a conical shape encased in plastic. The “flex tips” are not particularly long like a brush tip. They are more like a soft bullet tip. According to the description on the package, they are “rubberized brush tips”.
While the package describes the colors as “vivid” the characteristic I associate most with these Jewel colors are rich. The colors are also a little unusual for markers and felt-tipped pens sold in mass market channels. Oriental Blue has always been one of my favorite colors in the Le Pen color line-up. In watercolor, it would be called Prussian Blue which is also one of my favorite colors. The burgundy always looks like red to me but that’s fine.
As for the flexibility of the tips, it’s enough to be interesting but not awe-inspiring. I suspect the tips will wear down quickly to a blunt, less defined shape like a Sharpie marker making these pens useful for filling in color at best. Because of their short length, the thick-to-thin ratio was not very dramatic to begin with.
The pens did make me nostalgic for the regular fiber-tipped Le Pens, however. Maybe my inner grade schooler will just need to pull out a Hello Kitty notebook and some Le Pens this week.