Review by Tina Koyama
Ana recently reviewed a range of sizes and colors in the Uni Pin family of pigment fine liner pens. “Just when I thought I’d reviewed every possible brand and variety of felt-tipped or fiber-tipped pen, I find another one,” she said, and I could have said the very same thing about brush tip pens. So I had to try one more in the family – the one with the brush tip ($2.45; available in black only).
Like the ones Ana tried, the brush tip version contains waterproof, fadeproof pigment ink.
I like the little window in the cap that reveals the tip – a nice distinguishing feature in a vast ocean of similar brush and fine liner pens.
The feature that attracted me when I first saw its image on JetPens is the hard, reinforced brush tip that looks like it will not mush down rapidly under my heavy drawing hand. While I love the varied lines I can get from a real bristle brush pen or one with a flexible formed tip, the brush pens I find most versatile have firm, reinforced tips like this. I’ve been using the Uni Pin regularly for about a month, and it hasn’t shown any wear or mushing down. If the tip lasts as long as the ink, I’ll be happy.
The Pen Addict goes on about how brush tips like this make his handwriting look awesome, and I admit that my not-nearly-as-neat-as-Brad’s writing looks a lot better using a pen like this, too. I get thicks and thins without effort, and the line variation is impressive.
The line is crisp on smooth Clairfontaine as well as on toothier Col-o-Ring Oversize paper.
I tested the pigment ink’s waterproof quality in a Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, which is sized for wet media, so ink remains on the surface a bit longer than it might on writing paper. Even so, after waiting less than a minute and then again after seven minutes, the trace of visible washed ink is minimal. Since I wouldn’t have the patience to wait longer than seven minutes if I were going to use watercolor after drawing with the brush pen, this degree of washing is acceptable.
In fact, I don’t use watercolor much, but I do use watercolor pencils frequently, and this sketch of our neighborhood Halloween parade shows the ink holding up well after water was applied to the pencil pigment.
Most often, I use brush pens like the Uni Pin for quick little sketches in Field Notes notebooks while riding public transportation. Even in this simple portrait, I like the subtle line variation that’s possible without much effort, and the firm tip is easier to control on bumpy bus rides. If the brush tip holds up for the life of the ink as well as I think it will, it’s a keeper.
Tina Koyama is an urban sketcher in Seattle. Her blog is Fueled by Clouds & Coffee, and you can follow her on Instagram as Miatagrrl.