Last week, I went over a few of my favorite brush pens for beginners. Those pens are fantastic when you’re first starting out, but they’re barely a drop in the bucket compared to all of the options that are out there. When you’re ready to branch out from your starter pen, the hundreds of options are overwhelming and make finding the right pen difficult!
Lucky for you, I’m an art supply junkie, which means I own 18 different types of brush pens. And I’m cataloging each and every one of them here, including information on the tip type, flexibility, firmness, ink type, and line weight/contrast. I’ve also categorized them as beginner, intermediate, or advanced pens based on the learning curve I’ve had with each one.
Without further adieu, here is your comprehensive guide to choosing a brush pen! I’ve compiled this table and the explanation of pen qualities from part one into a handy PDF you can download so you can take it with you whenever you go pen shopping.
Beginner Brush Pens
|Copic Multiliner – M||Felt||Medium||Soft||Normal||Medium, High Contrast|
|Kuretake Disposable Pocket*||Felt||High||Firm||Normal||Fine, Low Contrast|
|Kuretake Zig Cocoiro||Felt||Medium||Firm||Normal||Fine, Low Contrast|
|Kuretake Zig Fudebiyori||Felt||High||Firm||Normal||Medium, High Contrast|
|Pentel Sign Pen (aka Touch)||Felt||Medium||Medium||Normal||Fine, Medium Contrast|
|Pilot Futayaku Double-Sided*||Felt||Medium||Medium||Normal||Fine & Medium, High Contrast|
|Tombow Dual Brush||Felt||High||Medium||Normal||Medium, High Contrast|
|Tombow Fudenosuke (soft)*||Felt||Medium||Soft||Normal||Fine, Low Contrast|
|Felt||Medium||Soft||Normal||Fine, Low Contrast|
|Uni Brush Pen Set||Felt||Low||Firm||Normal||Fine & Bold, Medium Contrast|
|Uni Mitsubishi Double-Sided*||Felt||Medium||Hard||Normal||Fine & Bold, High Contrast|
Intermediate Brush Pens
|Copic Multiliner – S||Felt||High||Soft||Normal||Medium, High Contrast
|Pigma Micron Brush Pen||Felt||High||Soft||Normal||Medium, High Contrast|
|Zebra Disposable Brush Pen*||Felt||Low||Firm||Normal||Very Fine, Low Contrast|
Advanced Brush Pens
|Kuretake No. 6 Double-Sided*||Felt||High||Soft||Normal||Medium, Medium Contrast|
|Pentel Pocket*||Synthetic Hair||High||Soft||High||Fine, High Contrast|
|Pilot Pocket (Soft)*||Felt||High||Soft||High||Fine, High Contrast|
|Zebra Double-Sided*||Synthetic Hair||High||Soft||Streaky||Fine & Bold, High Contrast|
The pens I classified as advanced are the pens that I find I have the most difficulty controlling. The Kuretake No. 6 and the Pilot Pocket both have a very flexible tip that feels rubbery (it even often squeaks on the page!) and I’ve found transitioning from thick to think smoothly to be extremely difficult. The synthetic hair tips especially have a high learning curve because the hair is much more flexible and a little less predictable than felt.
*Many of the pens above I purchased together in Jet Pens’ brush pen sampler packs, which are a great way to try new pens. And they give you a pretty solid distribution of beginner, intermediate, and advanced pens! I’ve linked to individual pens above, but you can try out the classic brush pen sampler or the double-sided brush pen sampler to get try out all of those pens and bang for your buck.
What’s Your Favorite?
By now, you realize that there’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a brush pen – and we didn’t even get into color options or waterproofness! (By the way, as far as color choices go, the Tombow Dual Brush, Pentel Sign Pen, and Zig Fudebiyori are your best options). What are your favorite brush pens? What do you love most about them?