Let’s have a look:
Pentel Color Brush
Let me start by stating this is my very favorite brush pen of all the brush pens out there. The pen has a big, soft tip with synthetic bristles which can hold a lot of ink and is attached to an ink cartridge in the back which you have to press to let more ink flow out.
The pen resembles a normal brush tip in every way, except that the bristles will form a nice exact tip much more easily than a normal brush, which means more precision if you’re lettering, and a higher longevity. You have to pay a bit of attention when squeezing the cartridge, which you’ll have to do every few lines or so, because a lot of ink can come out.
The pen works wonderful for lettering, and it’s my favorite brush pen for all kinds of brush calligraphy work. You can create different textures (the dry pen looks great), styles and all in all it feels very similar to doing brush lettering with an actual brush – minus the need for dipping in and having to form the tip every time. You still have to do this with the Pentel from time to time if you notice it writes less precise, you just roll the moist bristles on your paper to let it form a tip again.
The pen has a bit more of a learning curve than, say, the Tombow ABT, but once you can control it it’s the most wonderful instrument with a big range.
The only downside is that the cartridge is empty after a short while (especially if you write big and with flowing strokes), you can either get on of Pentel’s rather expensive refill cartridges, do a DIY refill if you don’t mind messy fingers, or just use it like a dip pen and dip it into an ink container. I’d suggest the last method if you just want to continue writing.
Pentel Pocket Brush
The Pocket Brush is very similar to the Color Brush, it has the same tip with the flexible synthetic bristles, but they’re a bit smaller than those of the biggest Color Brush. It comes with changeable cartridges that looks like those of a fountain pen, and they’re filled with black waterproof ink. You can use for brush lettering in the same way as above, but I found using it more for making quick ink drawings. It works great for both.
Pentel Sign Pen Touch
The Pentel sign pen is a much smaller brush pen with a very soft, flexible felt tip. I find for me it works best for slow, deliberate lettering techniques (styles similar to Copperplate) and not so much for more expressive, loose lettering, because the tip is so soft that the contrast will disappear if you write with more speed. For quick handwriting-type work I prefer the small brush pens by Tombow, which are less soft. You can see in the examples below what I mean. For thin, elegant lettering in the spirit of pointed pen calligraphy this brush pen works great, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s coming from the pointed pen technique and looking to change their tools.
This pen comes in a variety of colors and it’s non-refillable.
The Pentel Aquash has the same principle like the Pentel Color Brush, but it’s made for watercolor. You can use it for lettering too. It comes with synthetic bristle tips in different sizes, and has an empty water tank which you can fill with either water (for painting or watercolor effects) or ink. I’ve only tried it out with water, because I use it’s bigger brother (the Color brush) for all my inky stuff.
You can achieve beautiful light watercolor brush writing with this pen, but I have to say due to the water that’s always on the brush and that keeps the tip very moist, there’s a lot less color on the paper than if I were to use a regular brush. I actually found it difficult to use for regular watercolor paintings (be reminded that I’m by no means a watercolor expert, just exploring different techniques at this point in my journey) because to get more pigment and thus more color onto the page, I ended up using way more pigment than I would use with a regular brush, and I found the water flow harder to control. For watercolor lettering, though, it works fine.
The only thing I don’t like about the Pentel pens is the packaging, there’s far too much plastic involved. There must be an innovative and ecological way to pack pens these days.
The brush pens in action
I’ve actually done a short video review last week where I demonstrate some of the brushes I talked about here, so feel free to check that out, too.
All in all, I’m a big fan of the Pentel brush pens because they make brush lettering more easy and convenient, I use them a lot in my work and really enjoy writing with them. If you choose to refill the pens with your own ink, you can have a great assortment of brush pens for a low price.
What’s you experience with different brush pens? What’s your favorite? I’d love to know. Share in the comments below.
(Transparency Disclaimer: Some of the pens were given to me by Pentel. Thank you kindly for the cooperation!)