I love the variety of brush pens that’s available on the market and their overall quality. The synthetic bristles form and keep a pointed tip more easily than traditional brushes, and it also means you can use them longer.
One thing I don’t like is the amount of new cartridges, or new pens and other plastic parts you need to keep writing – Manufacturers offer either replacement cartridges or pens, and this means tossing the old parts away. I prefer to use my tools as long as possible, so I’ve searched around how you can refill your brush pens. It’s very easy if you’re not afraid to get your hands a bit dirty (which you already do if you pick up calligraphy as an art form anyway…)
I’ll show the refilling process for the Tombow ABT, the Tombow Fudenosuke and the Pentel Color Brush. What you need is essentially a tool to pry open the pen, a small syringe or eyedropper, and a cloth to keep your workspace clean. That’s all!
With the bigger brush pens you can always opt to just get a watercolor brush (like the Pentel Aquash), the bristles are the same, the tank is a very comfortable alternative, and it’s available in different sizes.
Just be careful not to use ink that has very big pigments (like golden ink), as it might clog the brush pen. So far I’ve had great results with India and other drawing ink, and the Tombows work great with Fountain pen ink (which is chemically colored, so it has no big pigments in it).
I found you can refill Tombow pens a few times until the tip starts to get too fuzzy, and you can refill the Pentel brush pens many many times.
Here are the two videos where I show how to refill your brush pens:
Refilling a Tombow brush pen:
Refilling a Pentel brush pen:
Do you find this helpful? Do you refill your pens or do you find it’s too much hassle? Join the discussion and leave a comment below.