Akashiya Natural Bamboo Brush Pen
June 23, 2012

So.

Quite a while back, Mike Rohde hooked me up with JetPens. I'd never heard of the company...but now that I had, whoa.

So, JetPens primarily makes available to the US the awesome pens available in Japan. Since I prefer rollerballs at a REALLY fine point, this looked like a good fit to me.

It's been a while and in the spirit of full disclosure, I've placed multiple orders with JetPens since that first introduction. They're a relatively small and niche company, but don't let that fool you. For the pen connaisseur, the artist or just an aficionado of good pens or pencils, JetPens is a site to be aware of.

A week or two ago, I was contacted by one of the JetPens folk. They asked if I would be willing to review a product here. I had no idea what they would send, and wound up getting a piece that I have little experience with — a brush pen.

Now, to be honest, I use technical pens most of the time. I don't have the steadiest hand. I prefer to pencil first and then, when it's "perfect," I go back over my pencils with Copic Multiliners or Pigma Micron markers. The thought that JetPens wanted me to review a fancier brush pen than anything I'd ever touched before was a little intimidating. But I figured if I couldn't get the hang of the pen, one of my friends would.

When I opened the mail, I saw this:

Unboxing
Unboxing

I am a sucker for a good box and I'm totally in love with this product's looks at any rate. Besides the nice little balsa box/case, the presentation here is really well done. I like that it ships with the cap off so you can see the brush right away and that they took the added precaution of the plastic sleeve to help protect the brush as well.

Unboxing

I popped the cartridge in and tried to snap a shot of the brush filling up.

Brush tip

Then it was time to do pen-only doodles and evaluate how it handled. First up were these little guys. Not good doodles, but they did give me a feel for the pen and just how unsteady my hand is on long strokes.

Weird Doodles with Akashiya brush pen

Which then led to this guy as my hand got somewhat steadier:

Can't Reach the Balloon - Akashiya brush pen sketch
Don't Eat the Flowers - Akashiya brush pen sketch

Then, I waited a week. I wanted to know just how the pen would respond to being left capped but unused for a while. The bit on the left is another pen-only doodle, but the one on the right was a little guy I'd been playing around with for a while. This one I penciled first and then inked. I was curious to see if I could manage the thin lines I wanted with the brush pen and I was truly startled at how fine a line I could coax out of it.

Wanna Play - Akashiya brush pen sketch

You can see the pencils underneath the little guy on the right. Here it is after cleaning up the pencils:

Can't Reach the Balloon - Akashiya brush pen sketch

I had a tiny bit of smearing around his hand and the foot on the left, but otherwise, worked just fine.

The pen itself is awesome. It's definitely been a great introduction for me into brushwork. I am not overly fond of the ink it comes with and I've seen others with the same complaint. Since I have a somewhat slow hand, I had issues with bleeding sometimes, even on my good bristol. The ink also sometimes dried oddly so that areas looked only partially covered. (You can see this in the thicker lines near the bottom of the little guy on the left above.)

I've seen other folks claim that the Winsor & Newton ink cartridges will fit well in here and they seem to be a more universally appreciated ink. I'll have to try that next.

All in all, I have nothing but praise for the pen itself. The ink flowing off the brush was smooth, it didn't dry out in a week (even though I live in a desert) and it felt good in the hand. I obviously still have a lot of practice to do, but that's not the fault of the pen.

I also brought it up to work to let one of my co-workers try it out. She uses a lot of brush pens herself and was intrigued by a cartridge-fed brush. I'm pretty sure she actually fell in love with it. She handed it back to me somewhat regretfully and said "It makes me want to draw. I mean, I would just sit here all day and draw!" In the interest of work productivity, I took it back. Her only concern was she prefers multiple size brushes and while the tips are replaceable, there's just the one size.

So, looks like JetPens has another hit on their hands. I wasn't sure that I was going to keep it since I'm not great with brushes, but playing with it for a week has convinced me to keep trying!

Posted by Red Monkey at June 23, 2012 1:09 PM | Sketches | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

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