Let’s Compare Brush Pens!

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When I first started hand lettering, I was eager to try any kind of brush pen that I could get my hands on. I knew nothing about them and had absolutely no idea what I was looking for. I didn’t even know how to use them once I had them, but I was excited to try them out! Because of this lack of knowledge & skill on my part, I ended up ruining a lot of my pens. Yikes! Brush pens tend to be quite easy to mess up, especially when you have no idea what you are doing. I feel as though I’ve messed up enough brush pens that I can now help others avoid that step in their own lettering journey! I’ve decided to give you a little comparison between 7 of these brush pens that I own:

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Pens (top to bottom): Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen, Pentel Fude Touch, Pigma Brush, Koi Water Brush Fine Tip, Pentel Color Brush, Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip, Tombow Dual Brush Pen.

I’ve decided to look at the same elements for each pen, plus a little bit of my own personal thoughts about them. I will be looking at:
Difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. This should help you determine if you’re ‘ready’ for this pen. If you’re really adventurous, then you can surely ignore this recommendation!
Tip: Bristles, Fairly Flexible, Mildly Flexible, or Extremely Flexible. This will let you know the kind of tip the pen has. Is it like an actual paint brush or a more firm, pointed brush tip. Different kinds of pens will create very unique lettering styles and you want to be sure the pens you buy have the look you’re hoping for!
Colors: Are these pens available in various colors or only black? If you’re looking for bright colors, then some of these pens will not be the ones for you!

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  1. Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen
    Difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
    Tip: Bristles, Very Flexible
    Colors: A LOT OF COLORS!
    Recommendation: These pens are wonderful! They were a hit with some of my beginner friends because they are like a real paint brush, but the tip is short so it’s easier to manage. The ink runs smoothly & you can get some beautiful thin/thick lines. I would recommend these, especially because they come in so many fun colors!
  2. Pentel Fude Touch
    Purchased from: Jet Pens, Amazon
    Difficulty: Beginner
    Tip: Short, Mildly Flexible
    Colors: A LOT OF COLORS!
    Recommendation: I LOVE this pen. I wish that I had known about it when I started lettering! It is small, easy to manage, and creates gorgeous lettering! It’s very similar to the Tombow Fudenosuke (#6 on this list!), but for some reason I tend to lean toward this pen more! I love that it comes in various colors, as well!
  3. Pigma Brush
    Purchased from: Hobby Lobby
    Difficulty: Intermediate
    Tip: Long, Fairly Flexible
    Colors: Comes in a few colors.
    Recommendation: This pen is definitely not one of my favorites. The tip is very long, which can be difficult to manage. The fiber of the tip frays easily – definitely a pen that must be used only on smooth paper (like Rhodia). As you can see from the lettering above, this pen creates beautifully thick lines! As long as you maintain the tip, you should be able to create some gorgeous letters.
  4. Koi Water Brush – Small
    Purchased from: Hobby Lobby
    Difficulty: Advanced
    Tip: Bristles, Extremely Flexible
    Color: Doesn’t have a color. This pen is meant to be filled with water, I filled it with black Sumi Ink instead.
    Recommendation: I’m not a huge fan of this pen. The tip of this pen is very long and very pointy. This makes it difficult to manage and to create thick/thin contrasts. The thin tip makes it difficult to get a consistent thick line and smooth transitions between thick/thin lines. I definitely prefer the Pentel Water Brush instead.
  5. Pentel Color Brush
    Purchased from: Paper Ink Arts, Amazon
    Difficulty: Intermediate
    Tip: Bristles, Very Flexible
    Color: LOTS OF COLORS! Most often seen in black.
    Recommendation: Another favorite pen of mine! I have to say, Pentel makes wonderful brush pens. I love this pen. It’s unique because the ink must be squeezed through the barrel of the pen up into the bristles. You have to be mindful of your ink usage and remember to squeeze the pen so you don’t run out of ink in the middle of a word! I highly recommend this pen! You can also purchase replacement inks without having to buy a fully new pen.
  6. Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip
    Purchased from: Jet Pens, Amazon
    Difficulty: Beginner
    Tip: Short, Mildly Flexible
    Color: Black
    Recommendation: I recommend this pen for beginners! It is a portable, small pen and creates gorgeous thin/thick lines! You will be writing a lot smaller than you might with some of these other brush pens, so it’s good for details or pieces with a lot of words! This pen is very similar to the Pentel Fude Touch & I recommend trying them both to see which one you like more!
  7. Tombow Dual Brush Pen
    Purchased from: JetPens, Amazon
    Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
    Tip: Long, Very Flexible
    Color: SO. MANY. COLORS!
    Recommendation: If you’ve been researching hand lettering, then you have likely seen a LOT of this pen. It creates some gorgeous lettering & is well-loved by many seasoned letterers. These pens are very difficult to use, especially for beginners! I wouldn’t recommend it as your first pen. It has a very flexible tip that is easy to fray! These pens are also not very cheap, that’s why it may be better to begin with an easier pen & work your way up to this one! I will say this though, I love the Tombow Dual Brush very much. It is easily one of my favorite pens & I love the (what seems) infinite color options. I absolutely recommend this pen, but I would say proceed with caution & use soft paper (I’ll talk more about this later, but basically look for a Rhodia notepad)

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Hopefully you’ve found this information helpful as you’re on the beginning of your lettering journey. I would love to hear about YOUR favorite brush pens! Comment below with your favorite pen.

 

*Amazon links are affiliate links.

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6 thoughts on “Let’s Compare Brush Pens!

  1. shareenadean says:

    Thank you so much for this! I got into brush lettering recently and bought Tombow Dual Brush. Oh boy, I almost give up on it and I ruined the tip too 😦

    I will definitely try Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip and Pentel. 🙂 🙂

    Like

  2. Marta says:

    I have tried almost all the brushpens in your list and I’m in love with the Pentel Fude Touch, I use small notebooks and for me this is the best option. I would recommend an alternative to Tombow Dual Brush Pen, it`s the KURETAKE ART AND GRAPHIC TWIN, I find the tip of the pen easier and less fragile.

    Like

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