Time for a New Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

December 29, 2008

Right: Journal Sketch, a NEW Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on Nideggen paper. (By "new" I mean I finally wore one out.) Click the image to view an enlargement and read on to see cropped close up of the lines.

I got a new Pentel Pocket Brush Pen and I’m so happy I just have to shout about it. I love my old pen, but that’s just it. It is 3 years, almost 4 years old!! The tip was still pretty wonderful, but I noticed when I would try to write with it (as opposed to sketching with it) that there was some fuzziness at the tip and I didn’t get quite the crisp line I used to achieve when working with it.

Almost 4 years out of a pen with a brush tip isn’t bad, especially if you have used it pretty much everyone of those days, probably for at least one if not 5 or 7 sketches on each of those days!!! (O.K. that last exclamation point was excessive, but you get the idea.)

In the image which starts this post, I’m working with the brand new pen, a fresh tip. I love the way it got light and slim for squiggly little lines, still having a lot of spring in it. And how it didn’t waver when I bullied it into broader applications or smeared its side across the texture of the paper.

Left: you can see a closer crop of the image and see especially in the thin lines around the nose and eyes how much line variation you can get with the tip of this brush. Click to see an enlargement.

It’s great fun. I want to run and use it again just this moment, because I remember how fun it was. Of course using the old one was fun too, and I have it sitting on my desk to grab at a moment’s notice. It has some life left in it. But my pen that comes with me is new, and it was time to bring in the replacement and up the fun level even more.

If you haven’t tried one of these brush pens yet (why are you waiting?) I encourage you to do so immediately. The dark black ink is waterproof so you can put your watercolor or gouache washes right over it immediately. (On some papers depending on the way they have been sized you may find that some of the ink will float on the surface and bleed a bit if you move quickly from pen work to washes.) Also there’s no chemical smell with this ink.

I buy my Pentel Pocket Brush Pens at Wet Paint. Sometimes there is a run on these pens (young people, manga artists, graphic novelists, just about everyone seems to want one) so I like to keep a new, unused one in the wrapper, in my desk.

If you are looking for a brush pen that will travel well (I’ve flown to France and back with mine in my pocket and no problems at any time; and carried it for almost 4 years in my pack, again, no problems, not one leak) you need to look into this pen. Depending on your vendor you’ll pay from $13 to $18. It’s well worth it. Just pop in a new ink cartridge when you run out of ink. And start logging the miles and miles of happy lines that almost 4 years can bring (four years and counting!) That’s worth it.

  1. Reply

    Hi Roz,

    That’s a great drawing and very expressive.

    After listening to your interview on Danny Gregory’s podcast I went to my local art supply store with a little list which included a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. The person helping me seemed a little confused by that item and what I ended up buying, which he said was what I was looking for, is a “Pentel Color Brush” and an extra cartridge in a different color.

    Is that the same thing as the Pocket Brush Pen?

    Thank you,
    Anna Maria

  2. Reply

    Thank you so much for all this information, Roz. It’s very helpful. I definitely see the difference!

    I had a feeling about the pen, since you and Danny have always used the term ‘brush pen” and not “color brush”, but the clerk did his best, I guess.

    Anyway, I don’t mind having the extra tool, and now I have an excuse to buy something else 🙂

    Have a happy and productive 2009!

    • Roz
    • December 31, 2008

    Anna Maria, you can still do some fun things with the Pentel Color Brush, as I said. And like you, I enjoy having the extra tools. I happen to really like the effects of the CB and am really sad it isn’t lightfast.

    I found my lightfast test. If you go to you’ll see a sketch I did with the magenta color brush (and see how much fun it is to let the color blend with gouache) and then at the end of that text page you’ll see a link to the color chart test.

    Have fun.

    I hope you do get to try the Pentel Pocket Brush at some point. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

  3. I don’t know how I found this blog of yours, but I’m glad I did. I’m ordering the Pentel Pocket from DickBlick. I almost mistook the Pentel Color Brush for the Pocket, but then I saw the comments above and realized my mistake. Do you know of any red lightfast brush pens? I’m using the Pentel Pocket for blacks, but I need a red one too, and I don’t want it fading.


  4. Reply

    Leftybegone, I’m glad the post on the different Pentel brush pens was helpful.

    Alas, I don’t know of a lightfast red brush pen, unless you count the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen, which is a fiber-tipped brush tip, not an individual hairs tip.

    If you have to have one that is lightfast and don’t mind that it’s a fiber tip I’d go with the Faber-Castell.

    Other than that you could put ink in your Niji brush. I do this for sketching—but I tend to do it at the end of the life of the Niji brush, because if you don’t clear it out right away it the acrylic ink can gum up the works and ruin the Niji waterbrush.

    If you don’t need waterproof ink like acrylic ink you could fill your Niji with Dr. Ph Martin’s HYDRUS watercolors which are artist quality (these aren’t their dyes) and use that in the brush.

    Or you could simply use a brush of your choice and dip in in acrylic ink and clean it well afterwards.

    Good luck. Thanks for reading.

    • Ed
    • May 14, 2011

    I just found your site yesterday…I’m an old guy beginner…but I liked what you suggested about just sketching in ink…I’ve done 2 so far and it’s liberating. I ordered my Pentel Pocket Brush today…can’t wait to try it out….thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Cookmode

Pin It on Pinterest