Pentel Pocket Brush Pen—New Ink Colors

April 3, 2019
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen GRAY INK, on toned Nideggen paper. Doodling imaginary chickens.

Finally, at last, we’ve all wanted it for so long and now we get it—the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen can now be purchased with gray or sepia ink as well as black ink!

These are Pentel’s hard-bodied pens, the fountain-pen type pen with a synthetic brush tip.

(Some readers seem to be confused about which Pentel I am writing about. For more on Pentel lines of pens see this post link. The fourth photo in that post shows the hardbodied Pentel Pocket Brush Pen with 2 black ink cartridges which is the only way it was available at the time. I am not writing about the squeezy bodied pens from Pentel called either Color Brush or Art Brush. The linked post has more information on those.)

The classic pen body (fountain-pen-type-body) remains the same, the ink flow remains the same. The cartridges are the same, except contain the different ink colors.

The gray pen has a gray cap at the very top of the pen cap, a ring of gray which shows at mid-barrel when the cap is on, and the top 1/2 of the pen body (when the cap is removed) is gray. 

The sepia pen has the same adjustments. It should be easy to tell any of the three ink-color pens apart at a glance, except in low light conditions as the sepia is rather dark in color.

A chicken doodle using the Sepia ink PPBP, on Nideggen paper.

Yesterday I got Dick to drive me to Wet Paint where I had a brush pen in each color waiting for me. 

When I got home I pulled out some scraps of Nideggen paper left over from book binding and tested both pens to see how the ink flowed and how I liked the ink. I tested first on toned paper because I like to work on this paper with the original black-ink PPBP and know how it dries, doesn’t bleed when washed, etc.

I also put watercolor washes on both the drawings immediately after sketching, which is my typical “no-time-elapse” approach. None of the ink bled into the watercolor on this paper. (You’ll want to test these inks on your favorite papers. As with all water-proof or water-resistant inks, they aren’t waterproof until they are dry, and on some papers because of the sizing that coats the papers this can take some time!)

I also tested on a light cream paper with just washes of water and both inks did bleed every so slightly on that slicker paper which didn’t allow the ink to fully dry before I painted. Nothing objectionable, and probably nothing anyone else would notice once I put paint washes everywhere. Just test your papers.

(I purchased my new PPBPs with the new ink colors at Wet Paint in St. Paul, MN. They currently have their “Make Your Mark Sale” and so there is a discount. They do mail order. Wet Paint’s packaging includes two ink cartridges. Additional cartridges can be purchased.)

I’m so happy I can’t stop smiling. I’m thinking that these pens on Nideggen might be just the thing to take to the 2019 Minnesota State Fair????

I couldn’t wait to write about it. Below is a page spread in my current journal where I pasted in the scraps. 

The sketches with watercolor washes added. In another bit of serendipity the scraps fit perfectly in my current visual journal. AND that journal happens to have all sorts of grids printed on the pages and the spread where these guys fell was a “specimen” page. Too fun.
    • Tyanne Agle
    • April 3, 2019

    I love these two sketches for so many reasons. That second chicken, the sepia one made me giggle. Love the eyes. Do you know if the sepia is the same as platinum’s fountain pen pigmented sepia? That ink seems more brown than sepia to me. Either way a trip to wet paint is in my near future.

    1. Reply

      Tyanne I’m pretty sure Pentel would have a proprietary ink for their pens and not use Platinum. It’s been too long since I used Platinum Sepia. I wouldn’t remember how brown it is. Pentel’s sepia is very dark. You’ll see when you go check it out.

        • Tyanne
        • April 4, 2019

        Oops momentary duh moment. I combined the two companies into one in my mind. I do know better. They are already out of the sepia pens but have more on order

        1. Reply

          No problem. I know that some people like to put Platinum ink into the empty PPBP cartridges. (I personally don’t see why, but a lot of people don’t understand why I like to eat peanut butter and sultana sandwiches so I figure we’re even.) If I sensed you were going really off the rails I would do an intervention!

    • Kathleen Michael
    • April 3, 2019

    Thanks for info. Fun chickens 😁😁😁

    1. Reply

      Thanks Kathleen. Hope you go check out those pens. Too fun.

    • Paul
    • April 3, 2019

    Such characterful and animated chickens :o). Great news about the new PPBP ink options!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Tina Koyama
    • April 3, 2019

    Wow, that’s fun! The sepia looks pretty close to black in your example, but the gray is really nice, especially on your toned paper.

    1. Reply

      Tina, it is a very dark brown, click on the unpainted image and you’ll see the ink color for the sepia pen at its best. Under the glaze of paint in the other version the color of the sepia gets a bit knocked out. I actually think I prefer it to the gray and I’m a big gray person!

  1. Reply

    At Jet Pens, they call these the Pentel Art Brush Pen, not the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. They are different products. I didn’t find grey or sepia versions of the Brush Pen.

    1. Reply

      Kate, you’re looking at the WRONG product. The ArtBrush also called the ColorBrush (depending on when in time you’re looking and the packaging of the different distributors) is NOT the pen I’m writing about here.

      The Pentel Pocket Brush Pen I’m writing about is the BLACK Barreled hard-bodied pen that looks like a fountain pen.

      I got mine at Wet Paint and there is a photo at the link

      Here’s the one with gray ink cartridges
      Please read my post again to see details about the barrel colors.

      Also if you are interested in the ArtPen/colorbrush (and they are a lot of fun to use) Wet Paint has those in sets that have a Grey, Sepia and Waterbrush. But I don’t know where that is on their website, just the rack it’s on in the store. You could call them about that.

      The artbrush/colorbrush like these with the black squeezy body is filled with dye-based inks which are water-soluble. The PPBP has ink which is water resistant.

      You can read more about the different lines at this blog post

      It contains photos, and also talks about some exceptions to the squeezy lines as far as pigment inks are concerned.

      1. Reply

        Thanks. Apparently, JetPens carries only the black Pentel Pocket Brush as they offered no other colors.

    • Maven
    • September 26, 2020

    Hi Roz, thanks SO much for the detailed info about the Pentel pocket brush, and especially the difference between the squeeze type and the actual pocket brush! I don’t know why Pentel makes it all so confusing…
    I first ordered a black one and fell in love, and thanks to this post I found the sepia brush for sale at Amazon, too — I hope it’s ok to link to it directly because I found the sepia pocket brush for a bargain price, under $7, whoa, and it comes with four cartridges too. I love how the sepia can look almost black but can also shade a drawing in dark brown, it’s fabulous.

    1. Reply

      I’m glad you found the post helpful.

      Please note I’ve removed the link to Amazon from your comment. People interested in finding the brush pen on Amazon can search for it there easily enough. The price you mentioned didn’t mention the $10 shipping. And because of that I took it off. It’s available locally less for that total price.

      On my blog I try to support local independent art supply companies whenever possible, hence the unpaid for and unsolicited comments in my post about availability of this pen at Wet Paint. I don’t get any compensation or materials from them in return for such comments.

      Readers of the blog also know that I buy things from Jetpens (again with no financial kickbacks) because sometimes they have things WP doesn’t have and can’t get.

      Some readers don’t live in a large city and have to resort to mail order. Wet Paint does mail order. And of course there is Jet Pens.

      Blick and Amazon have brought about the demise of many of the independents and if we don’t really do some soul searching about where our money is going then we run the risk of not having great independent stores like Wet Paint in our community—where we can simply show up and without that $10 postage get a pen for less than what you listed when the postage is added (I don’t recall what the pens cost, but I think it’s less that $16; even if it’s over to me that slight overage difference in buying locally means I’m helping a business that provides many benefits to the community including great service and knowledge, but additionally special events, special speakers and demonstrations, and classes. All things that I feel happy seeing my money go towards.

      I hope you can find a company like that in your area.

        • Maven
        • September 28, 2020

        Hi Roz, thanks for explaining – you’re right, we should support local businesses. I’m not in the US, so no access to JetPens et al; if any of my local art stores carried the sepia brush, I would definitely get it from them (I did check, maybe I will drop them an email for next time.)
        Sorry for inadvertent spam, I’ll know better next time, and thanks again for the info about these brush pens – they are so satisfying to handle and your detailed explanation kept me from buying the wrong one without waterproof ink.

        1. Reply

          I don’t think of your comment as spam. Thanks for understanding my reason for deleting the link. I’m glad you did find the sepia brush and were able to try it. And I’m really glad that you were helped by the article to buy the one you wanted.

          I enjoy working with the dye-based sepia Colorbrush Pentel makes as well—it’s just that when I do I want its water-soluble nature.

          On the other hand the sepia and gray versions of the PPBP have been great fun, adding more options to my art toolbox and I like to encourage people looking for water-resistant ink to seek them out.

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