In November an email blast from Jet Pens mentioned Tombow Fudenosuke pens were available in COLORS!!!!
I ordered a set of 10 (which includes a black—you can see the list of colors on my test page at the right. Click on the image and you can cycle through enlargements.)
I’ve done several sketches with them and they are a lot of fun—especially if you’re already comfortable using the Tombow Fudenosuke HARD tip black pen that’s been available for ages.
I actually prefer the Tombow Fudenosuke SOFT tip in black so on my test page I reminded myself to check if they had the colors in soft tip. As far as I can tell from a quick Google search the colors are currently only available in the hard tip. (But they are available through a number of vendors).
What Do I Think About These Pens?
I think all the colors are really light, even a bit wimpy. I’d prefer a brown ink that is more sepia. I’d like a purple that is royally rich. I want a red that is saturated so intensely that you can put down a huge range of values.
I think that the grey, orange, and cyan are just right—if what you like to do is sketch in those colors and then build black lines on top (as many comics artists like to do), or simply leave them as is for studies.
I’ve also found that the black ink versions of these are very easy to out run—i.e., I sketch so quickly with them that the ink doesn’t feed the tip fast enough and I get lighter or spilt lines. I actually don’t mind this in this pen because the tips, either soft or hard, have a nice feel to them when I’m working, and I like “dried out” pens, so if these look a little dried out to start that’s fine by me.
For other folks this might be a problem?
When you’re working in color and the colors are light, it’s going to be a problem for everyone. Just be prepared. You’ll have to test them to see if they lay down the amount of ink you want; I also suspect they will dry out quickly like those with black ink.
What is great about these pens is their FINE line, that can still have some shape and variation to it depending on the pressure you apply. You can see this in the detail of my sketch.
Best of all for me, the color ink pens have no odor (neither do the black ink versions in this pen line).
Other great things about these pens: they are listed as pigmented, fade resistant, and water resistant.
I haven’t had time to do a lightfastness test on them and I don’t see that I would use them for final art so I won’t be doing that. You decide if testing matters to you.
But water resistance does matter to me and I tested that. Like the black ink pens in this family the color ink pens are also water resistant. Go ahead and lay on your washes.
I tested the pens on the smooth surface of the Canson 180 sketchbook as well as some watercolor papers. They are great on the hot press papers and break up a bit much on the cold press textured papers.
Color pencil and ball point pen artists who like to mix multiple colors through overlapping hatching might really enjoy these. And people who letter will enjoy them for smaller scale lettering.
For me they will remain simply a sketching/doodling tool unless I fall in love with them in that unexpected way that can happen to any of us at any time…
I’m not expecting it, but I’ll have fun using them up. At this point, when they are used up I don’t think I’ll rebuy them—unless I find I love them for lettering.