I Test the Ultra-fine Tipped Pentel Artists Brush Sign Pen

January 1, 2020
This was my first sketch—I used the orange brush. I fell in love with the ultra-fine tip. Look at the crisp edges on the stipple I did for the stubble! (Blue ink seeping through from another page spread.)


This ultra-fine brush tipped pen from Pentel—I don’t know what it’s called…The barrel reads: “Brush Sign Pen Artist.”

It’s one of their Sign Pens in that it has dye-based, fugitive, water-soluble ink, but unlike their other “sign pen” it doesn’t have a solid fiber tip—it has an ultra thin, ultra fine, brush with individual synthetic hairs!

And it’s great fun to sketch with.

The other day I sat down with orange, yellow ochre, blue, and gray and made five quick portraits in a Hahnemühle watercolor sketchbook. (I had only a few pages left of this “purse” journal and wanted to fill it up before the end of the year so I could count the pages in this year’s total. [Read how I index my journals to see why this is even a thing for me.])

I taped my sketching of the five sketches to share as a bonus video with my Tier 3 subscribers on Patreon/RozInterim. If you would like to see me use the pen please use that link to subscribe to my Patreon blog at the Tier 3 level. (The video is about 75 minutes long.)

Here’s what I can tell you: 

I love the really thin lines you can get—like the thin lines on the lips here.

I love this brush pen. The tip is responsive and allows really fine hairlines.

There is no chemical odor to the ink.

The ink flows really smoothly, allowing juicy brush strokes.

It contains dye-based, fugitive inks, that will always remain water-soluble so I recommend you scan your sketches and treat the digital scan as the original. Then just continue having fun sketching with them. Also, just them in situations where you don’t need the ink to be waterproof.

Here’s a portrait using the blue pen. You can increase the value by overlapping laters and it’s noticeable in the blue.

Of course you could mix and blend these together like you might with Tombow dual brush pens. I didn’t try any of that. I just wanted to see what that brush tip would do with straightforward sketching.

I’d recommend using it on a hot press paper, or a cold press paper which doesn’t have a lot of texture (some cold press papers are pretty smooth after all). 

I’m still testing the different types of paper I’ll use this pen on.  



This was the fourth sketch and I used gray ink. I turned the book so that the gutter runs horizontally.

Jet Pens calls this brush pen the “Pentel Artist Brush Sign Pen.”

I got mine at Wet Paint, and I don’t know what they call it there. I just know I went in and told Liz Carlson who was working that day, that I’d seen this really thin brush pen in a video…and we ran over to the pens together. 

UPDATE 01.03.20: My friend Dana Burrell just wrote to me that she found these pens at Michaels. “They carry the black individually and have two different 6 pen sets… the Primary Set (black, red, blue, green, brown, yellow) and the Fashion Set (orange, grey, pink, cyan, purple, gold). The packaging calls it the Micro Brush Sign Pen.” Note that it may be difficult for you to find these pens outside of Japan as different importers and vendors will use different packaging and naming. That’s why I’ve given you all the wording from the barrel.

When I finished the fourth sketch I started making marks on the recycled watercolor paper beneath the journal, and then essentially doodled another version of the same person, though this time I wet the lines and pulled out shading. 

And in the final image of this post you can see the pen in relation to other members of the Pentel Brush Pen Family.

The doodle I started on, blending my previous marks from the other pens in the right side of the hair here. I added watercolor and gouache to the background since it was out, and fun.


If you’re looking for a fun sketching tool and don’t need waterproof ink, think about checking out these fun pens. (And I’m not connected to Pentel, Wet Paint, or Jet Pens, except as a customer.)






Here’s a detail of the lines and the “wash” that I pulled from the ink lines.

(I’ll have more images sketched with this pen as I go forward. I’ll find out how long the ink lasts and how long it takes me to wear out the tip. I’ll report back. I just had so much fun with the pen I couldn’t wait to tell you about it.)

Click on any of the images and you can rotate through blow-up versions where you can see the lines clearly.

D is the pen I’m reviewing today. It’s the orange pen. You can tell from the tip. And you can see it, in relation to other Pentel Brush Pens: A: Color Brush, B: Fine point Dye-based Black ink brush pen, C: the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

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