The Fun of a Bold Brush Line

July 6, 2022

A new pigment brush pen and a fresh page in a smooth-surfaced lined paper journal: what could be better than that?

This is one of my sketches of actor Alun Armstrong. I did a project where I drew him (multiple times) every day in March last year. (#MarchIsSketchAlunArmstrongMonth; look it up, a couple other people joined in and we had fun!)

What I love about the brush pen is its ability to have such variety of line. I say in the title of this post, “the fun of a bold brush line,” but bold isn’t just a heavy line, bold, when you have the right brush pen and a paper you love, is every line you make. Bold is in the fine lines in the way the crisp edges stand out on the page to meet your eye. Precise, clear, and in that clarity, bold.

I love the springy synthetic brush tip of the Pigmented Ink Pentel brush pen with the gray squeezy body. Fat lines, thin lines, little dots, it’s all possible with just a little bit of change in pressure.

If you happen to have a piece of plate Bristol, or some other smooth textured paper, then the brush tip will just glide along on the surface.

I know it’s not that simple. I know that ink engineers or scientists, or whatever they call themselves have worked hard to get the ink to flow just right down the hairs of the brush tip to the paper so that you can write or sketch without clumps of ink, but also with all the variability of line you want because of the pressure you use. 

Kudos! That’s amazing. They all hold a special place in my heart. They created something that made communication easier for the masses, but also still allows great individual nuance. They created something that makes your heart sing as you use it. And that puts more happiness in the air, and the world can always use more of that.

If you haven’t picked up a brush pen today I think it’s about time that you did. If you aren’t having as much fun with your brush pen as I’m having with mine, I’d suggest you try the Pentel…squeezy gray body as I mentioned. They got it right. And the ink doesn’t have an odor! And the ink dries right away and you can brush over it with watercolor washes and it doesn’t bleed.

Also, if you don’t find your first sketches with the brush pen what you expected or hoped for—don’t worry. Don’t stop. Keep going. Your eye, hand, and mind will get used to it and you’ll find, as you practice, that there are new ways to draw, different from how you’ve been going on; and it’s always good to discover new ways to draw.

And no, I’m not connected to Pentel in any way, except that a good part of my art budget goes to them. (And I’m not connected to JetPens either, it was just the easiest link I could find.)

OK, go pick up that brush pen now and start sketching: a bowl of fruit, your partner, your pet, a turkey you meet on the walk to work (it happens in Minnesota!); people on your bus, the skyline, etc. Get sketching.

    • Mili Jalan
    • July 26, 2022


    1. Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed this.

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