This spring a friend told me about a new sort of dip pen: The Kakimori Brass Pen Nib.
It’s shaped like a bullet. Channels all around the nib feed the ink to the point. (See the product photo at the left.)
I thought it might be interesting to try it out because you can get thick or thin lines with it by changing the angle you present to the paper.
It’s pricey, just under $50 or so. (I bought mine from the St. Louis Art Supply online. It was the only place it was available at the time. Since then Wet Paint in St. Paul, MN has started carrying them and the steel version as well.)
One great thing about the nib is that it fits in the Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib holder, of which I have a bunch! It will also fit on some other nib holders that can receive the round-based nibs.
I wanted to see how long the one dip of ink would last and on the first page spread here you can see that I got all the strokes in the top left rectangle on the page before needing to redip. Some of those are really bold lines using lots of ink. Since I use a dip pen a lot, redipping isn’t an issue for me, it’s just part of the seamless process. But it’s nice to note how long you can work with a variety of lines on one dip of ink.
(I was testing with the Platinum Carbon black ink, as it was the only thing not packed away for storage in May. I was sketching from a bunch of muse photos from the Museum App by Sktchy because I don’t see many people right now/then.)
Also on that page spread you can see my line is a lot stiffer using this pen. More hard turns. Part of this is the newness of the nib to me, but part of it is also the cold press texture of this paper. I found the stiffness of the nib worked against me getting a smooth line on the page. Part of this is of course a pressure issue and practice with the tool will eliminate some of that.
In my second sketch with it I worked on a piece of vellum Bristol.
I really didn’t enjoy how slowly I was drawing. I know as soon as I work with the pen long enough things will become more fluid, but the pen still wasn’t transitioning seamlessly from thick to thin lines for me. (Flexible nibs really give you a lot of play and I was missing that springy nature of typical dip pen nibs.)
For my final test of the brass nib I did another sketch on Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper. Again I found myself a bit frustrated. I love a lot of the lines I got with this pen but I’m used the the flexible dip pen nibs I normally use and I missed being able to do some of the “lines” and marks I make especially in the eyes when the eye color is dark.
For me the nib didn’t seem that useful or fun. But I’d spent so much on it, and at the same time sent one to a friend for a birthday present, that I didn’t want it to just languish in a drawer. I sent my round brass nib to an artist friend who is a landscape artist. (She also has bigger hands and I thought the weight of it wouldn’t bother her as much.) I felt very rewarded after doing that because she went right out and made a bunch of sketches with it and was having great fun with the ability to make thick strokes when sketching landscapes.
If you’re a landscape artist I think you probably need to rush right out and get one.
If you normally work with more flexible pens you might want to wait and see if you can try one in a store, or buy one to “time-share” with a friend.
If you don’t care about flexibility in nibs but instead are intrigued by the lovely thick lines this nib makes you’re probably going to enjoy it.
If you are used to working with bamboo pens but frustrated that they don’t hold a lot of ink but make great lines, I think you might enjoy the thick line capability of this pen!
The pen is easy to clean. If you take just a simple amount of care with this nib, and don’t drop it on its tip, you’re going to have a lifetime tool.
It comes is a lovely box, that of course I didn’t save because I’m downsizing! But it’s one of those product presentation wrappings that make you feel good about spending $50 on a nib.
The Cautionary Tale Part of Today’s Post
Sigh, regular readers will know what happened next. When it comes to dip pens, which are my first love from childhood, I am weak. I ordered one of the Steel Round nibs because the ad copy said it created finer lines. I thought if it did make finer lines I might not be as put off by the stiffness of the nib because I would be able to make some of my fine detail lines more easily.
I still don’t know what came over me. All I can say is that since the cataract surgeries I have not been buying many art supplies. I’ve been using things up or putting things in storage for the downsizing (to reemerge when I’m settled). I didn’t really need to buy that steel nib. But I did. I thought it would be lighter and easier for me to manipulate. (I hoped for a higher fun factor.)
I can only tell you that the steel nib is indeed lighter, so on that score I was happy. But that was just a hold it in your hand test. I never got the steel nib on a nib holder for testing. It inadvertently went into an art supply storage box without being listed on any inventory (!!) and who knows where it is now. I suspect it will emerge sometime in 2023; which is when I hope to be unpacked.
In the meantime I continue to enjoy my “regular” dip pen nibs which are flexible and have, for me, a high-fun factor.
Not at all tempted by the nib, open ink bottles and me are a recipe for disaster but I really love how you did the hair on the last sketch. I am going to print it out to use as a reminder on ways that I can handle Jeff’s hair
Tyanne I understand about the open bottle situation that’s one of the (many) reasons I decant a bit of ink into those small, thimble size cups that I have stuck on a large square of bookboard so they can’t tip over. I’m a menace with open ink bottles. But I love the dip pen so I keep using them. I’m glad the last sketch was helpful with hair ideas! I look forward to seeing a lot of iterations of Jeff’s hair!
Thanks for the review, Roz. I’m sure I’m not alone, but I spend way too much time shopping for art supplies. I want something that makes marks like a bamboo pen but doesn’t run out of ink so quickly or make blobs.
If at first you don’t succeed try try again. Thanks for the review Roz. I spend entirely too much time (and money) shopping for art supplies (like others I’m sure). I want something that makes marks like a bamboo pen but doesn’t run out of ink so quickly or make blobs. This may not be it.
Roger, depending on what type of lines you get out of your bamboo pen I actually think this might be just the pen for you. If you like thick line with the ability to make some thin ones, yep this nib can do it. And you can make a lot of lines with it before the nib runs out of ink. I am sorry that wasn’t clear in my review. Also no blobs!!!
Roz, thank you for your review. I purchased the brass nib a week ago. But have not had the time to play around with it as we have visitors at the moment. I am somewhat worried it could rust…I am in Queensland, Australia. I have been kicking myself for not getting the steel nib. I have a number of colored inks that are not been used so I thought the nib would be the ideal solution for me to play around with the inks.
My engineering husband said, when I asked him if the brass would rust, “Rust is an iron thing, Brass corrodes, but it’s very resistant and one of the reasons it was used as fittings on ocean boats for centuries, it held up.” Then he walked off. (He’s kind of like Yoda that way.)
So based on that you don’t have to think about that particular issue. Frankly, as with any nib, if you simply clean it as soon as you finish with it and dry it off so it isn’t wet, you should be right. This nib will be a fun way for you to play with your color inks! Let me know how it goes when your visitors depart and you can dive in.
Thank you Roz for the review, all great information to have. I’ve considered purchasing either, or both, of the nibs but find I enjoy using the Sailor Fude nib fountain pen so much that I haven’t. Weight is a consideration, so if I do get one it will be the steel. The upside of packing the steel nib away is, hopefully, the fun you will have finding it again!
Kare, it is heavy (the brass one) so I think it’s good you delayed. I wish I could find the steel one and “weigh” in on exactly how much lighter it is. As you say, the hope is that when I get to unpack that nib will surface. Fingers crossed. I’ve also lost at least 13 journals from the last 3 years and that’s a very grave concern. It’s odd which ones are missing so Dick and others keep trying to reassure me, but all my thoughts etc.… well I try not to dwell on it. My friend Diane was over yesterday and I scanned a couple things I’m going to post, of her using this pen.
Which flexible nibs do you normally like to use? I’m new to dip pens. Pretty sure flexibility and fun is a must for me (more likely to draw). The only glass that I’m okay with is a glass nib… because I hate the idea of breaking an entire glass pen.
I have a post on some dip pen related stuff here https://rozwoundup.com/2015/06/dip-pen-nibs-and-holdersa-great-overview-from-jet-pens.html
(It should open and you’ll be able to follow up on the links to Jet Pens about all stuff dip-pen.)
And here’s an old post on Japanese nibs that I like to use. I don’t know if the links in that post will work as it is 13 years old but the brands are listed and you can do a google search for them. Chances are Jet Pens still carries them. It also discusses how I use ink (decanted) and which inks.
If you go to the link from Jet Pens about dip pen nibs and scroll down to their chart I’ve used pretty much all of those nibs at one time or the other.
A couple years ago I couldn’t stop using the E+M standard which I feel is really flexible. It allowed me to do fine work. And the Brause 66 Extra Fine Arrow Nib is AMAZING for fine work. If I feel I want to “destroy” a nib and make a mess the Speedball No. 101 is great.
With nibs you have to ask yourself what type of line do you want and how flexible a nib do you want, and then try a couple (as budget allows) and see which works best in your hand and with your approach.
I’d practice on plate Bristol or something smooth like Nostalgie when you’re first working with a nib. Textured papers can catch a nib and so it’s better to learn how to use the nib first before you run that gauntlet.
If you get the holder that I recommend in my linked post then you’ll be able to use nibs with the half or full circle base.
I don’t use glass nibs at all.