We artists seem to have a limited selection of brush pens available in the US. Aside from the reknown Faber-Castell "PITT" series, we also have Copics and Sakura pens to work with. Not much variety, really.
However, jump the ocean to Asia and you'll find a HUGE variety of brush pens - mostly crafted for calligraphy, but in various styles, ink-types, colors, and points. Most ink/sign pens come in either "dye" or "pigment" ink - just like printer cartridges here in the U.S. The "dye" types are often water-soluble, which can 1) smear with water and 2) possibly "deteriorate" over time. The ink also soaks into your paper. The "pigment" types are like permanent markers - they adhere to the paper surface and generally last longer, when exposed to the elements.
For my drawing purposes, I usually opt for the "pigment" type inks as they work well on both textured and smooth/glossy surfaces and are generally "water-proof" when dried. (However, I would not go as far as doing heavy watercolor or marker washes over these particular pens - if you do, I highly suggest doing a test run before committing to your final drawing, or you may find some smearing/mixing going on!)
This is a dual-point brush pen with both a fine and medium point. Typically, these are used for calligraphy on cards and documents, but I find that it's perfect for drawing as well - especially for brush beginners, like myself!
The points are synthetic brush points - meaning there are no bristles, only a single nib that is saturated with ink. When in use, the points have a somewhat stiff, "spongy" feel and bounce back to shape after each stroke. It's very easy to use and predictable - meaning line variation and quality is pretty consistent. The pens are disposable, not refillable, and the ink is waterproof once dried.
I recently started using this pen exclusively for my Pup Fiction sign pages - as the inside cover is slick and smooth. Most pens would either bead up and/or rub off or seep through the paper. However, this pen is perfect for quick smooth lines that are dark and permanent - without the leakage!
Here are some examples of pages done with the Kuretake Hikkei Disposable Brush Pen:
Second, the Kuretake Fudegokochi Brush Pen - Super Fine:
This is actually KS' current sign pen! Just like the Hikkei!, the Fudegokochi is a synthetic brush point, meaning there are no real bristles. The point is very stiff and has very little give - to help keep its super fine point. Likewise, this pen is also disposable and the ink is dark and thick. In fact, it seems to take a little longer for the ink to dry, so I advise folks to be patient and wait until the "wetness" of the ink disappears.
Like the name says, this is a super fine point - probably ranging from .3 to 1.5 mm depending on how heavy (or light) a hand you draw with. The lines are smooth and tapered, perfect for finer details that a larger brush would be overkill for. It's very easy to use, and almost feels like a regular multi-liner - highly recommended for its price and practicality~!
The interesting things about this particular pen are that it's disposable, double-tipped, and one of those points is actually a bristle-point brush.
True brush points are always tricky for beginners as it's all about the "feel" of the brush - how flexible and springy it may be and how much pressure is needed to get a nice, consistent line. Additionally, true brush points are often-times more expensive than their synthetic counterparts, but in turn, it gives a much more natural appearance to the calligraphy or drawing. (and the Japanese *love* those types of calculated imperfections in their traditional art!)
For drawing, I find this pen a little more difficult to control as the brush point is very flexible. The "hard" fine point is pretty standard, but I prefer the "springiness" of the Kuretake pens more. The ink is also comparably as dark as the Kuretake inks and water-proof when dry.
The Akashiya MoTec also has a synthetic brush point pen as well, with a broad and hard fine point.
Some sample scribbles:
Lastly, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for Calligraphy:
For a true pocket brush pen, seriously - this is a wonderful product. It not only comes with 2 cartridges (1 for use, 1 for refill), but the brush point is truly a brush point with synthetic bristles!
I would consider the point "fine", but depending on how heavy (or light) a hand you use when inking/drawing, the line quality varies a lot. The point stays sharp so all stroke starts are clean and pointed.
The ink is pigment-based and waterproof, but I find it a little lighter/thinner than the Kuretake Hikkei ink.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this particular pen to someone just getting started with inks and brushes with hopes of drawing. To get the type of line you'd like would probably take a some practice and patience. For Japanese/Chinese calligraphy, this would be an excellent pen for penmanship practice as the point has a nice flexibility and drag when practicing loose-handed strokes.
As for water-proofing, I find out of all the pens, this one holds up the best when dried and washed over with a wet brush. There is very little smearing, if any - and little deterioration of color.
Some sample drawings:
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At the moment, my favorite is currently the Kuretake Hikkei Sign Pen! (If you can't tell from all the doodles already~! XD) The dual points are very convenient to have on a single pen - reducing my load by a pen or two. So far, I haven't had any problems with the ink drying out and streaking yet - but this is something that might differ from pen to pen and type to type. The ink dries fast and dark, and the overall springy-sponginess of the points really make drawing with a brush pen much more enjoyable!
If you've tried out any of these pens, or maybe want to mention others that you absolutely love, let me know about it and comment below! I'm always keen on hearing different opinions and new suggestions!
Find these pens (and more!) at JetPens.com - my personal favorite online stationery shop! (Especially since we're severely lacking quality and decently-priced Asian stationary shops here in Hawaii. The free shipping for orders over $25 is a HUGE plus for me! XD)
Full disclosure: Clicking on any of the links to JetPens and purchasing stuff in turn helps nemu*nemu!