Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brush Pen Evaluation

Forgive me for not including handwriting photos at the moment. I’ve used two separate digital cameras and I’m still unable to capture decent handwriting samples. Regardless, I’m going ahead with this review and hopefully by next weekend I’ll have pictures included for each pen mentioned. Also, the photos of the pens themselves I rather blatantly lifted from Jetpens’ own website. If this is not allowed, please email me and let me know and I’ll take them down immediately. Now, on to the reviews.

First of all, let me make clear that I’m not using these pens for their intended purposes. I’m no artist and I am as Caucasian as they come, and these pens are really meant for Asian fonts, calligraphy and artwork. They’re great pens and I’ll continue using them as long as I have a reliable source for them, but I just don’t feel my giant, loopy Anglo handwriting is doing them much justice, especially in the aesthetics department. I really wish I knew enough Kanji to take full advantage of these, but until then making my journals and writing notebooks legible is going to be their main purpose.

Zebra Disposable Brush Sign Pen, Fine Nib. This is my standard journaling pen, the one I’ve been using for the last couple of years. Before that I had some fountain pens, which I still occasionally use, but the dark, thick lines of this pen just couldn’t be beat.

Zebra Disposable Brush Sign Pen. Super Fine Nib. Companion pen to my original Zebra, this one has a much finer line and a stiffer feeling nib. Not my cup of tea, really. My handwriting looks a bit childish and hesitant with this pen, as if I’m unsure of what I’m writing. It looks rushed and awkward in my journal, and I’ve resigned it for use at work when I need to jot down notes and I’m hiding my better pens from my coworkers. As an artists’ pen, though, this would make a great tool.

Pentel GFKP. This is an artists’ brush and I have no business owning something like this. I found this on eBay a few months ago and, knowing Shinkawa Yoji uses this same pen for his Metal Gear Solid artwork, I bought it simply so I could brag to Eric that I have one. He was thoroughly unimpressed. Rather than having a stiff, felt-tipped style nib, non-disposable brush pens use synthetic bristles to mimic traditional brush instruments. I’m still having a hard time controlling my handwriting with this, as it’s more difficult to master than a disposable. I have a Sailor Profit that is very similar in style to this and, despite not having used it in a while, I remember encountering the same difficulties with that pen as well.

Kuretake Fudegokochi Brush Pen, Super Fine Nib. Both samples Jetpens sent me to try are thinner than what I am used to using. They’re similar in thickness to the Zebra Super Fine, but neither leave me with the feeling that my handwriting looks bad using them. This one leaves my handwriting looking very thin and loopy, though still legible. The nib stays firm a very long time, regardless of how much writing is done with it. This is probably why my handwriting looks so decent with it despite the overall thinness. I like this pen quite a bit.

Kuretake Disposable Pocket Brush Sign Pen, Extra Fine Nib. Now this is a nice pen. Of the two given to me, I’d have to say I like this one slightly better. The pen itself is very classy, with a matching dark teal barrel and cap, complete with sparkly little “stars” embedded in the plastic. The gold embossing is a nice touch, as well. The nib itself is almost perfect, though still thinner than what I’m used to. The lines are just slightly thicker than the Fudegokochi and darker as well. It’s the perfect journaling pen and I’d imagine as an artists’ pen it also works very well. After using this I’m starting to think that perhaps my trusty Zebra makes my handwriting a bit too thick. I may need to make the switch to these pretty little blue pens sometime soon.

Much thanks to Jetpens for giving me this opportunity. I really like this company, not only for giving me the chance to review their pens but also for stocking the things I’ve needed for the last year or two. Their site is great, their prices reasonable and their shipping really quick. I’ll be a customer for a long time.

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