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Fountain Brushpens - Info And Sharing


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**Moderators - feel free to move this thread to a more suitable place in the forums if needed!**


This is actually my first ever post on FPN but I've been lurking a long time in the forums largely because I have always felt that I had more to learn than contribute regarding my knowledge of fountain pens.


But anyways, this thread is intended to share my journey of exploring the world of painting with fountain brushpens and fountain pen inks. While I am definitely not an expert on them, I believe I may have some nuggets of info worth sharing especially since I have come across questions and enquiries on brushpens on FPN.



Brushpens are great for painting and line variation. While a fountain pen with a flex nib is still unbeatable for characteristic writing in journals, notetaking etc., brushpens - due to their extreme line variability (which results in greater lack of control) - are great for paintings/drawings. Wet brushpens with good flow can in fact really emulate the look of an actual brush and ink.



The main brands for brushpens are Pentel, Akashiya, Kuretake and Platinum. I have tried many models across these 4 brands, and after figuring out which ones are more suitable to my personal needs, I am currently using the following two brushpen types:


Platinum Brushpen: You can find these on Goulet Pens. They come in two types: natural hair brush, and synthetic fibre brush. The former is softer, more difficult to control, but gives finer lines and greater variation. The latter is the opposite.


Pentel Aquash Brushpen: Uses synthetic fibre for its brush. Dirt cheap and commonly available, it takes non-fountain pen ink too. Given its price it really has formidable value. My only gripe with it and the reason why it has not completely replaced my Platinum brushpens is that ink flow can sometimes go berserk on these pens (quality control might be an issue) and lay down enormous amounts of ink. And oh yes, they are cheap looking and not as pretty looking as the Platinum ones, but that is probably not a huge issue.



Brushpens are thirstier than nibbed pens and even the more viscous inks should flow nicely. As such, the flow of inks that we are so preoccupied with for nibbed pen usage is thus less of a concern here.


Additionally, due to the style of my paintings (more on that below) I prefer to use primarily black, grey and red inks. My current inks of choice for these 3 colors are Noodler's Black, Pliot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same (sometimes DIamine Silver-Fox) and Diamine Poppy Red respectively.



I am very into oriental ink paintings. By that I mean paintings in the style of Chinese "水墨" or Japanese Sumi-e paintings, especially the landscape ones. However, I like to "spice up" these paintings with modern-day pop culture references, for instance, the inclusion of Totoro, Pokemon etc. in these paintings.


Due to size constraints I have just attached one of my paintings to this post. It features a lightsaber-brandishing Yoda on a boat set in a Chinese landscape. It was done using Platinum and Pentel brush pens with the following 6 inks: Platinum Black, J.Herbin Vert Empire, Noodler's Lexington Grey, Noodler's Golden Brown, Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-Same and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki.


If interested, you can view more of my paintings here in a recent article on BoredPanda: http://www.boredpanda.com/childhood-companions-in-chinese-ink-paintings/, or even follow me on Instagram at: https://instagram.com/samuelpecksw


Meanwhile, feel free to share your experiences, drawings/paintings and questions on fountain brush pens here! :)


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  • requiescat


  • andymcc


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I like your painting!

Personally I prefer Fude nibs for better control. I do use the pentel brush pens in combination with ink cake & water color.

After having mine for awhile it needs quite a bit of pressure to squeeze water out (so far I`ve only filled it with water, so it cannot be clogged), which is a pain!

I find it a bit difficult to use brush pens filled with ink (only tried out one of these "throw away" Pentel brush pens).

Do you use Fude nib pens at all?

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I've only experimented a little with a Platinum brush pen, years ago, but your example is lovely. I find a fude nib easier to control but maybe I should return to experimenting sometime since I have the pen anyway.

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I have one of the Kuretake brushpens with a sable brush: it's incredibly sensitive. It needs a larger scale of paper than I usually carry around with me but it's a beautiful thing to use.


More useful is a water brush pen: I fill it with diluted Higgins Fount India and use it for laying in drawings and large areas of tone.

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Polanocva & requiescat, I have tried experimenting with Fude Nb pens but brush pens have a "feature" I like to exploit: if you see my pictures, especially the areas that are supposed to be the sky, I tend to paint using the side of the brush and not the tip.


This gives a patchy/grainy, less saturated look. This works especially for grey ink as it gives the impression of a "watered-down" area that is commonly seen in paintings that use real ink and brush. This can't be accomplished with a Fude Nib pen. Of course, I can always use non-waterproof ink and a waterbrush but I'm just lazy :)

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I really like your paintings, I'm interested in Sumi-e too, could I ask where you learnt it or are there any books you could recommend please? :)

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Thank you andymcc. For the general history and technique introduction of oriental ink brush painting you can check this book out: http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-Brush-Painting-Techniques/dp/0804831947


Additionally, the best way to learn stuff nowadays is on Youtube. There are a couple of videos that do a pretty decent job. I like this particular one channel though, even though it's in Chinese one can learn a lot just by watching the videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKi_ngI0Ld3jgHcDGnrQDeQ

Edited by samuelpecksw
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Thank you andymcc. For the general history and technique introduction of oriental ink brush painting you can check this book out: http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-Brush-Painting-Techniques/dp/0804831947


Additionally, the best way to learn stuff nowadays is on Youtube. There are a couple of videos that do a pretty decent job. I like this particular one channel though, even though it's in Chinese one can learn a lot just by watching the videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKi_ngI0Ld3jgHcDGnrQDeQ

Thank you :thumbup:

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I've only tried the Pentel Colour brushes, it's really nice (especially with a fresh refill) but it's got a tendency to gunk together completely making nigh on impossible to get the old refill off, last time I nearly ripped the "section" a part before it got loose enough to unscrew. I guess I'll have to try filling it with some FP ink the next time, it'd probably be cheaper in the long run.


Here's a two of mine done in brush, fountain pen and watercolour.




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It's great to see this topic come up! I got a Platinum Natural Hair Brushpen (CF-5000) a couple months ago, but I never got around to doing much with it, being so busy with school. Seeing this thread inspired me to take it out today and draw (paint?) the following:



I don't have any experience with other brush pens to compare this to, but I love the look and feel of the CF-5000. I got it from Goulet along with a refill converter. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with some fountain pen inks once I use up the included cartridge.

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Nice paintings Oaklington! I have also dabbled in combining fountain pen inks and watercolor (or watercolor pencils if there is a need to be mobile. I like Derwent Inktense pencils.) - the former give sharper colors that contrast with the dreamier, pastel ones of watercolors.


public alias: Thats exactly the one I'm using, I have both the black marble and red marble version. I also have the synthetic one with the faux maki-e crane design. The former gives much better line variation than the latter.


Meanwhile, allow me to share my latest doodle, featuring the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro. This was done with Noodler's Black and Diamine Silver-Fox. I find the Diamine Silver-Fox being quite similar,but cheaper, compared to Pilot's Iroshizuku Kiri-Same.


Edited by samuelpecksw
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Nice brush drawings guys! And I chuckled at the Pikachu one as well :D

I got a couple of disposable felt tipped brush pens and the Pentel standard in extra fine (black dye ink, light blue cap one) and the Kuretake No. 8 which is the long body synthetic brush variant. It is said to be thinner than the hair brush (and possibly the snazzier body synthetic).

The Kuretake gets really saturated once it is broken in (while the Pentel is squeezed like waterbrushes) so it is not always so apparent, like in the picture (the thin lines above the Kuretake doodles were made with a pen), but I'd say the bristles are capable of even finer or atleast more controlled detail than the Pentel by default, and it has a more natural brush feel. It is more rounded and softer both in feel and the mark it makes, the Pentel has a really nice jagged character to it but if you are looking for something that looks more, I guess, traditional the Kuretake offers that. I can recommend it!

Of the disposables a green bodied Kuretake felt tip that replicates a bristle brush and has a quite dry delivery of ink would be one of my favorites. I dont know what the default model is because it is not carried anymore by Jetpens, they were scented. Like bergamot and musk. I have a couple stashed somewhere. It was nothing like the broader felts pictured, much softer and capable of very fine hair lines.

The fine tipped Mitsubishi Uni-balls are also a lot of fun, and are surprisingly flexible, and smooth in addition to use. No drag, but a rubbery feel. Can heartily recommend the dual tipped Uni-Ball for the fine side alone. I think the Zebras, Tombows are quite flexible like this as well. It is what I am looking to dwelve into more soon, as well as trying the Pentel pigment ink variant.

It is quite handy to be able to regulate the flow by squeezing, it allows for more control when dry brushing and painting rather than putting down line.

Oh and there is the grey sumi-e ink one as well (bottom left corner). The ink changes tone quite a bit as it dries. It made me order some Noodler's lexington grey to experiment with. But I think diluted Noodler's black or HoD would have sufficed. It can give some really nice results on watercolor paper.


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I've owned quite a few brush pens, and would like to just warn people to not buy the long Kaimei brush pen. The tip dries out incredibly quickly because the cap does not fit properly and it destroys the sable hair tip. They make a higher end pen that is shorter and I don't know if the cap issue is resolved in that model, but as the "cheap" one is already nearly $30, I am not really inclined to try it out.

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