Review: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen

By | August 26, 2017

I always wanted to try a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Why? Aside from adding to my ever-growing pen collection, I like the look brush pens offer when it comes to inking. Note: this post first appeared on my other website,

pentel pocket brush pen tip

Abe loves a good brush tip.

Strokes from brush pens are the weird uncles¹ at the pen family reunion: average one moment, wobbly the next, and always random.

Pentel Pocket Brush Out of the Box

The Pocket Brush requires manually loading an ink cartridge. Fun! This step took a couple of tries, as I didn’t load the cartridge in all the way the first time (awkward). Then, I had to wait for the ink to seep into the brush trip before drawing. The tip is actually clear before the ink starts flowing.

pentel pocket brush ink cart

The Pocket Brush‘s ink cartridge, installed.

This is very different from my usual PITT Pens or Microns, and even the brush PITT or Micron, which are ready to go out of the packaging.

Pentel Pocket Brush: Strokes

Brush pens are their own different animal. Microns, and other technical pens, are like a rhino: solid and steady.

Brush pens, especially fancier models like the Pocket Brush, are more like a cheetah: fast, random, darting here and there, eating gazelle.

Maybe not that last one, but we’ll see what happens when my ink cartridge runs out.

brush pen strokes

Such great lines.

Still, brush pens are not nearly as forgiving as technical pens like Microns. The Pocket Brush is no exception either, as I soon found out I needed to move a little slower with my strokes, and watch how I angled the tip.

pocket brush pen strokes


See these strokes? These are why artists love brush pens. Technical pens are great and all, but sometimes you want a line with a bit more life.

pen strokes lettering

Top: lettering fast. Bottom: lettering slow.

Pocket Brush List O’ Fun

I’ve read how the Pentel Pocket Brush is a workhorse for some artists and after using mine for few weeks, I see why. Once I got used to the Pocket Brush’s quirks, I quickly fell in love and wanted to use it for everything.

Here’s a list of thoughts and observations!

  • The ink is water-resistant and not waterproof. There is a huge difference. I did a few tests and the dried ink can bleed/fade a bit with a lot of water and pressure. If you are careful, you can probably safely watercolor a drawing inked with a Pocket Brush.
pen water test

Water resistant is not water proof. This took a lot of water and effort, but still good to know.

  • The Pocket Brush is great for solid fills (eyes, shadows, etc).
  • I can’t recommend the Pocket Brush for drawing super tiny—unless you have a very steady hand (which I don’t).
  • I found the larger I draw, or write, the better my Pocket Brush performs.
  • I love the strokes/varying lines.
  • Strokes with the Pocket Brush are fast and smooth.
  • You can replace the ink cartridge, so you don’t have to toss a favorite pen (unless the brush tip gets destroyed).
  • There are ways to (cheaply) refill an ink cartridge too, if you want to cut down on waste. This process involves a similar method to manually refilling printer ink cartridges (with a fancy syringe and the right kind of ink).
  • You can find the Pentel Pocket Brush at most chain art supply stores (at least in my experience), which makes it easy to find. Most indie shops will probably have it too (or can order one).
  • Practice with this pen. Have fun too.

Pentel Pocket Brush Final Thoughts

If you want to jump into the world of fancy brush pens, the Pentel Pocket Brush is a great place to start. If you are new to brush pens, be ready to practice and go slow. Treat yourself to a new sketchbook and have fun.

I didn’t know what to expect with the Pocket Brush, and I felt in over my head at first. But, after using my Pocket Brush for a few weeks, I stopped worrying about perfect lines (which isn’t really my style anyway) and embraced the randomness.

cartoon sketches

Some sketches I made with the Pentel Pocket Brush. Just having fun!

I can honestly say, the Pentel Pocket Brush will be a regular in my cartooning arsenal going forward. Try one today!

¹ And speaking as a weird uncle myself.

Daniel J. Hogan is a geeky cartoonist and writer living in Lansing, Michigan. Daniel writes and draws the weekly fantasy comic Foxes & Boxes for Need a cartoon commission? Contact Daniel. This post contains affiliate links, unless it doesn't.

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