Note: this post first appeared on my other website, clattertron.com.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.