Review: Pentel Color Brush Pens

The Pentel Color Brush Pen is a large brush pen that uses water-based ink. These are about as big at the Holbein waterbrush. I saw these at the local art store and decided just to get the black, gray and sepia to try. There were many other colours.

It's much larger than the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen in terms the size of the bristles and ink cartridge.

That's the size of the ink cartridge, which is actually the whole body behind. Once the ink is used up, you can buy a refill to replace it. This will let you continue using the brush pen until the nylon brush tip wears out.

Oh, Pocket Brush Pen is waterproof. Color Brush Pen is not waterproof.

I believe you can refill the cartridge yourself. Just squeeze out the air to suck some ink back in, just like an eye dropper. Or try using a syringe to inject the ink into the body. I've a friend that does that. If you want to refill, I recommend you use dye-based fountain pen ink instead of pigmented ink. Pigmented ink are more prone to clogging.

At my local art store, I found that there are the Japanese label and English label. Both are the same. I'm not sure why the art store sells both. The one with the English label has the colour name and code number on the brush pen.

This are the type of strokes you can create. It's a versatile drawing tool capable of thin and thick lines, and you can get very expressive strokes. You can also use the side of the brush pen to colour big areas.

You can easily create a flat wash with the water-based ink. I used a gray and black for the sketch above. I find the gray quite dark. The second layer that I apply is just slightly darker.

It's quite fun and useful to use a waterbrush over to dilute the ink and create washes. It's an easy way to create gradated washes. You can do that only because the ink is not waterproof. It's easier to wash out darker colours than the lighter ones.

I know there are artists who like to use brush pens for calligraphy work. The Pentel Color Brush is good for calligraphy because it comes with up to 18 colours. So you can actually blend colours together to create colourful calligraphy art.

I like this brush pen. I find it very convenient especially when I want to colour my sketches on the train. I can pull out the colour I want and start shading. Because the brush tip is big, I can cover large areas quickly, and the sharp tip is good for tight areas. The downside is the ink takes time to dry — it's water-based after all.

Overall, it's a good brush pen. It's a bit pricey and the refill is also pricey. So refilling it yourself might be a good idea.


Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials (US) | Jackson's Art (UK)

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I am surprised you say this pen isn't waterproof and that you can make washes with it. I bought it for that reason but mine is definetely waterproof and impossible to make any washes with! Mine dries instantly (on smooth 160 gsm copy paper) and there is no way to even make a smudge. Weird.

In reply to by Lina (not verified)

Hi Lina,
I found the same with my Pentel Color brush in the Grey colour...I went over it straight after with water and the colour did not budge. It definitely appears to be waterproof to me also. Strange...

In reply to by Lina (not verified)

[I know it's necroposting but still...]

There are "Colour Brush" items which are water soluble and squeezable (like aqua brushes), and there are _pigment_ (waterproof) brush pens which may be black and diluted black AFAIK. They have much in common, but they are different.

I recently bought some Pentel color brushes to add to my sketching set. I planned to use them on location, but upon testing them... it's not going to be possible.

I tested 5 colours (yellow, pink, red, sky blue and olive green).

Four of them were still damp 30 min. after painting on a 300gsm Canson paper.

The fifth one -olive green- was still damp 5 hours later.

No way I can use these on my sketchbook and risk smudging my drawings.

I've contacted Pentel to complain and suggest they amend their marketing or redesign their ink, as the drying time is far too long.

It's a shame because, otherwise, the design of the brushes is fantastic... only the drying time lets them down.

Well, it seems that Pentel is using the pigment ink (gray barrel) in black/gray/sepia for the watercolor brush. But the ink is slow drying, so you can wash, when dry it is definitely waterproof...

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