I was at the local art store Straits Commercial recently and saw several bamboo pens selling at affordable prices. I can't remember the exact price, but perhaps it's SGD $2? There was another bamboo pen that was made in Japan and that was selling at $12. I could not tell the difference so I bought the cheaper one.
It looks quite nice. The cut and finishing is nice enough. Not sure how it would compare with the Japanese one though. I may need to buy the Japanese one to compare.
That's the tip. I'm sure you can sharpen it on your own when it becomes blunt. But I haven't figure out what I can use to sharpen this yet.
That's the back. The pen has a nice weight to it. Since it's bamboo, it feels hollow.
These are the strokes I was able to create with the bamboo pen. The strokes look very textural.
When ink is almost used up, you can get a very rough stroke. The broad side of the tip can be used to create broad strokes but you can only draw a short distance before the ink runs out. The bamboo pen does not hold a lot of ink so you have to constantly reload it.
There's actually a slit cut to make it function like a nib. There's a smaller breather hole as well. But I don't think they help much in holding ink.
These are some dots and splatter markers I tried to create.
Using a pen like this certainly makes me want to draw a bit looser.
Because the tip is rather large, the pen is best used on larger pieces of paper. If you're going to draw on an A5 sketchbook, you're going to fill the pages very quickly. And the broad lines mean your drawings are going to be a bit cartoon-like, like drawing with thick markers.
Overall, it's a pretty fun pen to draw with. I'm glad it's not very expensive so it's certainly worth experimenting with.
If you want to get yourself one to play with, there are a few selling on Amazon.