Pilot makes a hair-like, calligraphy brush pen that is as soft as anyone could ever want. Leigh sent one recently and my hand is grateful for the ease, but woo-wee is it a challenge to control. However, the reward for perseverance is a line variation that is hard to match even with a good brush.
The pen is called 新毛筆 中字 which translates as New Brush in Character. The pen model number is S-50FDF-B and the refill cartridges are S Shin-15FD-B. It comes in fine and medium widths. Given the flexibility, the fine is perfect for my needs.
Writing with it might take practice, though after a few pages of trial and error, I liked the results. It does have other applications that make it work well in a doodle journal. Try the New Brush over a fully dried watercolor painting to add black lines, dots and dashes. Move the tip slowly over rough paper to achieve a consistent mark or move rapidly to achieve a dry brush or broken-line effect. The soft bristles add character and drama to line work, something less likely to happen with a fiber tipped brush pen.
The only disappointment is that the ink is water soluble to an unfortunate degree. Forget using it with watercolor unless you want a lot of purple mixed with your colors. With a bit of practice, that could be used to advantage if you are in the mood for purple.
I’m not put off by the lack of permanence because the tip is so good. It’s perfect on Stillman & Birn Epsilon paper. No bleed-through and almost no show-through on Hammermill Inkjet 24#. It even performed well in my Apica 6A10 journal. No feathering anywhere. It is a waterbrush style plastic pen, so a gentle squeeze will increase the flow of ink. All of that makes it quite versatile as long as it doesn’t meet water.
With all of the positives to the Pilot New Brush pen, there is one problem. At least in the U.S, it can be very hard to find though I am hopeful a retailer will decide to stock it. At $10 or less, it is a pen worth owning even if it does take time to master.
Note: The adorable cloth is a “tenugui”, a versatile oblong cloth used in Japan for various purposes. This one was a gift from Leigh and was made by Hamamonyo. Beer or latte it’s super cute.