Kuretake really needs a better way of naming its pens.
I’ve been slowly making my way through the numbers, though it’s not been in any particularly order. And that’s apparently just as well because Kuretake doesn’t even name them in any kind of order that makes sense. And so, the Kuretake #8 is a refillable synthetic hair brush pen, in the same vein as the Kuretake #13.
The Kuretake #8 is longer than the #13, so it’s closer in length and weight to a traditional Chinese or Japanese calligraphy brush. I used the Kuretake #40 (which is sable hair, not synthetic hair) in the photo below because I had it handy, but it’s the same size as the #13.
Pen length is really only important for traditional calligraphy because of the way you’re supposed to hold the pen — where you hold the pen greatly affects the quality and style of brush strokes, so a longer pen allows for more options than a shorter one.
For drawing and regular writing though, you’re almost always gripping the pen at its base, and the length only matters for balance. The Kuretake #8’s body is light plastic, so the extra length is extremely negligible weight-wise.
So for drawing purposes… the #8 is basically the same as the #13?
The brush is very responsive, and line variation is superb. Thin lines are possible if you have good control. Feathering and bold strokes both look great. The #8 takes standard Kuretake ink refills, which are alcohol-proof, but not waterproof, when dry, but it’s also compatible with converters, so you can use those, or just syringe-fill an empty cartridge with the ink of your choice.
Ignoring the fact that the tip of my #13 has been ruined from overuse, the tips for the #8 and the #13 are basically identical in shape and length. Hell, even their barrels are nearly identical! They’re the same tip! They use the same refills! The only difference between these two pens is the body material (the #13 is metal; the #8 is plastic) and length.
But the Kuretake #8 is between $8 and $12, depending on where you get it, and the #13 is about twice that. (And that’s after the recent price drop for the #13, too — it used to be closer to thirty bucks!) So it looks like the only reason for the price difference is the body material, which makes sense, even if it seems kind of silly to me.
For whatever reason, the Kuretake #13 is way more prominent than the #8. I’ve seen it around a lot more, and I’ve heard more about it. Sure, it’s a nicer looking pen, but the #8 is so much cheaper and performs just as well — hell, the #8 is actually more versatile than the #13 because it’s longer!
I wish I’d known about the #8 earlier, but I’m glad to have it in my arsenal now, especially since the tip’s ruined on my #13. When I inevitably burn out the tip of the #8, it’ll be much cheaper to replace. Then again, as far as synthetic hair brush pens go, the Pentel pocket brush is probably still my favourite…