I finally got a new Pentel pocket brush a few months ago. My old Pentel’s brush tip stopped snapping back to a good point after about five years of usage, and it was so, so refreshing to experience and remember again how amazing the brush is with a fresh tip is.
Even after playing around with “nicer” synthetic hair brush pens like the Kuretake #13 and sable hair brush pens like the Kuretake #40, I think the Pentel pocket brush might still be my favourite non-felt tip brush pen.
When I compared the Pentel pocket brush and the Kuretake #13 previously, I concluded that the shorter brush tip of the #13 gave me slightly more control. This is still true, but after many more hours logged with both pens, I think the Pentel is the better drawing experience despite that. Ironically, the lighter, cheaper plastic body of the Pentel keeps my grip light, which also gives me more control, and ultimately any control gain I get from the shorter brush tip of the #13 is extremely negligible.
Since the #13’s recent price drop, the difference between the two pens is also negligible — about $13 for the Pentel VS about $16 for the Kuretake #13. But the waterproof and alcohol-proof ink of the Pentel refills tips the scale. Kuretake refills are only alcohol-proof, though they reportedly become waterproof if allowed to dry for several weeks. I could never wait that long though!
The Kuretake #13 also has another, less spoken of rival, the Kuretake #8, which is basically the exact same pen in a longer, cheaper body at a lower price point — just eight bucks. Honestly, the fight between the Pentel pocket brush and the #8 is a closer one, in my opinion. It’s the little things that allow for the Pentel’s victory again though: the refill is still a thing, and the longer body of the #8 makes it a teeny bit harder to carry around.
Even the sable hair Kuretake #40 doesn’t win over the Pentel for me. It’s lovely using a natural hair brush, but I’ve found that the Kuretake’s already very wet refills feel extra wet in the #40. And that’s probably because of the sable hair, which is more absorbent than synthetic hair and holds more ink — which means more ink comes out when I put brush to paper.
All these little things matter because in the end, the quality and range of brush strokes I get with all four of these pens aren’t all that different. Can you really even tell?
There are other refillable synthetic hair brush pens on the market. The ones I’m most interested in are the Sailor Profit brush pen, which I’m sure I’ll cave on very soon, and the Copic Gasenfude brush pen, which sadly doesn’t seem widely available in reputable online stores. There are lots of natural hair options too, but as those tend to be a lot more expensive and because I haven’t really felt like my existing natural hair brush was worth the money, I’m less interested in those.
Honestly though, I don’t expect any of them — synthetic or natural hair — to perform very differently from the arsenal I’ve already accumulated, and the Pentel pocket brush may well remain top dog even if I do play around with more pens. :P