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May 12, 2014

Experts' Expert: Kuretake Sumi No. 13 Brush Pen


Below, excerpts from Barry McWilliams' May 8 Cool Tools review.



I've been a brush pen user for years. I love them. They’re my primary sketching tool and I always have at least one in my bag and one in my car. My first was the Pentel Pocket Brush. From there I moved on to the Pentel Standard Brush and the Kuretake No. 8. Then I was given a Kuretake No. 13.


The Kuretake No. 13 is the finest of the lot. Being able to move, in one stroke, from a thin, fine line to a fat, smushed line is what makes all brush pens so fun. Even my least favorite brush pen is a blast to use but it's the Kuretake that gives me the most control. My thin lines are thinner, my fat lines are more consistent and I get more variety between the two than with any other pen. Further, after a broad, smushed stroke, the bristles return to shape immediately, allowing me to move onto a more delicate line without having to dab the brush back into shape on a piece of scrap paper.

Furthermore, the ink flow is just right. A lot of brush pens, with a full ink cartridge, have a tendency to be “wet.” When you press the bristles down for a fat line, the ink can puddle on the page, leaving a shiny wet line just begging to be smeared across your sketch. Great, if that’s the effect you want. I rarely do. I like an ink line that’s controllable and dries quickly enough that I can move around the page without worrying too much about where to put my hand.

The pen is uses water-based dye ink refill cartridges and the default ink is just a bit blacker than the default Pentel ink and reacts similarly with water. Because I’ve ruined two Pentel brush pens trying DIY refilling tricks, I’ve no idea how well the Kuretake reacts to other inks. If someone wants to try it, please let us know how it goes.



May 12, 2014 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


Ordered. Thanks Scott!

Posted by: DJ Clifyt | May 14, 2014 9:52:38 AM

@ Who Da Clify - I strongly suggest Betty Edwards' "Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain", and to do the exercises in the book. Even if you never become a nartist, you'll understand why so many people get "stuck" learning to draw.

Posted by: Scott | May 13, 2014 6:05:42 PM

I'd love to be able to learn to draw. I've tried over and over...got water colors recently and still no luck.

This still looks like the kinda pen to have with ya! However for twenty some dollars, you can get a Sharpie Brushtip for a LOT cheaper. 12 for $10 shipped:


(Joey you can edit this to use your code!)

Posted by: Who Da Clify | May 13, 2014 11:44:21 AM

Thanks! I never saw anything like it. Just got if for my dad whom I have seen do amazing things with a fountain pen. Can't wait to give him this.

Posted by: tamra | May 13, 2014 2:38:25 AM

Joe is back :)

Posted by: Stacey | May 12, 2014 5:03:22 PM

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