Sunday, April 22, 2012

Using a Fude Brush to Ink

I've tried a variety of inking tools, from nibs that cut up my paper to brushes that magnify every minor tremor of my hand.  Tech pens give deadlines unless you really work them, and brush pens may have trouble pulling a delicate line.   For awhile, I suffered in silence and made do with tech pens, my inking hours stretching into oblivion, until I discovered artistic salvation.

Fude Pens.

Or Japanese sign pens.

I've reviewed a few fude pens in the past, and Nemu*Nemu's reviewed a few I've missed, and The Pen Addict has reviewed some as well.

Most fude pens I've seen available in the US are disposable, much like commonly available ballpoint pens.  Unfortunately, this means you're stuck with the ink they're filled with.  The tip is a springy felt and has a give similar to rubber.  With an overenthusiastic hand (i.e. too much pressure) it can become mushy over time.  Not all fude pens are made equal- some are much stiffer than others and behave more like a fine tip marker than a brush pen, so it may take some experimentation to find one you like.  I am currently using a Kuretake Fudegokochi with black ink that I purchased while in Japan.  It's also available on Jetpens, and unfortunately, the ink is watersoluable.  Even with that in mind, its still the best fude pen I've used.

Before the addition of ink, fude pens look like this:

Image via Jetpens.  This is a Pentel Petit 3, a refillable fude pen (the first I've encountered).  I've used this before, but I don't care for the ink that comes in its cartrides.  I have not refilled it with the ink of my choice yet because I'm afraid it will clog.


I'm able to achieve a fair variety of lineweight with a single pass, as long as I vary the pressure.    
 Fude pens are capable of very fine lines, but are not capable of the same huge variations in lineweight that regular brushes and brushpens can achieve.  For the widest variety of lineweight, I recommend using a fude pen and a brush pen.  For filling in large areas, I recommend using either a refillable brushpen or a brush and ink.
The tip of my Kuretake Fudegokochi.  The pen itself looks very similar to common felt tip and ballpoint pens.

And here's a closeup of the variety in lineweight you can achieve with a fude pen.
Because most fude pens are disposable, there's very little in terms of upkeep, although I have read some reviews which state that there's a tendency toward leaking.  I find that fude pens give a very expressive line, and I enjoy using them for general inking (including delicate things such as faces), lettering, and creating dynamic word balloons, although I do not find it suited for ruling out pages or covering large expanses.  I have not encountered a fude pen ink that has trouble covering blue lead lines, nor have I encountered one that is particularly prone to bleeding.  Many fude pen inks are not waterproof or Copic proof, so please test before committing.

If there is any interest, I can do a fude pen test in the near future.

Fluke was yesterday, I'll have a post up soon letting you guys know how it went.

Are there any comic or art supplies that you feel have gone overlooked for too long?  Please drop me a comment and let me know!

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