Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fude Pen Review: Offerings from Daiso

Ah Daiso.  Growing up in the rural South, I never knew the joys of Daiso, although there were a couple Asian supermarkets that I frequented as a teenager.  At the time, I was too busy obsessing over anime and Ramune, Pocky and YamYams to even think about checking the stationary section.  Perhaps I could have started this love affair with the fude pen ten years earlier than I did, or maybe it would have been wasted on me.  Maybe I found fude pens when I needed them.

Anyway, back to Daiso.  For those of you who grew up under a rock, as I did, Daiso is a Japanese discount store, similar to a Dollar Tree in the US.  Most of the merchandise costs about $1.50, and the West Coast seems to have a few of them.  If you're an unfortunate soul who does NOT live near a Daiso (as I am, here in Nashville), Amazon can give you a taste of what you're missing out on, but of course, it's much more expensive.  You can also order from the Daiso store online.

Daiso carries just about everything, from kitchen supplies to stationary, and I definitely checked it out when I was in San Francisco last October.  It wasn't difficult to fill a handbasket, mostly with art supplies, and when I passed and endcap full of sign pens, I had to grab a couple.  Unfortunately, I can't link you to them from Amazon, as they appear not to be listed.  I also can't find them on the Daiso website. 

I purchased two brush pens at Daiso, both of them with larger nibs than I'm used to. 

Gold and Black Fude Pen



This is the larger of the two sign pens I purchased at Daiso.  It came in a plastic sleeve, and honestly, I'm surprised I don't have any photos of the wrapper.  The wrapper was written entirely in Japanese, and I pretty much grabbed it because it was fairly cheap and I thought it'd be fun to review some cheap Japanese art supplies.


The nib on this brushpen reminds me A LOT of the large brush nib for Copic's Multiliners.



It also reminded me of the Mitsuo Aida, so here's a side by side comparison of the two brushpens.


Field Test

Up to this point in the test, I was pretty impressed by how the Daiso brush pen performed, but I knew the only way to be certain was to put it through its paces.  I whipped up this sketch to ink:




And inked it fairly quickly.  This pen handles much like the Copic Super Brush Multiliner- it doesn't really pull fine lines, but it pulls decent chunky to fat lines.  This would be a good fill brush, as the ink is fairly rich, especially compared to the grayish ink of the Pentel Pocket Brush.

Red Chiyogami Fude Pen


This time I DID manage to get photos of the packaging.  For the record, the previous pen I reviewed had very similar packaging.



Not really sure what 'real brush pen in the sense of a felt-tip pen' means.  Do they mean the effect of a bristled brush pen in a convenient felt tip?



The pen is made of lightweight plastic, and feels a little cheap.  The red chiyogami is a sticker on the barrel of the pen.  The tip reminds me a lot of the Pitt pen's Medium brush tip.



And it handles a lot like a Pitt pen too.  I don't know if it has a reversible nib the way Pitt pens do.

Field Test

And surprise surprise, the Daiso pen handles a lot like a brand new Pitt brush pen.  Decently tight fine lines (if you have the motor control for it), can pull nice chunky lines as well.  I was a little afraid of mushing it into useless oblivion, so I didn't push it as far as I probably could have.


And here's the Daiso pen right next to my current favorite, the Kuretake Fudegokochi.  They're roughly the same size, but the Daiso pen feels cheaper.  Both have metal clips and plastic bodies, but the Fudegokochi has an ink indicator window that's never really indicated to me when the pen was going to die.

The bottom line is if you live near a Daiso, these Daiso fude pens aren't half bad.  Use them as your mainstay or pick them up when your favorites are outta ink and you're waiting for your order to come in, either way works.