Monday, April 06, 2015

Fude Pen Review: Pilot Pocket Brush Soft

I"m sure I've tested fude and brush pens from Pilot before, but in the past, none have really stood out to me.  That changed the day I tested the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft.

I have to admit, I very rarely read the reviews on Jetpens BEFORE purchasing pens.  This would've saved me in the past (like buying the entire set of Akashiya Sai, which I promptly hated, or buying the set of the Mitsubishi Pure Color F, which was hugely disappointing), but sometimes there aren't reviews written for the pens I'm interested in.  Had I read the reviews for the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft prior to buying, it may have deterred my purchase- the reviews aren't necessarily scathing, but they don't sell the pen well either.  And the price tag, $5.00 for a single, non refillable plastic pen, isn't a strong selling point either, especially compared to cheaper pens.

However, I think the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft has traits that make it worth consideration, especially if you're looking for a fude pen that can handle large lineart with the same juicy lines that are usually reserved for smaller pieces. 

The Pen Itself

My Pilot Pocket Brush Soft arrived in this cardboard backed package- unusual since many pen companies have switched to the plastic sleeve.  I think this was sprobably just an older pen, leftover from before Pilot switched their packaging.

The Pilot Pocket Brush Soft features an all black, plastic body, including a moulded black plastic clip.  The all plastic casing feels a little cheap, but I appreciate that the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft offers a 'view window' of sorts.  When the ink starts to bleed into my Kuretake Fudegokochi's plastic 'view window', I know that it's about time to replace my pen. 

As you can see from this small test, the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft is capable of very juicy thick lines, as well as very fine delicate lines, making it a versatile pen.  At $5.00 and non refillable, I wouldn't use this pen for large black fills the way I use a refillable Pentel Pocket Brush.

Field Test

This brush pen handled very well for a nib of it's size.  Unlike other pens I've tested in the past, there were no tattered edges to the nib that would lead to light feathering- the nib was pliable and uniformly well inked.  As the pen is used up, this may change, but fresh out the package the pen works great.

Of the large brush fude style pens I've tested, the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft has the softest nib.  If you're heavy handed, you may prefer the Mitsuo Aida, which is a little stiffer, or the Tombow Dual Brush, which is more commonly available.

How it Stacks Up

From left to right:  Tombow, Pentel Pocket Brush, Sailor Mitsuo Aida, Kuretake Fudegokochi, Pilot Pocket Brush Soft

In this lineup, all but the Pentel Pocket Brush feature felt nibs.  Out of this lineup, the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft is the softest large nibbed fude pen, to the point where if you're heavy handed, it's be very easy for your lineart to go flat with an abundance of fat lines.  Given how soft it is, the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft is capable of both fine and thick lines, and requires very little pressure to transition between the two.  When inking, the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft has a bit of a 'rubbery' squeak to it, but it's not all that unpleasant, and it reminds me of inking with a Tombow.

Prices from left to right:

Tombow Dual Brush (DickBlick, couldn't find single black dual brushes through Jetpens)- $2.36
Pentel Pocket Brush (only refillable brushpen included in this series) (Jetpens) $14.00 (DickBlick) $14.85
Sailor Mitsuo Aida (waterproof) (Jetpens) $4.45
Kuretake Fudegokochi (Jetpens) $3.50
Pilot Pocket Brush Soft (Jetpens) $5.00

Given this (somewhat stacked, admittedly) comparison, the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft is not unreasonably priced, and it performs quite well.  I'll carry this pen in my pencil case and continue using it, and possibly amend this post when my Pilot Pocket Brush Soft has taken more of a beating.

The Verdict

This non-descript black plastic pen is easily mistaken at first glance for it's brother, the Pilot Pocket Brush Hard, but they're entirely different animals.  If you like fude pens, but find the nibs too small to pull the sort of lines you'd like, you should definitely give the Pilot Pocket Brush Soft a try.  The Pilot Pocket Brush Soft handles far better than  many other large nibbed, felt or rubber tipped brush and fude pens.