Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Brush Pen Review: Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush

In the past, when I wanted to do inks for a piece I intended on watercoloring, I usually pulled out FW Acrylic Ink, or Winsor Newton Bombay ink and a brush to do my inking.  I knew both of those inks were waterproof, and I liked the dynamic look of brushwork, but I didn't like that inking even a small piece took up a lot of time.  I had to set things up JUST SO, and I couldn't easily take it on the go.  Recently I became acquainted with the waterproof Sailor Mitsuo Aida, and I haven't looked back (too hard).  About the time I found out about the Mitsuo Aida, I discovered Akashiya Sai's Outline Brush, which uses a waterproof (pigment based, maybe?) ink as well, and I decided to give it a shot.

This pen is probably meant to be used with the Akashiya Sai watercolor brushpens that I reviewed a couple years ago, but I have to admit, I'm not fans of those pens, and would probably use this pen with one of the many other watercolor markers or pens available on the market.

For the purposes of this review, I'm going to pull out a couple other brushpens for comparison- the Pentel Pocket Brush, and the Pilot Pocketbrush Soft.

To the Left: The Pentel Pocket Brush To the Right: The Akashiya Sai Outline Pen

The Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush pen is a little thinner than your usual brushpen, and may take a little getting used to.  The tip is a brush made up of nylon bristles, similar to the Pentel Pocketbrush.

From Left to Right:  Pentel Pocketbrush, Pilot Pocketbrush Soft, Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Pen

Of the three, only the Pilot .has a rubbery, single unit nib

The Field Test

I did the field test on watercolor paper, since that's the paper I'd be most likely to use when using the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brushpen.

The brush tip on the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush handles a lot like the Pentel Pocket Brush- it's far easier to deliver fat lines than it is to pull fine lines.  As this pen is not refillable, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a go-to brush for large areas of waterproof black fills, but that's what it seems best suited for at the size I draw.  I let the ink dry for at least 24 hours before I move on to the next step- stretching the paper.

 This is the paper after it's been saturated and the water is left to stand.  Usually this is the point when I discover that a waterproof pen isn't so waterproof, but the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Pen really holds its ground.

For comparison, on the left is a piece inked with the Mitsuo Aida, my other waterproof pocket pen.  The piece on the right was inked with the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush.  Neither one show any signs of bleeding or running when water is applied and left to dry.

The real test always comes when I start applying color.  The Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush's ink held up well to erasing, it holds up well to stretching, and it held up fairly well to the addition of watercolor.  In a color application, the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush's ink is a little bit gray compared to vibrant color, but some of this may have happened when I erased the pencil underneath.

The Verdict

If you like the Pentel Pocket Brush, but wished it was waterproof out of the box, the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush might be the choice for you.  I'm not the biggest fan of nylon bristled brush pens, as they have a tendency to drybrush, but I know many artists love the drybrush effect, and if you're one of those artists, the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush is a great pick.  When purchasing this brush, be really careful, as the other Akashiya Sai brushes are NOT waterproof, only the Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush is waterproof.  The Akashiya Sai Pigment Outline Brush is $5.25 on Jetpens.

If you do NOT want a nylon bristled brushpen, but still want a waterproof brushpen, I highly recommend the Sailor Mitsuo Aida, a pen I've been using often.