Saturday, June 20, 2015

Brush Pen Review: Pilot Futayaku in Fine and Medium

This post was brought to this blog care of Jetpens, who so kindly sent me a package of brush and fude pens to review.

As a reviewer, sometimes my biggest challenge is finding a somewhat interesting way to start off a review post.  Sure, I could probably just drive right into the review, and I definitely try not to waste my readers' time with lengthy anecdotes that have nothing to do with the actual review.  It's not like I'm Dickens, I'm not paid by the word over here, but I do feel like some introduction, some preamble is in order.

For those of you who don't know, my setup is extremely humble over here.  One smartphone (an iPhone 4S), one Google Drive account with additional storage to facilitate the transfer of photos, one sketchbook, one non photo blue mechanical pencil, one pen at a time (these days).  There's also one Becca, which is sometimes the hardest thing of all to have in such short supply, because there's always so much I want to do.  Although I try to stay consistent, sometimes I fall behind, caught up in the hustle of attending conventions, making new merchandise, endless painting, and testing new supplies.  I'm sure there's someone out there who would be happy enough to do some light interning in return for art supplies, but I'm not so sure it's a job I'd want to hand over to anyone else.   Part of this is because I'm a control freak- if my name is attached to something, I want to make sure it's right, but part of it is simply because I legitimately love testing art supplies, and I love testing best when there are no strings attached, no reader waiting with baited breath for my opinion between two brands.  Maybe this is why the fude and brush pen reviews are my favorite, even though they are the least popular reviews on my blog.  I am reviewing these pens for my own enjoyment.  Of course, the fact that it requires far less financial investment to review even a large set of colored fude pens than it does to review enough alcohol based markers to form an opinion doesn't hurt a bit.

In my opinion, my brush and fude pens have only just begun in earnest, and I have only recently realized that Pilot is a fantastic brand.  Pilot of America leaves much to be desired in its offerings, and may have left a sour taste in many of your mouths, but I promise you, Pilot of Japan is great, and well worth exploring.  Your options for Japanese Pilot stationary products in America are fairly limited, but Jetpens carries a pretty decent selection that are well worth exploring.

Today we'll be examining the Pilot Futayaku Double Sided Brushpen in Fine and Medium.  If this seems a little familiar to you, I recently reviewed Pilot's Futayaku with black and gray ink.  That Futayaku pen has two tips of the same size in two colors of ink (great for toning!), this Futayaku has two tips of two different sizes, but just one ink color.  It'll be exciting to see how the two stack up or even compliment each other.

The Pen

The Futayaku reminds me a bit of the Sailor Mitsuo Aida in that they are both double sided calligraphy pens, so of course I had to pull out the Mitsuo Aida for comparison.  The Pilot Futayaku is NOT waterproof, the Sailor Mitsuo Aida is.

Top: Pilot Futayaku, Bottom: Sailor Mitsuo Aida.  These pens are very similar in terms of body size, tip size, and heft. 

Top of triangle: Pilot Futayaku, to right, Pilot Pocketbrush Soft, to left Kuretake Fudegokochi

I also had to pull out my Pilot Pocketbrush Soft to compare the two large nibs side by side.  It seems like the Futayaku falls in between the Kuretake Fudegokochi and the Pilot Pocketbrush- the Futayaku's small nib is smaller than the Fudegokochi, and the large end on the Futayaku is smaller than the Pilot Pocketbrush Soft.

The Futayaku is VERY prone to rolling, especially when the large brush cap (the one with the clip) is removed, and that made it somewhat hard to photograph it for this review. 

The Field Test

I used the large end to ink the hair.  The large end has a really nice range of lineweights.

 I used the smaller end to ink the face, flowers, and facial details.  I think the two tip sizes compliment each other very well.

The Verdict

I'm beginning to notice a very positive trend with Pilot's fude and brush pens- for the most part, I really like the construction of the nibs they use, and I love how rich the ink is.  Although Jetpens describes both tips as being hard, I found them both to be fairly soft and receptive to inking without much threat of getting mushy.  Both nibs have a lot of flex in them, and compliment one another nicely.  If watersafeness isn't a big factor in your work, the Pilot Futayaku is an excellent choice for your everyday carrying, able to do double duty as both a large brush and a fine fude, especially as it's only $3.30.