I'm going to review both the Kuretake No. 6 and the Kuretake No. 33 in this post, because they're almost the same pen. The Kuretake No. 6 is a double ended brush pen with a black end and a gray end, and the Kuretake No. 33 is just the brush nib. Both are available through Jetpens for under $6, though if you buy the No. 6, there's no real reason to buy the No. 33.
Kuretake No. 6 Double Sided Brush Pen Black and Gray
This was one of the pens Jetpens sent me to review, but digging through my drawers, I'd found that I'd also purchased one for myself awhile back. Great minds think alike, I suppose. The No. 6 is $5.75, which makes sense as it's two brush pens in one body.
The No. 6 I received came packaged in a cardboard blister pack with instructions written in Japanese. I chucked the packaging as soon as I photographed it.
Based on my experience with other black and gray dual sided brushpens, I expected the gray nib to be significantly smaller than the black nib, and the cap for the gray nib seemed to support that hypothesis.
I was surprised to see that the gray brush nib was only slightly smaller than the black nib on the No. 6. If you're looking for a dual sided brush pen that has a large gray nib, the No. 6 is a great choice.
For these double sided brushpen reviews, I've taken to laying in my shadows before inking, to prevent the gray ink from smearing the black. The gray in the No. 6 is darker than the ink in many double sided brushpens, and darker than the cap indicates.
The Field Test
This is a larger brush nib, so if you're very light handed and want a wide range of strokes, or if you're working on larger illustrations, the nib size on both ends works in your favor. If you want to quickly knock in shapes using the gray and then put in details with the black, it also works quite well at that.
The No. 6 features a soft, responsive brush on both ends that may not be for everyone, but it performs well. If you're looking for a larger nibbed doubble sided brush pen, the Kuretake No. 6 is a strong choice.
Kuretake No 6, Kuretake No 33, and Kuretake Zig Art and Graphic Twin
|From Left to Right: Kuretake No. 6, Kuretake No. 33, Zig Art and Graphic Twin|
Kuretake No. 33 Brush Pen SoftThis is one of the pens I purchased from Amazon, I believe, as I progress my way through Kuretake's numbered brushpens to ferret out their differences. You can also get this pen on Jetpens for $3.30. It's almost identical to the No. 6 reviewed above, except that it's one sided- only a large black Japanese brush.
The No. 33 is packaged in a plastic envelope, unlike the No. 6's cardboard and plastic packaging, and it's easy to remove- you just open the adhesive flap at the bottom.
As mentioned above, the No. 33 is very similar to the No. 6, minus the additional brush end. The inking end has a flare to the body to make holding the pen more comfortable, and the back is designed to allow you to post the cap.
The nib is a little squeaky when you ink- this doesn't bother me, I actually find it somewhat endearing (it reminds me of how Tombow's used to be, back when I was an undergrad), and the pen has lots of rich, dark ink.
|No. 6 on the Left, No. 33 on the Right|
|No. 6 on the Left, No. 33 on the right|
|No. 6 on the left, No. 3 on the right|
The Field Test
As the No. 6 and No. 33 are such juicy inking pens, I decided to mimic the way one of my favorite artists, Leslie Hung, handles hair.
The Overall Verdict:
If you're looking for a double sided brush pen that has two large brushes, the No. 6 is an excellent choice, but if you just want a single sided brush pen, I highly recommend the No. 6, even above some of the other large nibbed brushpens I've reviewed on this blog. The price is right, it does exactly what you want it to do, and the ink is rich and deeply pigmented.
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