Sunday, May 08, 2016

A Comic Artist's Guide to Fude Pens

If you aren't using fude pens for some of your inking, you really should consider adding at least one to your arsenal.  Fude pens have just about replaced technical pens for me, and are in many instances easier to use and more convenient than a traditional brush.



Fude pens (which fall into the same category as brush pens) were traditionally used for calligraphy in the East, but are becoming increasingly popular as a sketching and inking tool for artists everywhere.  Particularly popular among comic artists for the wide variety of lineweights easily produced, fude pens are a cost effective, low learning curve alternative to inking with technical pens or a brush and ink.

I've used fude pens for several years now, and have reviewed over a dozen here on the blog.  A few years ago, I even wrote a post demonstrating how I use them, step by step, to encourage other artists to give them a shot.   I use fude pens regularly- from inks over non photo blue lead in my sketchbook to comic pages to inks for marker and watercolor.  Fude pens have greatly sped up my inking process, and give me greater control than brushes, as they offer fairly large barrels with fairly fine points.

I've moved almost entirely away from technical pens, as fude pens allow a range of expressive brushstrokes not available to technical pens.  Even my inking brush, which is still used in the studio, is often neglected, as there's a fude pen for my every need.  My alcohol marker field tests?  Inked with a Sailor Mitsuo Aida.  My convention inks?  Inked with a Kuretake Fudegokochi.

If you're struggling with inking your characters, illustrations, and comics, I highly recommend you give fude pens a try.  I have a rough outline, as well as some suggestions below, to help you find a pen that will suit your needs.  Many of these pens serve double, or even triple, duty as inking tools, watercolor tools, and markers, so they may not be compatible with other media.  This list is not intended to be comprehensive, just a simple introduction to those who may be unfamiliar with fude pens, or are looking to quickly find a fude pen to suit their needs.

Major Brands- Tombow, Kuretake, Pentel, Pilot, Sailor

Three Main Ink Types

Waterproof- Sailor Mitsuo Aida, Akashiya Sai Outline Pen

Not Waterproof- Kuretake Fudegokochi, Tombow ABT, Zig Clean Color Real Brush

Alcohol Marker Proof- Kuretake Fudegokochi, Sailor Mitsuo Aida

2 Main Brush Types-

Individual Nylon Bristles- Akashiya Sai Outline Pen, Zig Clean Color Real Brush

Solid Foam Brush- Tombow ABT, Kuretake No 6, Kuretake No 33, Sailor Mitsuo Aida



Several Sizes-

Large (Kuretake No 6, Kuretake No 33, Tombow ABT, Pilot Pocket Brush Soft)
Medium (Kuretake Fudegokochi)
Small- Pilot Fude-Makase, Kuretake Fudegokochi Super Fine



Single Tip- Kuretake Fudegokochi

Double Tipped- May be Dual color with same brush size, Dual color with two brush sizes, or a Single Color with Two Brush Sizes.  Pilot Futayaku in Fine and Medium



Single Color- Sailor Mitsuo Aida

Dual Color- Usually Black and Gray-Kuretake No. 6

Available in a wide range of colors:  Pentel Touch, Pilot Fude-Makase, Kuretake Fudebiyori, Tombow ABT


Interested in fude pens and not sure where to find them?  Fortunately, you no longer need a friend in Japan, as fude pens are becoming increasingly popular.  I order many of mine through Amazon!  You can use the handy affiliate links to start your collection AND help this blog!