Get in touch with nature as you draw with these beautiful bamboo barrel brush pens. These modern brush pens are made of real bamboo wood, and are a sophisticated tool for artists and calligraphers alike. They are made by the famous Akashiya Company, a maker that has had a long history of specializing in traditional Sumi-e (Asian art) brush pens. Their history and experience is evident in the quality and variety of their brush pens. Pens are conveniently refillable with cartridges and come in three barrel colors.
I just had to write up a quick review of this pen!
Having been trained in classic Japanese Calligraphy, I have always used a true
brush in my work and drawing. This purchase was a departure for me but one that
I am glad to say that has been much more than what I had expected.
I received my Akashiya Bamboo Barrel Brush Pen this afternoon 12.09.2008 and
went about putting it through its paces. I must say that I have never used a pen
that has the feel and balance that this does. The feel of the pen in ones hand
is warm and personal, not cold and utilitarian as some pens can be. It reminds
me of the Old BHCR Waterman fountain Pens that had a more organic feel about
The Akashiya Bamboo Barrel Brush Pen feels right at home in ones hand and the
balance is about as perfect as it gets.
The Pen packaging is no nonsense and minimal as is expected. The construction of
the pen in general is superb. The overall material is Bamboo as the name
suggests and is well sealed by the application of lacquer. Looking under the
Cap, shows a well sealed surface. There is also a type of metal reinforcement
honeycomb that adds strength to the cap in whole. Further up inside the cap
there is an air tight plastic cone that seals the brush tip/nib against outside
air and helps prevent the brush from drying out while its being stored or not
The Cap slides down the Barrel with just enough tension to get a good seal but
not so tight that it binds while being put on or taken off. Simple but well
Next was the inking process and ink check. The Akashiya Bamboo Barrel Brush Pen
is supplied with 2 factory cartridges of very black ink. installation of the
cartridge was flawless. The fit is snug as expected and has an excellant seal. I
would not feel the least bit concerned about carring this in my pocket fully
loaded. I spent several hours of almost continued use to really see how the
brush tip/nib held up to different types of pressure. This is where I was the
most surprised. The tip snapped back after several hours of use and the
sensitivity of the brush is fantastic. It is quite agile and very responsive to
your every motion and move.
I tested an several types of paper. Starting with traditional Kozo, then on to
Hosho, followed by 90lb. Studio Fabriano cold pressed Watercolor paper, Vellum
Bristol, 20lb. Copy/ink jet paper, 75lb general purpose sketch paper (mostly
recycled content), Arches 300lb Hot press Watercolor sheet stock and finally
Newsprint (again, mostly recycled content)
Ink coverage and penetration was consistent across all paper types. Dry times
were of course different on each paper type and since I live on the North West
California Coast the humidity level plays a very large role in the dry times.
Differences being measured in 10 second departures between each paper type, so
there was no real glaring difference where one paper type was still wet well
after the others had dried.
I preformed a quick water test on each paper type and found that each sample was
at least partially water resistant. The recycled and most porous exhibiting the
greatest water resistance and little if any running on these paper types. The
harder surfaced paper types ran the most but testing again, after allowing the
sample to dry longer, I found even these to be about 85% water resistant. As
already stated, the paper that had the most recycled content were almost 95/97%
water fast. The test was a simple running water test at the kitchen sink as I
wanted a quick test to determine a rough baseline for the factory ink. I will
setup a true dip test as a followup for more accurate results in the next few
I normally prefer Platinum Carbon ink or the new Noodlers " Heart of Darkness"
which is the blackest dye based ink I have ever seen and is formulated to
preform its best on recycled material. All of this in consideration, I would
feel totally comfortable using the supplied factory ink in lieu of my normal ink
if needed. The blackness of the factory ink is very dense and surprised me as
how dark it was, coming close to the Noodlers Heart of Darkness. about a 9 on a
In short, the Akashiya Bamboo Barrel Brush Pen is a surprising sleeper and
preforms with a grace that's a pleasure. Not merely a tool in your hand but
rather an extension of your hand. Highly recommended!
I purchased the black, but now, will get the other 2 colors to complete the
I purchased this and a Kuretake sable hair at the same time. The kuretake wins
hands down. This pen doesn't seem to retain the point as others have said and
the ink it comes with is not a true black. It has a nice feel in your hand, but
as far as function goes I prefer the kuretake sable hair no. 40. Now if they
make a new head for this pen with real hair, I just might find a new love. It is
better than a marker, but not the best. A nice pen to have in your collection
If you like to doodle and have never tried a brush pen, you are in for a treat.
The incredible gliding smoothness, the way the stroke responds to your movement
- it s such a satisfying way of drawing. I find just laying down a few strokes
on a fresh white sheet of paper is a great relaxation at the end of a stressful
day. I'm no great artist but you don't have to be. This pen feels great in the
hand. The tip lays quite clean lines so it does limit you a little on the styles
of lines you can draw (no blotchy or watery ones, I don't think). Still, it's a
The one weird thing is that unlike North American pens the cartridge is not
pushed on and held by the barrel. You push the cartridge on the tip part and the
barrel never touches the cartridge. Interesting and puzzled me a bit at first :)
But no worries, it does hold securely.
While I'm not sure about anticipating my moves, this is a very fine brush pen!
It is a lot broader and thicker than the Kuretake/Pentel Pocket Brush ones
though. This is good for a really nice, wet ink flow, but it does make thinner
hairlines a little more difficult.
As other reviewers have mentioned, it has a great feel and balance. It doesn't
post, so make sure not to lose that cap! It is quite a large pen - much more so
than the other pens I've mentioned. This definitely isn't a pocket pen, and
lives in the studio.
Overall, it's a great brush pen for bigger work. Recommended.