best brush pens for drawing
© Kim Jung Gi

Here are the Absolute Best Brush Pens for Drawing in 2024

Add personality and boldness to your art with these top inking picks

If you’re looking to expand your inking skills, a good brush pen is pretty much required. While we love the crisp and consistent lines left by technical pens, there’s nothing that can match the boldness and personality of drawing with a brush pen.

Using a bristle tip lets you vary your line width immensely, from thin trails to blocky sweeps.

Brush pens are also a HUGE time saver compared to using ink and brushes separately. No clean up, dipping or messy ink blotches flying around!

Many of the industries top comic artists, illustrators and cartoonists swear by brush pens, including masters like Karl Kopinski and Kim Jung Gi.

You’ll find the majority of our entries listed below come from Japanese brands, which have the best reputation when it comes to brush pens. That likely stems from their heritage in calligraphy, where the quality of your bristles and ink are highly important.

As a general rule, calligraphy tools tend to be made to a higher standard than generic “artist’s pens” and are a good term to look for. The requirements for calligraphy are very similar to drawing. Variable line width, steady ink flow, etc.

In this round-up we’ll share the best brush pens available based on our own drawing experience. Each entry will offer a list of the pen’s best features, plus a link where you can try it for yourself.

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Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen

Pentel’s pocket brush pen is one of the best all-rounders due to its phenomenal quality and reusability. Strokes leave a rich, India-ink blackness without streaking or bleeding through the paper.

The ink cartridges are cheap and simple to replace, plus the bristles maintain their point even after extended use.

  • Refillable cartridges
  • Deep black ink
  • Durable bristles

Check out our post on how to draw using a Pentel brush pen.

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens

As explored in a full review of the Fudenosuke pens, they’re some of our favorites when you need a small and controllable brush tip.

This 2-pack includes two different size tips, each with a springy felt brush that’s ideal for fine Lines bigger brush pens might struggle with.

The best brush pen for detailed drawings is definitely the Tombow Fudenosuke.

  • Easy to control
  • Flexible fine point for details
  • Under $3 per pen

Pentel Arts Sign Pen

Another popular brush pen from Pentel is their line of Sign Pens. Equipped with sable-like micro brushes, the pens can tackle fine lines but still flatten out for broad strokes too.

While the pens are disposable, the ink lasts a surprisingly long time. Our black Sign Pen has been going strong for over a year!

  • Micro brush tip capable of small details with a light touch
  • 12 colors available
  • Ink reserves last longer than Tombow’s

Pentel Arts Aquash Refillable Brush Pen

If you enjoy watercolor, you may have heard of Pentel’s Aquash line of water brushes.

Their easy to refill chamber can be used for more than just water though. This pigment filled variety houses a supply of light black ink that’s perfect for grayscale drawings.

The reservoir is highly adaptable and can be filled with black or colored ink, or diluted mixtures for inkwashes.

You can also control the ink flow by gently squeezing the barrel to increase pressure – perfect for filling large areas or blending.

  • Refillable and reusable
  • Large ‘no-roll’ reservoir
  • Most customizable option on our list

Sakura Pigma Brush Pen

This brush pen is often bundled with Sakura’s excellent Micron pens, and utilizes the brand’s renowned Pigma ink.

If you’re looking for a brush pen that plays nicely with other media like watercolor or oils, Sakura’s entry is ideal thanks to its archival ink that won’t bleed or fade.

The nib is stiffer than competitors and feels a bit more like a marker tip – great for beginners still tackling brush control.

  • Waterproof, archival grade ink
  • Sturdier tip is easier to control
  • Multiple colors available

Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush Pen

Sometimes you need to work big. Whether you’re filling in a large area of black or are drawing wall art, there comes a time when a small pen just won’t do.

That’s why every artist should have a big black brush pen in their toolkit.

Faber Castell’s PITT pens uses high quality India ink, which is waterproof, permanent, odorless, lightfast and doesn’t bleed through paper.

Great for bold, high contrast ink drawings.

  • Ultra black India ink
  • Flexible brush tip
  • Massive ink supply

While we can vouch for each of the pens on this list, we want to hear your favorites too! What are your picks for the best brush pens for drawing? Do you prefer cheap disposables, or refillable brush pens?

Final tip – it can take some time to get the hang of drawing with a brush pen. Take a look at our list of the best corrective pens for ways to “undo” ink mistakes.

© Efrain Malo

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