A comparison of my favorite brush calligraphy pens

Not all brush pens are created equal.

Yes, they allow you to write brush calligraphy. But they are all different in their own way.

From the look and feel of the pen itself, the sharpness, flexibility, and stroke width of the tip, and even the shade and amount of ink that spills out – these differences contribute to the unique style of each pen.

Read on for a comparison of the brush pens I use the most: Tombow dual brush pen, Tombow Fudenosuke soft tip, Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip, and Pentel sign fude touch. Then you can watch my new video where I go over all of these differences and demonstrate how each pen writes!

brush pen comparison

Tombow dual brush pen

The Tombow dual brush pen is my favorite! It was the first brush pen I ever learned with and a majority of my Instagram posts recently feature this pen.

  • Feel: This is a very big pen. Because of its size, it took a while for me to get used to my grip on the pen. I have found it helpful to place my hands about at least an inch away from the tip because the closer I am to the tip, the less control I have.
  • Flexibility: Very flexible! Allows you to easily create strokes in various sizes.
  • Sharpness: When first used and if used properly, the pen tip is very sharp. Depending on use, the natural wear and tear cause the tip to fray. The less angled and more upright you hold the pen, the tip will fray faster.
  • Ink: This pen comes in 96 different ink colors!
  • Stroke size: This pen tip is huge! The strokes I write are very big, relative to the other pens and in comparison to writing tools in general. Because of the stroke size, I typically write pieces with one or just a few words.

brush pen comparison

To learn more about the Tombow dual brush pen, read and watch my review in this post.

Tombow Fudenosuke soft tip

The Tombow Fudenosuke soft tip (“Tombow Fude” for short) is a great starter pen. I first tried this pen when the amazing Brittany of Tombow sent me a sample to try. Trying this pen out was such a game-changer for me! It is smooth, easy to handle, and writes really well.

  • Feel: Easy to hold. It is the size of most regular pens that you write with.
  • Flexibility: Very flexible! The tip flexes easily for creating brush calligraphy.
  • Sharpness: Stays very sharp for a long time. While I have had my pen for about two months now and have used it constantly, the tip is still as sharp as when I first used it.
  • Ink: I have only seen this pen in black ink.

brush pen comparison

Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip

The Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip is a lot of fun. It writes smoothly and easily.

  • Feel: Easy to hold. It is the size of most regular pens that you write with.
  • Flexibility: Very flexible, but more firm than the Tombow Fude soft tip.
  • Sharpness: Stays sharp for a long time as well. Great for achieving thick and thin calligraphy strokes.
  • Ink: I have only seen this pen in black ink.

brush pen comparison

Pentel sign fude touch

The Pentel sign fude touch is a great beginner pen! It is one of the first brush pens I really learned how to use and I love how this pen comes in different colors. You can get the entire set with the 12-pack!

  • Feel: Easy to hold. It is the size of most regular pens that you write with.
  • Flexibility: Very flexible and similar to the Tombow Fude soft tip. Great for writing long pieces and a lot of words.
  • Sharpness: Stays sharp for a long time.
  • Ink: Comes in several different colors! My favorite colors are black, gray, ochre (gold).

brush pen comparison

Pentel sign fine point

The Pentel sign fine point is NOT a brush pen. Instead, it simply has a fine tip with no flex to it, making it impossible to create brush calligraphy. I included this pen in this comparison post to emphasize its distinction from the Pentel sign FUDE TOUCH, which I discussed above.

brush pen comparison

Video: Brush Pen Comparison

Watch this video as I review each of the pens above and demonstrate how they write:

So there you have it! The four brush pens I use for brush calligraphy. In future posts, I will share more practice drills and tips for improving your brush calligraphy. This post should help those of you with learning the basics and getting started, which will set a great foundation for you to tackle more advanced techniques.

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It’s your turn!

Which brush pens do you love to use? Which ones do you want to try?

What is the next brush pen I should get? I love trying new things!

To help me prepare for future posts, what other aspects of brush calligraphy would you like me to explain and demonstrate?

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21 thoughts on “A comparison of my favorite brush calligraphy pens

  1. Hi Sharisse!!! I liked very much your post cause me also I’m interested in all these kind of brush pens!!!
    …Only one thing from my poin of view: I was curious to see in the pictures the points of the pens!!! 😀


    1. Oh! That’s a great idea! I can’t believe I forgot to include photos of the tips! I will certainly work on sharing a photo, even if it’s on Instagram for now. Thanks for the suggestion!!!


  2. Hi Sharisse, as usual I love that you added a video. I alway find video so much more interactive and easy to understand. I like to mix my pen and ink lettering with watercolor painting so I’m always looking for good waterproof inks. I know the Tombow pens are NOT waterproof but do you know if any of the others are permanent?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Tombow dual brush pens are definitely not waterproof, but I haven’t had too many issues with the Fudenosuke brushes! I also use the Pilot Futayaku brush pen, which is definitely waterproof and works great with watercolour as well 🙂

      There’s a great table at the bottom of this post at JetPens, and it shows whether the pens they tested are water/copic-proof or not! http://www.jetpens.com/blog/guide-to-choosing-a-brush-pen-for-calligraphy/pt/621


    2. Hi, Lisa!!! I am totally with you on video, and the 15-second limit on Instagram is just NOT enough. I’m happy you are finding them helpful because I just started out recording and have quite a lot to learn with video editing!

      Great question on waterproof pens… So far, I have only tried the Tombow pens and Pentel sign, which I believe neither are waterproof. I have heard of folks using the Sharpie brush pen. Check that one out? I have been meaning to find archival ink myself, so I will certainly share my findings in a post as soon as I can!

      Thanks for visiting, Lisa!


  3. I love this post, Sharisse! Your comparison is super simple. I want to try the Pentel and Pilot Pocket Brush Pens next! You should too!!


  4. This post is interesting. Nice that you commented that the Tombow is big – I thought it was an issue of mine when I could not fit the words I wanted onto the paper.
    I have been trying out other brush pens to figure out which works best for me – have not reached any conclusion yet as I am really a beginner. 🙂


    1. Hey there! Wow, sorry for this super late reply. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, the Tombow dual brush pen is pretty big. I usually write just a few words on paper with it. If I want to write a longer phrase or quote, I use a smaller brush pen such as the Tombow Fudenosuke or the Pentel Fude Touch. Hope that helps! Happy writing! 🙂


    1. Of course! You would have to do what is called, “faux calligraphy.” The idea is that you would have to write out your word or phrase, and then go back to fill in the thick strokes. I’ll do a demo on Instagram as soon as I can!


  5. Hi Sharisse, Im so glad to have come upon your blog, Ive been doing pointed pen calligraphy for a few months and am loving it and think I will branch out and try my hand at brush pen, my question is this… Tombow or Kuretake or Copic? And what are the differences of each if there is any?
    Thanks and I look forward to doing your online class


    1. Hey Karen! So sorry for my super delayed comment. I can only speak mostly for Tombow, but a lot of folks love Kuretake and Copic. My best advice is to simply try a couple and see how you like them! It can also take some time to get used to them, so be patient. If you check out my supplies page, you can find some of my reviews and opinions on the pens I use: https://piecescalligraphy.com/supplies. Hope that helps!


  6. Thanks for this! I happened to watch it before opening my email about the course I am doing with Liss from Lissletters. I ordered the pentel sign pens safer watching your video, and then realised I needed it for the course! Lol Sadly, the pack I ordered need to come from Japan to the UK, so I had to pay more to get ones from the uk in time. Things are so much harder to get here, and more costly.


    1. Oh boy, I hope you are able to find the pens at a more affordable price. Have you looked into Paper and Ink Arts or Jet Pens online? I’m not sure about their International shipping policies, but those are the two places I get my Pentel sign pens. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy Liss’s class! Happy writing!


  7. Hi, have just discovered you, such generous sharing xx have you tried the Zig clean colour real brush pens? Find them so lovely to use.


  8. Hi Sharisse, I just discovered your website and I find it wonderful! Thank you very much for sharing!! I would like to know if you already heard of or tried Colorit’s watercolor brush pens set.
    I like these but I don’t know if they are ideal for calligraphy . Thanks again!


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