When it comes to art, I like to explore different tools and techniques. Ideally I’d like to try as many different styles as possible without necessarily mastering any of them. The more I explore social media, the more I find that this objective is actually attainable. The problem is a lot of the time I’m not sure what I’m getting into. Although these days it’s easy to go online, look up videos of what you want to learn, then copy them, you still have to try things yourself to see how challenging they really are. This brings me to the Pentel Pocket Brush. It’s an ink pen with a bristle tip that looks just like a paintbrush. It emits very dark ink and when I saw other artists use it, I was automatically attracted to the type of lines it creates. This tool can make a thin to thick line in a single stroke which, depending on how you look at it, is actually amazing. I saw artists such as @joverine, @fuzzedupbear and @thechamba use this pen and thought, if they can do this, I don’t see why I can’t…it must be achievable. Just go on their Instagram page and see any of
their inked work to see what I’m talking about. So obviously I ordered one.
First of all, I couldn’t find this tool at my local art shop (almost a year after purchasing it, I found it in a random art shop, but that’s another story). So I went online and found the exact tool for about $14 from an Asian source. I waited about 2 weeks and it finally came in the mail. I was eager to use the tool, but the first thing you notice is that the pen needs to be loaded with an ink cartridge. The brush is actually white and absorbs the ink once the cartridge is loaded. I didn’t know how long this would take so I loaded the damn thing and let it stand up vertically for an hour before getting back to it. After a while, I finally had the opportunity to put the pen to paper and test out my artistic limits.
I took a blank piece of paper and started testing out different type of pen strokes to get an idea of how to properly use this item. You can make extremely light and thin lines by keeping the pen as adjacent to the page as possible or you can make thick lines by using the pen anywhere between a 30 to 45 degree angle. The weird thing with this tool is there’s no feedback…there’s no pressure to tell you whether you’re pressing lightly or heavily. It’s virtually like drawing in thin air except you end up with a bunch of smudges
and lines everywhere. This just means I had to focus my attention on the distance between the pen and the paper rather than just feeling it out (which is how pencils and pens work). So I took the pen to the test and decided to try to draw certain cartoon faces to see how it worked.
The piece I ended up drawing with the pocket brush was a collage of different female artists I follow on Instagram. I made a point to draw individuals who followed me back because I appreciate being supported while supporting others. I also know artists never really get drawn, but are always asked to draw others so I thought this would be a nice way to give back to a few people also. Before drawing a face, I would sketch out the lines with a regular 2H pencil, just to create a foundation to use the pocket brush. The trickiest part with the pen was drawing small details such as eyes, noses, and lips because like I said before, too much pressure will completely smudge the image. So I’d draw as much detail as I could without fidgeting my hand too much. I think the only other profession where you have to have such stable hands is medical surgery (seriously, lol). Every single detail had to be drawn so carefully that it actually made me nervous at times. The good thing is once the facial details were done, the face outlines and hair were easy to draw. This is where the pen is actually fun to use because each hair stroke is done swiftly with swirls and squiggles at different pressures which results in a unique style for hair. After maybe 20-30 minutes I was finally done the first face, which ended up being one of many.
Overall the experience with this tool was unique. Since using it for this specific collage, I haven’t really used it again. Mainly because the opportunity hasn’t presented itself with the projects I’ve been doing. While the results of the pocket brush were great, I don’t think I’ve ever cursed out loud so often while drawing. Art is supposed to be relaxing for me, or at least a learning process where I usually easily grasp concepts. But this tool brought out the best and the worst in me. At the end of the day this just tells me I need more practice. I’ve seen what art pieces possible when this tool is used properly and I want to attain that level of penmanship. If you want to challenge yourself, order one and see what you can come up with. I promise the end goal is ultimately worth the struggle.
In order to see which piece I completed with the pen, you can check out my Instagram page @theroyceproject. Until next time!