The Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen was recommended as a less-expensive (US$7.00) alternative to the Kuretake No. 13, which comes in at four times the price; the esteemed sable-hair No. 40 (which costs…a whole lot more); and the illustrious sable-hair-probably-gently-plucked-from-the-underbellies-of-unicorns No. 50 (don’t ask…but just read those good reviews on JetPens). It uses ink cartridges and can be refilled with the abyssally black Platinum Carbon ink. The ink that comes with the pen is NOT waterproof (though one review says “it does become waterproof over the course of a few weeks”—I’ll have to come back to the sketchbook page and test that myself).

I’ve had this particular pen for over a year (maybe two?), and it’s been at the bottom of drawers, tossed around in a pen case, generally abused and unused, and it’s come through it all like the champion it is. It writes as if new out of the package.

This sort of treatment isn’t recommended by the manufacturer, of course, who suggest that the No. 8, 13, 40, and 50 pens be used at least once a month (I didn’t see that warning on the lowly No. 7). All these pens are intended for, and I’m told excel at, writing Japanese calligraphy, but that should make any of them a good choice for drawing.

The Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen comes with two ink cartridge refills. You might want to swap them for a waterproof or a faster-drying ink—I ended up with smudges on the test page below even when I thought I was being careful—but the original ink has some lovely qualities.

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Kuretake No. 7 Brush Pen