A Review of the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens
Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens seem to be an absolute fan favourite in the lettering and calligraphy community. What makes them so popular though? I’m going to unwravel with you everything I can about these Fudenosuke pens.
I’m going to be real, I pronounced it wrong for the longest time. I always had it in my mind “Foo Den O Soo Key”. Typical Aussie here, butchering the Japanese language. Apparently the pronounciation is “Foo Den Oh Ski” which sounds beautiful.
Anyway let’s get on with an ultimate guide and full review of the Tombow Fudenosuke pens.
Please note – This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, but please know that I do not link to anything that I don’t personally recommend. If you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a cent more!
The Tombow Fudenosuke’s Nib
If you think “Tombow” a lot of people would go straight to the larger and colourful Dual Brush Pens by Tombow. They are widely popular, gorgeous pens that come in (what feels like) a million colours and they are beloved by all. The nibs are huge though, which make them not really appropriate for some types of brush calligraphy.
The fudenosuke pens, on the otherhand, have a small sized nib (approx 1.5mm in lenght) which is perfect in making extra fine to medium lines (depending on the pressure). This nib size is a dream for little brush calligraphy pieces.
The nib comes in two different strengths: a soft tip and a hard tip.
I find the hard tip easier to use when writing calligraphy but it’s a matter of preferences and what you’re using it for. most often than not I’d recommend the hard nib if you’re starting out in calligraphy.
The nib itself has a hard elastomer (resin) core which makes it really sturdy and strong, and there’s no risk to breaking the nib if you use too much pressure.
If you’re wanting to know which pen is which, you need to learn to read Japanese. I’m definitely kidding, although pretty much everything on the pens and packaging is actually in Japanese.
The hard and soft pens look really similar to each other, which can be confusing. The hard tip has a dark navy blue barrel body, while the soft tip pen has a black body.
Hard Tip = Blue Body
Soft Tip = Black Body
The hard tip pen also has “WS – BH” written on it with small letters, while the soft tip pen has “WS – BS” written on the body.
The Fudenosuke Ink & Colours
The fudenosuke comes in a few different options and it’s really all about what colours and what tip you would want to use.
The hard tip comes in black as well as different colours (including neon), and the soft tip comes in black but also in a dual tipped pen of black and grey.
The different colours are: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink, grey, brown, neon light blue, neon yellow, neon orange, neon red, neon pink & neon green.
What Qualities Does The Ink Have?
The Tombow Fudenosuke pens have waterproof ink which we love. It’s also pigment based, fast drying and it does not seem to bleed.
They are also light resistant after drying which means that they are great archival pens.
How Juicy Is The Ink?
The only downside about the ink is that these fantastic qualities also means the Tombow Fudenosuke colours aren’t very saturated pens, nor are they as juicy as some other small tipped brush pens.
I don’t mind this, because I find that the lack of juiciness makes it perfect for beginners and great for very specific projects but some people would probably want an inkier, juicier pen.
How Long Do The Fudenosuke Pens Last?
A common question on these beautiful pens is about how long they last. For the most part they can last around 4000 characters. 4000 characters may not seem like much if you’re scribbling or taking university notes (like you would a ballpoint pen), but when using the Tombow Fudenosuke pens for calligraphy and decorative purposes they should last you a long time.
Are They Refillable?
Last little note about the ink: the Tombow Fudenosuke is a disposable pen, which means it is not refillable. A lot of people prefer using refillable pens because they can cost less to refill than to buy a whole new pen. Since these pens aren’t too expensive to begin with, it doesn’t seem to deter too many people away from them.
How To Use The Tombow Fudenosuke
Since the Tombow Fudenosuke is a brush pen with a firm nib, the size of the stroke is based on pressure. The more pressure you apply onto the paper with the pen, the thicker the stroke will be.
When there is little to no pressure applied to the pen, only the very tip of the nib will touch the paper resulting in a very thin stroke.
Also, for a pen like this it’s important to try and keep the angle between the paper and the pen at around 45°. This will make it easier for you to create thick and thin strokes by just adding pressure, rather than by moving your wrist. You can learn more about how to hold brush pens here.
How To Store The Fudenosuke Brush Pens
I reached out to Tombow to let me know the best way to store these pens. I have been storing them vertically but I might change that now.
They let me know that the Fudenosuke brush pens can be stored either way (horizontally or vertically) yet if you’re storing them vertically with the tips/lids up, then it’s best to rest them horizontally prior to use, for a good 30 minutes to let the ink redistribute through the barrel properly again.
So it might be better to store them horizontally if you’re using them regularly.
Uses For The Fudenosuke Brush Pens
The most common uses for the Tombow Fudenosuke pens are:
- Brush calligraphy
- Small scale hand lettering
- Bullet journalling
- Graphic art (less common)
- Archival Purposes
The brush tip helps artists create beautiful modern calligraphy pieces with these pens (learn how here) and are the perfect size for bullet journalling titles and decorations.
If you’re going to go for larger scale lettering (using shadows and decorative elements) they may not be the best option purely because of their size.
Similar/Alternative Brush Pens
If you can’t get your hands on the Tombow Fudenosuke or if you’re wanting to and try something similar, then here are a couple of pens you can try:
Pentel Brush Sign Pen
If you’re looking for a pen similar to the Fudenosuke Soft tip then the Pentel ones are a perfect choice, especially for a beginner calligrapher. They are available in a bigger range of colours than the Tombow pens, and they are also juicier and more saturated.
Marvy Uchida Le Pen Flex
Another great alternative are the Marvy Uchida Le Pen Flex. They have a super small and soft nib, a variety of colours and they are one of the juciest small brush pens I can find. The colours are vibrant and saturated and the extra small nib makes them great for beginners too.
You can find out more about the Marvy Uchida Pens here
Where To Buy The Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
Thankfully these pens aren’t really expensive if you’re just starting out in calligraphy and wanting to buy just the one black pen. If you’re wanting to build your collection it’s cheaper to buy a packet of the colours rather than individually.
If you’re in Australia then you can check out the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush pens at Amazon, Eckersleys, Craft Online or at Bunbougu (which has best price I’ve found, I love Bunbougu). Officeworks offers other brush pens such as the Pentel Brush Sign Pens, and the Tombow Dual Brush Pens, but not the Fudenosuke that I have found.
USA retailers to check out:
Direct from the Tombow USA website
Are They Worth It?
Overall I find the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens definitely worth the purchase. They are inexpensive, good quality, and a great all round small brush pen. The downsides to these pens are limited when you consider the advantages and good qualities. I have all of them and use them regularly.
Are You Wanting To Learn Calligraphy?
That’s it, I hope the information has helped you decide whether or not these pens would be a suitable addition to your collection.
If you’re looking to learn brush calligraphy, the Tombow Fudenosuke pens are a great size for the worksheets in the resource library. If you don’t have access to that yet sign up here and the password will be sent to your inbox (as well as the occasional freebie and calligraphy tip).
Finally, if you’re looking for an all in one solution to learning calligraphy check out the new Brush Calligraphy Fundamentals book.
Till next time, keep creating!