So I have been using these Faber Castell Pitt Artist Brush pens for a couple of years now for my artwork. In my country, they are readily available at the local Officeworks in sets of six or as individual markers. Being easily accessible to the art consumer and fairly budget-friendly, I’ve collected quite a few over the years.
As I completed my sea creatures series (which was primarily created with these pens, alcohol markers, and watercolour pencils), I thought maybe I could share my experience so far with these pens 😊
The colours are 100% perfect, magnificent, amazing.
Seriously, every colour that I have in these markers I love. They come in a very wide range of colours which means I can match colours to my piece.
They are fairly lightfast, and acid free
I was given a sweet reminder on how important lightfasteness/acid free was when I came across faded copic artworks that had only had been out in a naturally lit room for a few years (with no direct exposure to sunlight). Ouch. Well anyway, you don’t have to worry about that with these, as they don’t seem to fade so much over time, or at least I’ve not had that experience with them yet.
They are (in mixed cases) waterproof and alcohol marker proof
If I use them on my average art journal paper, or on watercolour paper I get absolutely no pickup or smudging whatsoever. I’ve used them with, alcohol markers of various brands, watercolours, gouache and watercolour pencils. You can see below how they withstood alcohol markers, a grey pitt pen AND watercolour which were all layered on this shark because I couldn’t decide what I was going to colour with 😅. When you compare it with the Tombow marker I tried to use on the bottom corner of the piece you can really see the difference.
Lines do not feather and this marker is less likely to bleed through paper
In my experience this marker has never provided frayed lines, and no matter how thin the paper, it has NEVER bled through the paper to the other side. I am rolling with a very thin and smooth tooth art journal at the moment and find that I can only just see the drawings on the other side, but never due to bleed from the marker and more due to the fine-ness paper.
The… pressure curves?… are good
The varying pressure I can apply to the lines is very good when the tips are in proper condition. You can get the tiniest of lines up to the chunky ones in a fairly smooth way. Generally speaking about brush markers, I find they allow me to loosen my grip more than a fine-tip pen. I catch myself gripping fine-liners in an upright position with so much pressure that if I died in that moment I’m pretty sure that my entire arm would snap off before they could pry it from my cold dead hands. I definitely feel like using a brush pen has improved my overall ergonomics.
The pen tips fray so quickly!
It obviously depends on the paper but I found if I used it on anything other than my smoothest paper (Canson Bleedproof Pad , which satisfyingly feels like receipt paper), my pen tips would fray after only a couple of sketches, even more annoying is that when combined with my smooth paper, the paper negated the water/alcohol proof nature of the markers. Once that pen tip frays even a little, I completely lost thin lines or had strange feathering on attempted thin lines. Feels about as elegant as drawing with textas 1.
They are not an alternative for alcohol markers like the covers of the sets seem to show.
When I first saw the sets, I remember thinking they were trying to be an alternative to alcohol markers because of some of the art. I’m not sure if they still use this art as branding as I’ve seen sets with alternate artwork recently.
Let me tell you now, they are not like alcohol markers. If you try to use them expecting the same results you might likely be disappointed. The ink in these pens doesn’t have that same consistent smooth colour spread as alcohol ink so you will get many, many little lines. The liney-ness is somewhere in between alcohol markers, and… textas (Okay, maybe these are just flexible textas for grown-ups?). I did realise later that the best purpose (and really the point) of them was for line-art or cross-hatching, and when the tips are kept in good nick, they really do great job of just that!
Sometimes that the paper starts pilling to a minor extent, it becomes noticeable with more layers.
Below I have added a comparison of the same Pen Pitt marker across three different papers.
The bottom line
If you do feel these pens are right for you. I recommend buying a small set or starting with one and trialing it for a while before you take a big leap and buy many. They are great for artists on a budget and if you use them on very smooth paper that will improve the longetivity of the marker. I really do love them but I am looking for an alternative that doesn’t fray so quickly. I’ve heard Pentel Pocket Brush pens are good but I’m not quite sure if they have colour sets? I guess I’ll find out when I’m next looking for brush pens.
And remember! Always test your markers on the same paper as your artwork before you dive in and use them – or you could end up with an unfortunate incident 😥
1. for you non-aussies, textas are felt tip markers