I love drawing with a pen that responds to pressure. Push hard — fat and squidgy. Pull back and get a razor-fine line. Usually I had to rely on a dip pen to get that sort of play, until I found the category of Japanese manga pens.

Originally designed for writing kanji (Chinese characters), these pens have nibs that are like a lettering brush with one thick hair. Their special elastomer pen tips are more resilient than a Pentel brush pen and more flexible than a technical pen like the Sakura Pigma.

Amazon and Jetpens carry lots of brands of manga pen, but my favorite is the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen, which comes in a soft and hard (kinda) weight. It’s pronounced “foo-den-OH-ski.” People just call them the “Fude” for short.

They’re waterproof on most paper, made of recycled polypropylene plastic, and just a couple of bucks apiece. I buy them by the handful so if they start to run our of ink or get too soft, I can switch to a fresh one without guilt.

Danny Gregory, Co-Founder of Sketchbook Skool

Filed under categories: Art Supplies