The Kurtake Fude Brush Pen may be one of the best known and loved brush pens by artists. The versatile nylon brush tip and fantastic ink quality makes this a near perfect brush pen.
Kuratake is a Japanese stationary company founded in 1902, producing Sumi. Sumi is a Japanese watercolor brush generally made with a bamboo handle and a broad soft haired brush, which when wet forms a fine tip. Today 117 years later, Kuratake has re-created a traditional art tool to be lighter, longer lasting and more versatile than its ancestors.
Mirroring the Sumi, the Fude is a long, slim, plastic body brush pen with nylon bristles and a fountain pen like mechanism that uses ink cartridges, eliminating the need for dipping ink. The body of the pen is long enough to even store a second cartridge.
Traditional Sumi ink is a type of India ink that comes in a stick form, which is mixed with water and rubbed on a hard surface to activate. The defining feature of this type of ink is captured very well by the ink Kuratake makes for the Fude. It is quick dry and water proof therefore works well on a variety of surfaces. The pigmentation of India inks are infamous, and you get a true black with the Kuratake ink.
The design of the product itself is ordinary. Two dull brown tapered plastic barrels makes the cap and the body of the pen, and the brush mechanism is held in a black plastic body. Although there is nothing specifically ergonomic about the grip or the shape of the pen, I personally prefer its shape since the long back with the spare cartridge makes for a good counter weight – although the shaking of the cartridge may be a nuisance to some.
- The nylon brush tip makes great with both thick and thin lines, its accuracy depend on the user.
- The brush snaps back into shape even after prolonged use.
- The pen was tested on three types of paper, a high quality art paper, a glossy print paper and ordinary printer paper – it fared best on the glossy paper, which is usually a difficult paper to work with.
- The black ink is a deep black rather than a very dark grey tone.
- The body of the pen may not be most comfortable thing for long inking sessions.
- Kuratake isn’t a brand easily available in India, therefore finding replacement cartridges can be tricky.
- Black ink is what you receive by default with the set, if you’d want others, they would have to purchased separately or you could move on entirely from the Kuratake Fude and on to Zig (a subsidiary brand of Kuratake) brush pens, simply for its color variety.
- The brush needs a good amount of practice to work with unlike the plastic nib of a Tombow.
4 out of 5 stars
Would we recommend it?
Yes, mainly for all types of inking work.
Printable: Download the 52 degree grid paper we used to practice brush lettering