The Kuretake No. 13 Synthetic brush pen has actual white nylon bristles with a very fine tip, that takes on the ink colour that you use it with. It is more expensive than the more popular and widely reviewed Pentel Brush Pen, which I also own and is also a great brush pen in its own right. However, I find that for me the Kuretake just provides more control; its tip is shorter and slightly firmer, snappier, so that hair-thin lines become ever so slightly easier to control.
The best part about it is that it takes Platinum cartridges and can even be fitted with a Platinum converter for your choice of ink. I simply use Platinum’s Carbon Black cartridges in mine, and they don’t clog up the feed or ruin the pen as you might think they would, even if I’m not using the pen regularly. This is great because the ink is jet black and waterproof, but if you want to use regular black ink and use a water brush to bleed the lines, that could work very well too.
Brush pens aren’t for everyone, and definitely not for every mood. They are delicate instruments that work best in confident and spontaneous fingers; they are not as forgiving of restated lines as pencils, and a shaky or trembling hand is not going to yield good results (unless of course you’re going for a shaky line). However, they have the ability to go from hairline cracks to the width of a small brush and snap back again, making them useful for certain effects. The Kuretake No. 13 is my favourite of all the ‘true’ (bristle tip) brush pens I have ever tried, and this includes the Pentel and the more expensive, sable- tipped Kuretake No. 45. For me, the synthetic bristles provide just that little bit more flexibility and snappiness. On a side note, I’m also a fan of the Kuretake Zig Clean Colour brushes, which come in a huge range of colours. I only use a couple of grey tones, but I can imagine the sets being useful for illustrators and comic artists.
Here are some ink drawings done with the No. 13.