These days, it takes a lot to convince me to try out a new tool. In this case, it took the recommendation of an artist who I admire immensely, plus the magic words "real waterproof India ink." I am a sucker for India ink (who isn't?) and the promise of being able to use it without the usual down sides (the risk of spilling, the blotchy finger stains, the difficult yet necessary clean-up of the tools) really caught my attention.
Review: Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (Black)
Waterproof, archival, lightfast, real India ink in a brush-tip marker
Faber-Castell makes their Pitt Artist Pen in a hundred different color combinations. I have never really wrapped my head around using markers for art (I think this is more common in the tradition of anime and manga) but if you want to, then these are - from what I understand - the gold standard.
Or like me, you may want to simply pick out the black one. It is, as promised, waterproof and filled with India ink. It has a foam brush tip similar to that of a regular marker, but a bit softer. I understand that the brush tip breaks down over time, so you may find yourself replacing your marker on a semi-regular basis.
The brush tip gives a result somewhat like inking with a pointy-tipped paintbrush, but a little less flexible. Like a paintbrush, it is easier to make fat lines than thin. It takes a real effort of concentration for me to make finer lines with the Pitt brush (which is why I like the Micron and Staedtler pens for finer lines). It made me curious to try out the other available nibs (Extra Superfine, Superfine, Medium, Extrasoft Brush, Round-Point Needle, and Wedge). Too bad I only ever see the standard Brush (indicated by a B on the pen's barrel) for sale individually.
You get a pretty good black out of these pens - definitely a black, and not a dark gray like you often see. I always wish ink was "more black," but realistically, these are pretty good. The ink has only the faintest whiff of the scent of India ink, which is either good or bad depending on how you feel about it. (I miss the smell.) And it is archival and lightfast, unlike (say) a Sharpie which will fade within a few years.
The Pitt Artist Pen's marks also seem to dry a lot more quickly than "real ink." This makes it ideal for use in sketchbooks, where you may not have the time or patience to leave your book sitting open for half an hour waiting for the ink to dry.
You get a fairly good expressiveness of line out of the brush pen. Not as infinitely expressive as a paintbrush, but not as difficult to use, either. Inking with a paintbrush is a difficult skill to master; the Pitt Artist Pen is much more forgiving. And it's a lot more portable and less messy!