Saturday, November 26, 2022

Mini Review: Pentel Fude-Hajime Brush Pen

Pentel Fude-Hajime Brush Pen

Not that I ever need yet another brush pen, but this one sounded a bit different: According to JetPens’ description, the Pentel Fude-Hajime brush pen “features a convenient nylon brush tip that is specially designed for beginners. The nylon tip is both stiffer and shorter than other brush tips, which is designed to be easy to control.” Kind of a brush pen with training wheels.

11/21/22 Pentel Hajime brush pen in Uglybook notebook

Although I don’t really put myself in the “beginner” category for brush pen use, I was curious about a true bristle (“hairy”) brush that could be stiffer and therefore easier to control. I love both bristle and formed-tip (“non-hairy”) brush pens and have used both types for years. The past couple of years, the Uni Pin brush tip has made me lazy by being so easy to use (as well as sturdy under my heavy hand), so it has been my go-to. It was a good time to give the Hajime a try and put a hairy brush pen back into my hand. In fact, it had been so long since I had sketched with a hairy bristle that one with training wheels might not be a bad idea.

As you can see from my sketches, the Hajime offers a good range of line variation. I like the dry-brush effect as only a hairy brush pen can do. But is it stiffer and easier to use than other hairy brush pens? I don’t know about that.

Left: Pentel Hajime; right: Pentel Pocket

I put the Hajime side by side with a Pentel Pocket brush pen, which has long been one of my favorites. The Hajime’s brush is definitely shorter than the Pocket’s, but I don’t feel much difference in the bristles. Perhaps the shorter length makes it slightly easier to control.

The disposable Hajime’s ink is water-soluble, while the Pocket can be refilled with any ink you want (and therefore puts less plastic in the landfill). If you’ve never used a hairy brush pen before, I guess the Hajime is as good a place to start as any. But if you already have and love the Pocket or another similar brush pen, skip the Hajime.

So it’s a perfectly good brush pen – if you consider only the brush. But the deal-breaker for me? The dang cap: It must be turned around before it can be posted! I’ve run into this with a few other Japanese brush pens too, and for the life of me, I cannot see why it would ever be a good idea to break the convention of caps that post the right way! The Japanese are usually so good with product design . . . why, why, why would they do this? Every time I’ve used a brush pen with a cap that posts backwards, at some point, I unconsciously cap it again by trying to jam the end of the cap onto the brush, splaying the bristles and making a mess.

On location when I want everything to be as easy and efficient as possible, having to think about which way the cap posts (and inevitably getting it wrong) makes this pen a stay-at-home.

(We all know how much I love colorful trees in the fall, but I also love bare trees. If you have a brush pen in your hand, they are begging to be drawn.)


  1. I find it annoying when the pen cap doesn't go on the right way. I definitely agree with you there.

  2. Speculation - These are brush pens, does the ink get all over the inside of the cap? Maybe flipping the cap is to prevent the end of the pen from getting all inky and ruining your pockets!

    1. The brush doesn't reach the end of the cap. That would be poor design, too, if it did, since it would eventually wreck the brush.


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