Thursday, October 7, 2010

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens

I had been wanting to buy some Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens for a while, but had been consistently put off by the price.  Finally, last month I broke down and bought a set of four at Michaels with one of their 40%-off coupons.  Although I have been using them off and on for the last few weeks, I can tell that I will need to spend much more time with these pens.  So don't take this review as the final word.

The set I bought comes in a reusable plastic case and contains four black pens, each with a different tip size: super-fine, fine, medium, and brush.

My favourite so far is the super-fine; I just love the way this pen feels on the paper.  As soon as I begin using it, I feel like covering the whole page with lines and doodles.  However, there doesn't really seem to be enough difference between the super-fine and the fine, and between the fine and the medium.  I'm not sure about the brush.  The only brush pen I ever used before was the Sakura Pigma Brush, whose tip I managed to wreck after only a few days of use, so it was a disappointment.  The tip of the Pitt Artist Pen brush feels harder than that of the Sakura Pigma, so I am hopeful that it will turn out better, but I'm still uncertain how actually to use a brush pen.

The black India ink of these pens is excellent.  It ranks among the blackest of blacks and, according to the package, is waterproof, smudge-proof, and extremely lightfast.  I haven't used these pens with watercolours yet, but I'm sure that I will be doing so in the future.  And the ink certainly does seem to dry very quickly.  Keep in mind that although these are "art" pens, there is no reason why you couldn't use them as ordinary writing pens as well, and I think that the fine or super-fine would be especially nice for that.

Finally, because these are intended as art pens, I wasn't expecting much in the way of a snazzy design or comfortable grip.  However, they do have a rather serious and professional look, and are not uncomfortable to use.  They are much more comfortable than the Sakura Pigma Micron, which has a sharp edge that digs into my finger and that I find almost impossible to use for even a short time.

These pens are fun to draw with, so much so that I wish I was better at drawing so that I had something nicer to show you than this page of doodles:

I even had to cover up a particularly bad drawing on the left with three of the pens!  Hopefully, I will improve with practice and maybe now that I have these pens I will feel like practicing my drawing more often.

Before I leave, I would also like to urge you to head over to Notebook Stories to read a very detailed review of Arwey notebooks and to have a chance to win one of the same notebooks.  Good luck!

Related reviews: David Wasting Paper, Paint Daubs, Artista Blog.


  1. I have gone through two sets of these: I love pen-and-ink work, and doodling is irresistible. The brush pen is good for roughing out/practicing certain calligraphy hands.

    As I recall, these work well with watercolors, showing up nice and black against a (dry) wash background. But it's been a while since I have combined the two.

  2. These are great pens, I have this same set plus the colors in the brush pen. If you like these you'll probably like the Sakura Micron's too.

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  4. These pens are good with watercolour and lightfast. I have some doodles hanging on my wall that haven't faded in nine years.

    They do smudge a little with alcohol based markers.

    The brush pen is a little hard for my taste but it does come in lots of colours and in a big brush with four times the ink.

    It's not advertised but the brush tip is actually reversible so if you mash it you can get a new tip just by pulling it out and turning it around. The big brushes aren't reversible and I've had one or two of the coloured brushes that aren't so maybe it's pot luck but worth a try.

    There is a new extra fine nib but it's not easy to find. I haven't tried it yet.

    The four pen set also comes in sepia (very dark) and sanguine (more terracotta).

  5. That's interesting about the reversible brush tip - I'd probably be too scared about wrecking it to try it on mine though. I'll have to try the other colours someday, though - the sanguine sounds nice.

    Is the extra fine nib even finer than the super fine?

  6. On my second lot of PITT pens now, the fine isn't quite fine enough for me and I didn't know about the extra fine till reading these comments, will keep my eye out. I must admit that I bought the first lot, because my last name is Pitt, but they are a really nice pen for all types of doodling.

    My favourite pens so far are the sakura pigma micron 005 for extra super fine :)

    Both are excellent when using watercolours over them.

  7. Claire, I agree - the fine was not nearly fine enough (although the super-fine wasn't bad). I haven't used the 005 version of the Sakura Pigma Micron (as I mentioned in the post, I find Microns really uncomfortable to use), but if I really want a finer pen, I might try them out.

  8. I'm a huge fan of stationery in general, including pens.
    One day, some time ago, I stumbled upon these Pitt pens on a local store, and thought it would be a good acquisition. Since then, I always carry my super-fine with me wherever I go - it writes in nearly every surface, the black really is that black (and pretty), and I find the pen to be extremely comfortable.
    Never tried the other 'versions', but to be honest? I don't even feel the need to do so.
    Highly recommended item!

  9. Thanks for the comment, Isabel. I think I agree with you - even though I bought this set of 4, I think that the super-fine is the only one that I would want to buy again (well, possibly the brush as well). I'm just a fine-tipped pen kind of person.


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