Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens

Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens by Winterbird

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Tombow recently launched their new Tombow Fudenosuke Colors and I was so happy to see a set of pens that could be a challenge to one of my longtime favorites: the Pentel Sign Brush Pen. The question is, how do they compare to each other?

Colors and Availability

First, we will look at the pens availability, color variety, and pricing.

Tombow Fudenosuke Color

  • Total available colors: 10
  • Pens sold separately: No
  • Pens available in different sets: No
  • (MSRP) Price: $25.99 (or $2.59 per pen) for the set of 10 pens
  • Available from: Most major art supply stores and online stores.

Pentel Sign Brush Pen

  • Total available colors: 12
  • Pens sold separately: Yes
  • Pens available in different sets: Yes, also available in two different sets of 6 pens.
  • (MSRP) Price: $35.88 (or $2.99 per pen) for the set of 12 pens
  • Available from: Most major art supply stores and online stores.

Pentel Sign Brush Pens come with 2 more colors compared to Tombow, but Tombow Fudenosuke Colors pens are 13% cheaper. Keep in mind that Pentel’s pens also can be purchased individually or in smaller sets.

First impression out of the box

Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens by Winterbird

Above: A selection of Tombow Fudenosuke Colors.

Tombow Fudenosuke Color

  • Pen-Size: Normal
  • Brush Tip Size: Small
  • Pen Design: Tombow’s Fudenosuke Color pens are very similar to the regular Fudenosuke Soft/Hard pens. They have a similar design but their caps and bottoms are colored. This makes it easy to tell what color you are looking for and easy to match when recapping after a session.
  • Pen Cap: Yes
  • Note: The black pen has some differences in the exterior pen design to the rest of the pens in the set.
Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens by Winterbird

Above: A selection of Pentel Sign Brush Pens.

Pentel Sign Brush Pen

  • Pen-Size: Normal
  • Brush Tip Size: Small
  • Pen Design: Pentel’s Sign Brush Pens are fully colored making it super easy to tell what color you are looking for, and easy to match when recapping after a session. The pens are round but with a slight hexagonal shape like a pencil so even without the cap on they likely won’t roll away from you on the table. 
  • Pen Cap: Yes
Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens by Winterbird

Above: Close up image of Tombow Fudenosuke Colors (to the left) and Pentel Sign Brush Pen (to the right) with very similar nibs.

Tombow’s and Pentel’s small brush pens are almost identical in brush tip size and shape, and they both have designs that are practical with caps and color indications.

First impression in use

Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens by Winterbird

Above: Samples using Tombow Fudenosuke Colors (to the left) and Pentel Sign Brush Pen (to the right) on smooth laserjet paper.

Tombow Fudenosuke Color

  • Brush Tip Firmness: Hard
    Tombow’s Fudenosuke Color has a firm brush tip. This is, in my experience, a little advantage when it comes to keeping the thin upstrokes evenly thin, however, the difference is not so big on these small brush pens.
  • Black VS Grey: The grey pen works well as a shading pen, but ideally the contrast between the grey and black pens should be greater. That being said, the darkness of the grey pen does allow the user to write with it on its own.

Pentel Sign Brush Pen

  • Brush Tip Firmness: Soft
    Pentel’s Sign Brush Pen is softer than the Tombow pen. Personally, I find the softer pens easier to start with if you are just getting started with brush pens.
  • Black VS Grey: Pentel’s grey pen is too dark to be used as a shading pen. There is simply not enough contrast, as you can see in the sample above. However, the grey pen is dark enough to be a good grey pen to write with because it offers a good contrast to the paper on its own.
Tombow Fudenosuke Colors VS Pentel Sign Brush Pens by Winterbird

Above: Close up image of Tombow Fudenosuke Colors (to the left) and Pentel Sign Brush Pen (to the right) while pressed towards the paper.

Both pens feel good when pressed against the paper and in your hand. They are very similar when it comes to the basics. The only big difference is that Tombow’s Fudenosuke Color has a firm bend whereas the Pentel Sign Brush Pen has a softer bend towards the paper.

Colors and Blending

TOMBOW Fudenosuke Colors in use

Above: Tombow Fudenosuke Colors sample of colors and blends (from top to bottom: color sample, “kissing technique” blending sample, overlay sample and blended with Ecoline Watercolors) on smooth laserjet paper.

Tombow Fudenosuke Color

  • Available Colors: Black, Brown, Grey, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink, Purple, Blue, and Green.
  • Color Strength: Tombow Fudenosuke Colors have a bit of contrast from their color indication of the pen itself compared to the color you get on the paper. You mostly get stronger colors if you write on coated papers.
  • Blending with “the kissing technique”: Not advisable and hardly possible.
  • Blending with other Liquid Watercolors: Works very well. Tombow Fudenosuke Colors absorbs other liquid watercolors like a sponge and the blend lasts a very long time. 
PENTEL Sign Brush Pens Colors in use

Above: Pentel Sign Brush Pen sample of colors and blends (from top to bottom: color sample, “kissing technique” blending sample, overlay sample and blended with Ecoline Watercolors) on smooth laserjet paper.

Pentel Sign Brush Pen

  • Available Colors:  Black, Grey, Brown, Ochre, Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink, Violet, Blue, Sky Blue, and Green.
  • Color Strength: Pentel Sign Brush Pens comes out strong and vivid on most papers. The colors on the pens are close to the color you get on the paper.
  • Blending with “the kissing technique”: Not advisable and hardly possible.
  • Blending with other Liquid Watercolors: Works very well. The Pentel Sign Brush Pens easily absorbs other liquid watercolors and creates evenly and nice color blends.

Above: Tombow Fudenosuke Colors (to the left) and Pentel Sign Brush Pen (to the right) color samples on Coated Paper.

Tombow Fudenosuke Color seems overall a bit duller in color compared to Pentel Sign Brush Pens, but Tombow’s black pen is generally stronger and darker. If you are looking for really strong colors I would suggest Pentel, but if you want your colors a little more toned down, you should try Tombow. They blend very similarly, however, when it comes to dipping the pens in watercolor the Tombow Fudenosuke Colors will soak in a lot more color and and at a faster pace than Pentel’s Sign Brush Pens.

Conclusion

Above: Pentel Sign Brush Pen (on top) Yellow blended with Royal Talens Ecoline Watercolor 318. Tombow Fudenosuke Colors (on bottom) Yellow blended with Royal Talens Ecoline Watercolor 318.

While at first glance the two pens seem very similar, there are some important differences:

Tombow Fudenosuke Colors come in a 10-pack and feature a more firm brush tip.

The Tombow Fudenosuke Colors grey pen is good to use for shading your lettering.

Tombow’s pens are less vivid in their colors but, if you want to blend with liquid watercolors, they have amazing absorbing abilities that create very long lasting blends.

Pentel Sign Brush Pens are available in up to 12 colors in a variety of sets and pens and feature a softer brush tip.

The Pentel Sign Brush Pen grey pen is too dark to do shading, but a good option to write with if you don’t want to write with pure black.

Pentel’s pens are really bright and vivid and they blend well with liquid watercolors.

I hope you found this comparison article of use. Have you tried either of the pens? Do you like softer or harder brush pens, and why? Tell me your thoughts or experience in the comments below! I would love hearing from you.

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