February 27, 2011

Manga Pens + Comic Art Supplies // Review

Hey friends,

I thought I'd do some product reviews of Japanese art/manga supplies.  I don't exclusively use Japanese brands, but man, they are pretty sweet.  I did a review of Japanese brushes made by Pentel, and you can see that here.  This time around, it's all about pens.



I literally freaked with excitement at Loft this fall, wanted to roll around in the manga supply section and throw pens in the air like someone who just won the lottery, rolling around on dollar bills.  Seriously, get on a plane and go to Japan and buy lots and lots of art supplies.

Since the Japanese have a bigger market for comics than in the US (in 2007, Japan spent 406 BILLION Y/$3.6 BILLION USD on manga - compared to the US comic market, pulling in about $500million) and therefore have a bigger market for comic art supplies.  You can go into any stationary store, no matter how far into the country-side, and find great, cheap stuff for drawing and inking.  Of course you would! The entire writing system is calligraphic!



Inking comics with a pen is usually a no-no.  The line has no character, it flattens out your beautiful pencil work, and generally looks crappy.  But it really depends on the look you're going for!  And there are plenty of great pens that have great line quality.

....................PENS I USE FOR INKING COMICS......................


 Tachikawa School G Pen   fountain pen | black + sepia |  $8 each | refills $5 for 2  ..... GRADE: F


PROS // This WAS easily my favorite fountain pen ever. The ink quality is fantastic, dries relatively quickly [in case you are prone to accidental hand-smudging like me], and the tip is super reinforced,[in case you are prone to accidentally dropping stuff, like me.]

CONS // It suddenly stopped working!! And I simply couldn't revive it no matter what kind of water or ink solution I used to get the ink flow back.  Sadly both of these pens are useless and I have thrown them out.
...................................................................................................................


Pentel Super Fine Point  felt-tip pen | black | about $3 ea. ............................................ GRADE: B+

PROS // A solid stand-by for any straight-line stuff you need to do.  Doesn't fade much after erasing, and is pretty good to just sketch with.  Above is an environment study I did for a ship interior of Pirates of Mars, and used this pen for the whole thing.

CONS // Ink will definitely bleed a lot if you hold the pen in one spot too long, and definitely has no line character.  Good, but kind of meh. Not really super fine point.
........................................................................................


Tachikawa pen holder with grip + Nikko nibs | holder: $10 nibs: $4 for 3 ............. GRADE: A+
[nibs shown: School pen, Saji Chrome + Tame Chrome]

PROS // Great, solid pen.  Wood handle with soft grip is extremely comfortable, and the top will fit any size nib you get.  Nibs are super smooth and excellently crafted.  I dropped on - on the tip! - and it barely bent. Still works great!  Nice line character, too [above]

CONS // Hard to find in the US and it's a tad expensive for just a holder + grip, but highly recommended and worth it. (Don't skimp on the non-grip just to save $3!)

.................................INK................................
I highly recommend these for quill pens and brush painting.


Deleter | ink graded 1 - 5 for depth of blackness | about $4 a bottle .................................. GRADE: A
PROS // beautiful quality, I use #5 the most often for it's velvety feel. #4 is the most waterproof
CONS // smells awful, like tilled soil and needs to be ordered online

Yasutomo sumi ink | about $4 ............................................................................................ GRADE: A-

PROS //available at most art suppliers, more ink per bottle than Deleter
CONS // not as black as Deleter - leave the cap off for a night and let some excess water evaporate

.................................OTHER STUFF..................................


Deleter White | ink for corrections | about $6 .......................................................... GRADE: F
PROS // ....
CONS // Personally, I HATE THIS STUFF. It takes forever to dry, makes your ink mix and turn gray, and takes about 45 coats to get pure white.  Skip the expense and just use cheap acrylic paint.



My favorite thing is to use a combination of brush and quill pen, like in the above panel.  My top supplies being a Pentel Pocket Brush pen, Tachikawa School-G, Deleter #5 and a Lowe Cornell #4 comfort brush for solid blacks.

 Thanks for reading!

22 comments:

  1. I love collecting pens! Oh how I wish there was a Loft near me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never thought about that but they must have some seriously great stuff given their huge manga industry :OOOOO

    LOL those Deleter bottles I'd buy just for packaging, hahaaa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Very nice collection Pens. Amazing your idea for pens. i like that and fantastic this post..

    ReplyDelete
  4. You got mad bank there, I am so jealous, everything looks like candy I just want to jump in it (without stabbing myself with one of those nibs) i wish I could handle inking better I think it will take my comiking to a new level, but right now I'm a fiber castell user...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks guys!

    Actually Bianca, it's not expensive really! It's just the refills that kill you I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Droooolio fun toys! And Allie oop is caYUTIE pie!

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh gosh.. I get that tingly sensation whenever I walk into a stationery store.. I love my sturdy stationery.

    This post makes me tingly hahahha

    NOT IN THE PERVERTED SENSE OF COURSE.

    but excited :D

    Makes me want to go buy some right now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Algoh23.9.11

    Wow! This is indeed a great share!
    As an aspiring comic artist,It is interesting to see a professional comic artist like yourself share what they use to create their works.

    Keep it up Veronica!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really liked this good and best wallpapers. Thanks for sharing these wallpapers. You can also find more nice wallpapers on our websites.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good and interesting all these wallpapers. Thanks for sharing these wallpapers. You can find also more nice wallpapers on our websites.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so glad to find someone who also froliced around Loft in Shibuya, Tokyo with mad glee! Japan is, indeed, the Mecca of art and office supplies. Tokyu Hands just down the same street also has an amazing selection of supplies on the 5th floor (larger than Loft and includes oils and other techniques). Kudos on your blog, glad I found it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm so glad to find someone else who froliced through Loft in Shibuya, Tokyo with mad glee! Japan is, indeed, the Mecca of art and office supplies. If anyone gets there and is an artist, also browse the 5th floor of Tokyu Hands, down the same street Loft sits on in Shibuya. They have EVEN MORE and for other styles of art too. Budget yourself, if you can... Thanks for this post, glad I found your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rock on!! I know, I spent so much money + time at both Tokyu Hands + Loft, but it was supremely worth it - would've ended up missing out on good stuff or buying it at the import price here in the US!

      Delete
  13. Great post!! I lived in Asia for years and LOVED the availability of inking supplies...

    ReplyDelete
  14. hi! where this store Loft?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Japan (I'm not sure if exclusively) I went to two, one in Shibuya and the other in Nagoya, but if you go on their website you can find more locations:

      http://www.loft.co.jp/shoplist

      Delete
  15. i wanna buy these pens but dont knoe where to get it from i live in dubai plss help even if i can order it from somewhere else its okay pls give suggestions !!!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. plss tell me the place to get this
    or could i order it online !!! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, You can order these from Jetpens.com I believe, hopefully they ship to India :)

      http://www.jetpens.com/Comic-Manga-Pens/ct/845

      Delete
  17. Very well done Review of your drawing tools - thanks.
    Me I can't get my Tachikawa Manga G Schools to work properly. I'm now fighting with the 3rd one within three years and that sob won't give me a clear line after up to two hours of scribbling and trying all the tipps I found in the internet.
    I do want so very much a fine lines drawing pen with real ink that is rechargeable.
    You have any helpful thinking, Veronica?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are absolutely right! I MUST edit this review of Tachikawa pens! I find they have completely broken down for me as well.

      Sometimes I try to rub the tip with water to get it going again, but that kills the ink quality - YES they ARE NOT good long term :(

      My favorite fine line refillable pen is COCORICO by ZIG :)

      Delete