As I mentioned in one of my previous posts here, some time ago now, I was lucky enough to be sent some free samples of Kuretake’s Art and Graphic Twin pens by the lovely people from Kuretake UK.
I have been meaning to use them and to write a review here since I received them but for some reason it took me a long time to work out what to do with them.
Anyway, a few weeks ago Buffy from Kuretake was down in London and I had the chance to meet her. I felt I really must do something with the pens before I met her so I decided to try out a little illustration of the letter B for her. I was also lucky enough to get some more goodies to sample so you will probably see some more Kuretake products cropping up in my future posts :)
Review below the image.
The pens are a little like Tombow ABT Dual brush pens except that the Kuretake pens have a rubber ‘brush tip’ on one end and a fibre felt pen style tip on the other. The rubber tip is much more flexible and therefore performs more like a real brush than fibre ‘brush tips’ often do and also as it is rubber it cannot fray like fibre tips do (however I must point out that I have not used them long enough to see for myself if these tips do degrade in other ways).
The ink is water based and can be blended easily with itself or using a water brush. Kuretake also make a specific blending pen with similar rubber tips for their water based inks but I have not yet had the chance to try this out. On the right paper (eg. pressed watercolour paper) they can be used as watercolour pens and be blended or faded out using a water brush pen. If you use a lighter weight absorbent cartridge paper you will not be able to blend them using a water brush in the same way but they will blend with each other to an extent.
The reason I found it difficult to find a use for these pens was not down to them being difficult to use. This was simply because I already use and love Kuretake Clean Colour Real Brush pens. These use very similar ink to the Art & Graphic Twins however as the name suggests they have real bristle brush tips with very fine points. As I tend to work quite small with a lot of detail, the precise points of the real brush pens suits me better and I am yet to find anything that I can do with the Art & Graphic Twins that I can’t personally do better with the real brush pens. However I would imagine that if you are working larger the Art & Graphic Twins would be more suitable as they have larger, firmer tips.
I notice that the Art & Graphic Twins are available in 80 colours compared to the 48 colours in the clean colour real brush range. Both pen ranges offer very vivid colours (my scans do not do them proper justice). I have not yet tested myself how light fast these inks are and I haven’t been able to find out elsewhere so far but I would be very interested to know. This is not really an issue anyway if the work is in sketchbooks, scanned or if you are having prints made from the original.