Noodler’s Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Ink Violet: Monday Matchup #98

Illustration of a butterfly using a Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Violet ink.

Margaret here with my latest Monday Matchup. I’m going to be honest, this was my most challenging Monday Matchup to date because of the pen and ink pairing. I used a Noodler’s Konrad Brush pen with one of the new colors from the De Atramentis Document line, Violet. Brush pens are something I have very little experience with, but I gave it a go!

So far, this year has brought about a lot of change for our family. Keeping with that theme, I decided to represent the idea of change in my Monday Matchup. I often think of butterflies because they go through so much change in their life cycle. It’s really amazing when you think of each stage that occurs before the adult butterfly emerges, and how each stage has a unique purpose and goal. It’s often easier going through change when you know the reason why – wouldn’t it be nice to always know that beforehand?! Either way, change is good, which is how I came to write “embrace the change” on my piece of art.

I started with the butterfly. I would not call myself an artist, so I googled a couple of drawings and came up with my own, simple version of a butterfly.  I then used the brush pen to write out “embrace the change” going very slowly to make sure my hand was steady. I finished and let it dry over the weekend, but since I was using the Maruman Mnemosyne Imagination notepad, I still had a lot of paper to fill, so I just kept working on it on Monday until I felt like it was done. I added some decorative designs on the corner, and finished by splattering ink across the page. Nothing too fancy here, my friends, anyone can give a brush pen and ink a try!

I loved working with this ink, as I’m a big fan of the color purple. It’s fairly light in color, but it could be layered on, which I loved. After it dried for a few days, I came back and added some dots or layers on top to darken the color. It is waterproof, so if you’re looking for a waterproof purple ink, I would definitely consider this one. Using this brush pen presented a few challenges for me. I have never used a brush pen before, and I came to find out that they really are different than a fountain pen. I found that the brush tip requires you to go much slower when using it in comparison to a fountain pen. I had a difficult time using the brush tip to write words, but I can see it being great to sketch with. I think this pen would require extra time to get used to it, so if you know that going in, you can have fun with it.

Illustration of a butterfly using a Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Violet ink.
Illustration of a butterfly using a Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Violet ink.
Illustration of a butterfly using a Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Violet ink.
Illustration of a butterfly using a Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Violet ink.
Illustration of a butterfly using a Noodler's Konrad Brush Pen with De Atramentis Document Violet ink.

You can find the Noodler’s Konrad brush pen at for $20. De Atramentis Document ink Violet is available in a 35ml bottle for $19.95 and in 2ml samples for $1.75.

Have you ever used a brush pen? What tips do you have for a newbie like me?

Write on,

2017-10-11T14:00:49+00:00 June 13th, 2016|Monday Matchup|14 Comments
  • David Thompson

    Artist or not, I really like this. I have not used a brush pen, but the notion of writing Kanji characters using a brush pen fascinates me. I might have to give it a try… but expect it will be a steep learning curve.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you David! I think it’s worth trying a brush pen, especially if you’re willing to take the time to practice. 🙂 Let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try.

  • Zoe

    This seems like an excellent pairing for artists and those who are looking for a more painterly look or just for another adventure. Well done! Thanks for mentioning that you had to go more slowly, my first instinct would have been to think brush=fast painting like strokes. How easy was the pen and ink to clean?

    • Hi Zoe! I found that going slowly worked for me, but experimenting with fast strokes would be interesting too. Good question about how it cleans – I actually just tried it! The piston-fill mechanism fills and cleans like other Noodler’s pens. It’s the brush tip that is difficult to clean completely (it could get stained). Personally, I would recommend sticking to the same color family when using a pen like this, and then picking up extra replacement brush tips when you want to change colors. Hope that helps!

  • JuaSaysHi

    I’ve seen brush pens before, but they were always felt-tip markers. I had no idea there was such a thing from Noodlers! What a wonderful pen! I saw a couple of nice tutorials on calligraphers’ blogs, but they seem to assume one knows a lot already. I especially liked this one:
    How much work is it to clean out & change inks? Would I have to replace the tip every time? If not, when is it time to change the tip? Can one go from a dark to a light ink?

    • Thanks for sending the tutorial along, JuaSaysHi. I’ll be sure to take a look! The brush tip can often be difficult to clean completely, so I would personally recommend sticking with inks similar in shade, like blues, before changing the tip. We do have replacement tips available on our site. The piston mechanism is easy to flush out though! 🙂

  • torrilin

    I haven’t tried the Noodler’s brush pen. I have a Pentel pocket brush pen, which seems to be popular with a lot of artists and it gets rave reviews for writing kanji. I do find the idea of going slower with a brush pen to be really weird. Even if I want fine lines, I find I get better results by working quickly. Just if I want a fine line, I need to use a light hand. The brush is very pressure sensitive and even if you think you’re being gentle, it will tell you to be lighter handed. (I can’t speak to the kanji writing, all my calligraphy work is Western style and with an edged pen… I’ve done a little work with basic Chinese style calligraphy strokes, but I’m nowhere near advanced enough to reliably get the 8 basic strokes to come out as I intend)

    Brush pens can also seem too “wet”, where they give off too much ink for dry brush effects. You can still get dry brush effects by using up excess ink on a separate sheet of paper or even wiping the brush off with a tissue.

    I also have one of the Pentel large water brushes filled with ink (Pilot Kiri-same for a mid warm grey). I can’t tell that brush tip apart in size from the Pentel pocket brush. Since the water brush holds about 10-15mL of liquid, it’s a LOT of ink and I’m nowhere near running it out. The same brushes used for watercolor are very easy to clean, tho the bristles can get stained. And I haven’t found fountain pen inks to be harder to clean up than watercolor. Most of the time the dyes used in inks are much easier to clean up than watercolor pigments.

    “Fude” is the Japanese word for brush, and I’ve seen felt tip pens and fountain pens both with “fude” nibs. You have to hunt a bit more to find brush pens with bristles like a regular brush, but depending on what you’re after other sorts of fude may work better.

    • Hi torrilin! Thanks for sharing your experiences with me! 🙂 I’m a total newbie here when it comes to using a brush pen, so when I try it again, I want to try using it with quick strokes to see what happens. When cleaning the pen, have you been able to clean your brush tips completely?

      • torrilin

        Part of why I bought the Pentel pocket brush pen is because it has a reputation for making ink cartridges last forever. Artists who are using it as a primary pen every day can take over a year to run out a cartridge. And I’m definitely not putting THAT kind of mileage on mine… If I do get to the point where I run out the cartridge, I’ll do a happy dance :D. I can attest that it idles well. My dog hid mine for months, and it writes just as well after I found it as it did when I got it. And a lot of pens don’t handle being idle for months at all! (The ink used in the pocket brush is fairly waterproof and it appears to be a carbon pigment ink, so it’s a very handy all in one solution for a lot of artists… Not that I’m using good enough paper for it to matter)

        Since I haven’t run either pen completely out of ink, I can’t say for sure how they’ll clean. But the waterbrushes don’t affect color in watercolor, even if the bristles look funny due to staining. And if one is interested in a brush pen for ink work, a water brush dipped in ink could be a good starting point. And due to the design they’re MUCH easier to clean than a regular watercolor brush. No more taking 10 minutes to get the brush free enough of paint particles that it doesn’t discolor the soap bubbles. It’s more like 30 seconds, and you can flush the soap out using water from the barrel so the bristles get cleaner.

        I’m pretty much a newbie too when it comes to brush pens. I’ve done some watercolor and calligraphy, so some stuff transfers over. But a lot of English language resources assume you’re learning about brush work for oil painting, and that really doesn’t transfer in the slightest. And with both watercolor and dip pen calligraphy you have to be pretty fanatical about keeping your tools clean. If you’re changing colors, it’s a good idea to clean the brush or pen nib until water runs clean, and then give the tool a good soap and water scrub in between sessions and let it dry completely. So when I got into fountain pens, I went with the same kinds of cleaning. So far, no problems.

  • Tom Johnson

    Love this Matchup, Margaret! I’ve found that change often works out for the best. Some of the projects in my career were not what I wanted because they were a big change for me. But, it turned out that they were among the best projects of my career (and expanded my experiences). I have the $5 felt tip Platinum brush pen I got before Goulet Pens, but never used it much, as it was like writing with a soft tip Sharpie. I did not even know then that it was not a real brush pen until I learned about them on Goulet Pens. So, no tips on using brush pens from me. This is a nice purple ink, but I would want a document ink to be darker.

    • Hi Tom! I agree with you – change often does expand our experiences. And you’re right about the Platinum brush pen, it feels more like a marker, which is quite different from this one.

  • Briggsae

    Thanks for the matchup Margaret! Not considering yourself an artist is fine, since most of us buying these products also are not “artists”. It’s great to see what people with all different skillsets/backgrounds can do with these pen/ink combos.
    I have only tried the Pentel Pocket brush pen, but I keep meaning to buy the Noodler’s Konrad. I used Noodler’s cayenne and it seemed to wash out just fine, but I haven’t used it too much yet. Writing letters is more challenging than drawing with it, but I can tell with more practice there is a lot of potential in what you can do with one.

    • Thanks Briggsae! Yes, the potential is there if you have the patience and time to practice. 🙂