When Franklin came to visit, he showed Stephanie and me this Japanese brush pen he'd bought. He let me squiggle with it a few times and then wrote down the name on a piece of scrap paper, which Stephanie carefully ripped out of the pad. I told her she could've taken the whole page if she'd wanted.
I didn't think much of it but Stephanie forgot the paper when she left and it sat around staring at me. The feel of the brush pen in my hand wouldn't go away, and the poetry in even those random squiggles I'd done crept up on me. I began to see why Stephanie wanted just that little piece.
I looked it up online and found that redoubtable online retailer Dick Blick sells a Kuretake brush pen. It's not very expensive but it is far away -- I hate ordering things. I'm an instant gratification kind of guy. I'm so into instant gratification that I'll spend a month trying to buy something in person rather than order it and get it in three days.
Well, unless I'm willing to go into Manhattan -- and I'm usually not -- there are really only two art stores in my vicinity. My favorite these days is Jerry's Artist Outlet in beautiful West Orange, New Jersey. Al Shefts and his wife (whose name escapes me just now -- Bonnie?) run the store like an old-fashioned New York art supply store, of which there aren't many left. They stock a bunch of odd things you won't find on the main Jerry's Artarama site.
I was there just buying pads and paper for the weekend's drawing session when Al, who's been even friendlier towards me since Dorian introduced us, asked if I needed anything. I don't usually ask for sales help because usually, if I can't find it myself, it can't be found. And also I hate bothering people. But just for the heck of it this time I asked Al if he had any brush pens.
"You mean like this one?" he asked, reaching right next to him to pull the box off the shelf.
That one turned out to be too expensive by twice my budget, but when I suggested the Kuretake, he took me right to it in the back next to the fountain pens. I would never have found it since the packaging is entirely in Japanese and gives no clue as to its contents.
The upshot of all this is that I now have my very own Kuretake Brush Pen.
Oh my Lord it is the most fantastic thing ever. Picking it up I knew how Thor must've felt the first time he hefted Mjolnir. With this brush pen I am invincible!
The great thing about it is now I can have brush and ink to go. This is really incredible, because I love drawing with a brush, but it's usually not very portable. Now it is!
I recommend one to everybody.
This isn't a Moleskine notebook, which I was very disappointed in. No, this is a Global Arts Handbook, which is just what a Moleskine should be but isn't.
I realized as I was using it that the brush pen isn't limited in length of stroke the way a dipped brush is -- you can just go on forever!
Stephanie tried mine out and declared, "Okay, this is like crack."
Portraits of my son, William, playing his PSP. Funny how he never moves unless I'm drawing him.
William got hold of my sketchpad and brush pen when I wasn't looking -- I was roped into helping the coach with my daughter's softball game. He wrote the words at the top. When I found them I added the illustration of William and his friend at the park waiting for us to be done the game.
I can even sketch my hair stylist while I'm waiting for her to finish the client before me.