A plus of joining the NYC Urban Sketchers group is that there is a lot of sharing information, including places to sketch, materials to use, etc. In the last couple of weeks I've picked up some good materials tips incuding brush pens and markers. I just got myself three Faber Castell Big Brush markers in black and two shades of gray; a friend at the group let me try hers out and I was sold. It's really more marker than brush, the tip isn't very flexible, but it does work well as a marker. Still fits a need I have in my kit, even if I think the marketing is a little misleading. I also got an actual brush pen (the brush has bristles, and ink flows out, rather than having a felt/marker tip) another urban sketcher recommended. I used mostly the markers in my portrait post today, but this one is more about the brush pen.
I found online it's called an Akashiya New Fude pen, but I wouldn't know that from buying it. I bought it in the Japanese book store Kinokuniya in Bryant Park and all of the packaging is in Japanese! My friend who recommended it (and also recommended the store) also didn't know what it was called, so I recognized it by the packaging. The store in itself was amazing, I didn't know it existed! Only really visited the stationery section, but that alone was fantastic. I'd love to go back at a time when there's more than 20 minutes to closing!
I tried out the pen on lunch today, sketching a few things in the Signature cafe (I did add touches to the piano in the gray markers). Really loving it so far! Might be a good replacement for my usual pencil for sketches when I don't have time/space for watercolors. I'm not sure I could use it on the subway, because certain stretches of my commute are pretty shaky on the train, and I have a feeling the margin of error for the brush pen is pretty wide, but I might give it a shot anyhow. I do like that it helps me achieve a looser line than I usually have.
Also on my wishlist: an inexpensive fountain pen. I've been reading reviews of ones to consider. I like the variety you get in the line, with a little more control than what I can get with the brush pen. For now I'm happy with what I have, but maybe after I adjust to what's just been added to my kit I'll expand again!