December 1, 2006

"Those Japanese Nibs"

Liz Baillie & Matt Bernier both mentioned these nibs in their surveys, and I've been eyeing Liz's nibs everytime we get together & are drawing, because they're really eye catching (read: shiny) and nifty looking. So I did a little investigating. I stopped by New York Central, (which, to my knowledge, is the only place to get them in person) and asked for the Japanese pen nibs. You have to ask, because the display is kept in a side room. Ask for Joe Flood, he makes comics and knows what you need. The sign on the display says, "Manga Comic Pro," and they'll be in the package in the picture above. They're about $5 a package for three nibs, mostly. The T-99 mapping pen was two to a pack for the same price, I recommend getting the little holder with it, because unlike the cheap Speedball Hunt pen holder, there's a little metal deal that sticks out into the nib & holds the pen from the inside, instead of surrounding it on the outside. It's the blueish thing in the picture here:

From left to right, the nibs are the T-99, the T-3, and the NG-3. The pens are divided into two types, Nikko & Tachikawa, and I have no idea for sure what the difference is. If anyone does, please comment & correct me, I'm dying to know. The best I can tell is that they're brand differences, but the packaging is absolutely identical except for the logo:

So I'm absolutely confused. They look pretty much like the exact same thing, and are packaged almost exactly alike down to the same fonts, but they're completely different companies? Google turned up Wet Paint, which sells G pens by Nikko, Tachikawa & Zebra, and you can get Deleter G pens (from the source) which Liz tells me are pretty much the same thing.

Anyhow, I got home, broke out my old Hunt nibs & some W&N creepy spider guy india ink, and tested how well they each worked for lettering, crosshatching, and sketching. Each one was done freehand, not tracing, and this is how each one turned out.

All I really have to say is that if the bunny I drew with the Hunt 102 were real, it would be the bunny kids point to and ask, "Mommy, what's wrong with that bunny?" I officially hate the 102 nib. I don't even think the 102 ever got much use back when I still used my nibs, so I'd hope that maybe I got one of the busted ones or something. About 4 years have passed while the box was sealed & left alone in a drawer, so age could be a factor, but the one I used the most often was the 513, (which I believe Alec Longstreth mentioned in his post) so that one ought to have had the most wear. I'm not that great with nibs, I've been using brushes for years now, so if anyone with more practice wants to have a go, I'd be glad to see what other people can do. Anyhow, I hope this was remotely interesting/educational for someone.


Anonymous said...

Nice post!

The bleeding from the pens could be due to the paper. I have used the Deleter nibs without any problems on hot press bristol board. The nibs are well made compared to the more established brands. However, the nibs I found the most useful are the ones made before 1960s, as the metals used in the pens are of higher quality. It's a shame they don't make them like they used to.

I really like the T-99 nibs. They crosshatch really well without getting caught into paper and splattering.

Eric Dyck said...

didn't know about the paper...thanks liz!

i've been using Gillot 303s upon Tom Richmond's recommendation...great control and very smooth catching like the Hunts.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for the samples.

Anyone know anywhere to get this stuff online?

Anonymous said...

yes! love those japanese nibs! they're so incredible awesome for hatching and line work.

Anonymous said...


I wanted to let you know that we have a complete shipment of our Japanese Nibs available now here in the states. Please visit us soon.

AuroraMe said...

I have Hunt nibs maybe old maybe new they are hunt manuscript #65, Hunt Globe bowl pointed EF, Hunt Congress 35, Hunt all round school #69, Hunt 67, Hunt Falcon 97. some may be bronze, steeel or silver alloy.Thesae would be great for comic artists or manga