When you’re a stationery-lover on a budget, MUJI is irresistible.
Described colloquially as “kind of like a Japanese dollar store,” and billing themselves as “No Name Quality Goods,” they are known for providing simple day-to-day items with a classic, minimalist style. They’re hard to miss on the Yonge side of the Atrium on Bay, with a new Toronto location set to open at Yorkdale mall.
My favourite thing about MUJI is the pens — particularly the 0.5mm black gel ink pens, which always sell out whenever I need one. When I wandered into the Bay store this week in search of one, little did I know I would stumble upon these!
The MUJI brush marker set comes in a pack of 12, in a clear plastic casing. It retails for $14CAD, which comes to $1.16 per marker (not sold individually.)
The colours included in the pack are: red, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, fuschia, brown, and black.
The markers are double-sided, each offering a small, rounded tip on one side, and a brush tip on the other side, as detailed above. The lids are clear, so you know which side of the marker you’re opening, which is a useful touch!
As far as I can tell, the side of the marker with the rounded tip is a simple feature. It’s not broad enough to colour large areas, and not fine enough to outline neatly.
What I do find useful about the rounded tip, however, is that it can be used to draw guides and markers before you use the brush side of the marker. You can also use the regular tip to dot your I’s, cross your T’s, and draw more precise punctuation.
The brush tip, on the other hand, is awesome for this price point. The brush is quite soft, offering more “give” than a brush pen from Sakura Pigma ($3.99CAD) or a dual-tip brush pen from Tombow ($4.99CAD).
This has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it’s easy to adjust to the “flow” of the MUJI brush marker, making it a really nice option for beginners who don’t want to spend a lot of money right off the bat. On the other hand, since the brush is more pliable, it will feather sooner, and its lifespan will not be as lengthy as a pricier brand.
In the example above, the MUJI brush marker is first, followed by Sakura and Tombow.
The MUJI marker’s pigmentation is not as intense as the black of the Sakura or the Tombow. The MUJI brush is also more pliable than that of the two comparables, and you can see the difference in the neatness of the thinner lines. The Tombow brush is the stiffest of the three, and the Sakura brush falls in between.
Whether these differences matter to you is really up to personal preference. I have a red Tombow pen lying around from almost a decade ago, and although the pigmentation isn’t as vivid as it used to be, it still works. Realistically, these MUJI brush pens are probably not going to work the same in ten years.
A 10-pack of Tombow dual brush pens will run you around $30CAD. An 8-pack of Sakura Pigma brush pens retails for around the same. Comparatively, the MUJI brush marker 12-pack at $14CAD gives you the opportunity to experiment with brush tips, and practice your strokes at a much cheaper price point.
As long as your expectation of their lifespan and colour payoff is reasonable, for this price these MUJI brush markers will not disappoint. They are great for enthusiasts and learners, easy to store, and really fun to use.
Are you thinking of trying these out? What’s your favourite pen for brush calligraphy? Let me know in a comment below!