A few months ago I wrote a review of the Zebra Mildliners. I love these highlighters and use them all the time in my bullet journal. But something I learned while researching that post was that Zebra makes a brush pen version of the same highlighter. A little while ago I randomly came across the Zebra Mildliner Brush Pen set in a shop and had to try them out.
I was slightly surprised to come across the Zebra Mildliner Brush Pens. From research I assumed that they were not available in the UK. This has changed now but at the time I was having problems finding the brush pens on Amazon.
I love the Mildliners and I also love using brush pens in my bullet journal. It can be a fun way to add some decoration to your bullet journal spreads. When I came across the Mildliner Brush Pens in Paperchase I knew I had to buy them. So here is my review on the Zebra Mildliner Brush Pens.
Zebra Mildliner Brush Pen Review
I should warn everyone right now that this won’t be an unbiased review of the Zebra Mildliner Brush Pen. I already know that I love the Mildliner range. These pens have a nice design with a white body and some minimal markings on the side of the pen.
The entire Mildliner range are dual tipped highlighters. The brush pens have a large brush nib and a fine point nib. This fine point nib is slightly finer than what you find on the regular Mildliners. The brush pens possibly have a better design because of the illustrations on the body of the pen showing which end is the brush nib and which end is the fine nib.
But you don’t need to worry too much because its pretty obvious which end is the brush nib. You also don’t have to worry about confusing the regular Mildliner with the brush pen version. The Mildliner Brush Pen has a brush shaped cut out on the pen clip. It also has a clear cap so you can see the brush nib through the cap.
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If you are buying the Mildliners online I would recommend you take extra time to check that you’re buying the version you want. Though its easy to spot the differences in person. I’ve had times where the listing said it was a brush pen, but the image showed the regular Mildliner.
The Mildliners are also very comfortable to hold. The barrel is slightly thicker than the Muji gel pen which makes it easy to grip. Though you probably won’t write huge amounts using the Mildliner, so you don’t need to worry about hand strain from using the same pen for long amounts of time.
The only downside with the Mildliner Brush Pens is that they can’t be refilled. When the ink runs out you have to buy an entirely new pen. However I’ve found that the ink lasts a good long time in the Mildliners. I bought my first Mildliners over three years ago and they haven’t run out of ink yet. The ink also hasn’t dried out which is much better compared to the Tombow pens.
The main selling point of these Mildliners is the brush nib. I’m going to be honest here, I don’t like lettering with brush nibs. I find it really hard to do calligraphy with brush nibs. It has taken me a long time to figure out the right way to hold the pen and get the right pressure on the paper.
Saying all that. I have found it much easier to create pieces of lettering using the Mildliner brush pens compared to the Tombow markers. The brush nibs on the Tombows are very similar to the Mildliners so this may have come from experience rather than the nib being better.
In all respects the brush nib is almost the same as what you will find with the Tombow markers. Both have a very firm nib which makes it easier if you are just getting started with lettering. The nib is very thick which gives a good contrast between the thick and thin strokes.
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The brush nib on the Zebra Mildliner seems to be made of fibre. This does give it a very sharp point but it will be interesting to see how the tip degrades over time from use. One of the things I noticed with the Tombow markers is that the sharp point on the brush nib would wear away as it was being used.
You are going to have this problem with any fiber tipped marker. The fine point and chisel nibs will all wear away over time. But if you are using a brush marker for lettering you need a sharp point on the brush nib. This makes your lettering much neater.
Like I said its not obvious now how this nib wears over time. Maybe after a few months I will add a little update on how the brush nib has changed with use. It is important to note that the brush nib will wear down less if you use a smooth paper.
One of the main reasons I originally bought the Mildliners was because of the colour choices. The Mildliners are technically a range of highlighters. But for the most part they don’t come in traditional highlighter colours. Zebra have released a set of regular Mildliners in fluro colours. But for the most part the Mildliners all have more muted or pastel shades.
I love the colours that the Mildliner brush pens come in. But I won’t lie when I say this is because I hate using fluorescent highlighters. Yes I still have some unresolved trauma from my high school days.
The Zebra Mildliner Brush Pens come in 15 different colours. These colours come in three different sets. Fluorescent colours, warm colours and the set I bought is called cool & refined colours. The Mildliners can be bought in sets of 5 but it may also be possible to buy a set with all 15 colours.
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The exact number of colours in the Mildliner range seems to vary as Zebra adds new colours. I believe the regular Mildliners have more colours in its range. But the Mildliner brush pens come in the same colours as the regular Mildliners.
This means that the ink will be the same too. The ink in the Mildliners feels more like a highlighter compared to a regular marker pen. It should be noted that the colour isn’t as vibrant compared to something like the Tombow. It will be down to preferences if you like this.
I’ve found the Mildliner ink works well on pretty much any kind of paper. The ink will feather slightly on regular printer paper. But it works well in Leuchtturm1917 notebooks and the MD Paper notebooks. The actual ink seems to come out better if you use a smooth paper. So it looks slightly better on MD paper compared to Leuchtturm. But this is a tiny detail.
Mildliner Brush Pen Price
The Mildliner brush pens can vary a lot in price depending on where you buy them. I probably paid a bit more than what they are worth. I think this is because I found them in an actual Paperchase shop. The Mildliners are something you don’t normally find on the UK high street and this probably explains the increase in price.
I paid £10 for a set of 5 brush pens. This is quite a bit more expensive compared to Amazon where they can be found for £6/$8. It is important to remember that its not easy to find Mildliners in the UK. Most of the time these pens are being imported from Japan so you may need to pay extra for that.
Currently I’ve only found the Mildliner brush pens in the 5 set packs. Though I know they can be bought in 15 set packs. What you get just depends on what shops have in stock.
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It is possible to buy the Mildliner pens individually and I would recommend you do this if you have the opportunity. This way you can get the exact colours you want. This can be helpful if you have a specific colour scheme that you use in your bullet journal. I know the colours I use most often are red, yellow, blue and grey.
The pens can be bought individually on CultPens where they work out at £1.95 per pen. This is roughly the same price as the set I bought in Paperchase. You can also by the pens individually on Jetpens at $2.65 per pen (£2.00). They also sell a full set of brush pens for $26.50 (£20).
I would recommend shopping around so you get the best price for your Mildliner brush pens. They can be as cheap as £1.50 per pen and go up to around £2.
My Thoughts On The Mildliner Brush Pen
I really like the Mildliner pens. They have become an essential part of my planning system. Maybe one day I will share how I use colour coding in my bullet journal. Its hard to say for certain if I will get more use out of the brush pens compared to the regular Mildliners.
As much as its nice to try something different. I don’t think I will use them as much compared to regular Mildliners. But the problem is more that I legitimately use the regular Mildliners all the time.
If you already own the regular Mildliners maybe buy one or two in your favourite colours to try out. If you’re just thinking about buying a set of Mildliners maybe take a look at my review of the Mildliner markers and think about what you will get most use out of.
I’m not saying they are a bad pen. Its just that no one needs multiple pens in the same colour. Especially when the only difference is the pen nibs. If you think you will use the brush marker more then buy that. Otherwise buy the regular Mildliner. Both cost around the same price anyway.
That was my review of the Zebra Mildliner brush pen. I’ve loved the Mildliner range for a long time, so it was fun getting to try out something new. These pens have also made me realise I don’t hate brush lettering with a large nib as much as I thought. But it may just be that I’m a lot better at brush lettering now.
If you’re looking for some sort of highlighter or marker and don’t want the regular fluorescent colours I would highly recommend you take a look at the Mildliners. They come in a great range of colours and are much easier on the eyes compared to fluro.
Have I convinced you to buy these pens yet? I’m not joking when I say the Mildliners are some of my most used pens. If you look back through my photos on Instagram it won’t take you long to come across a bullet journal or planner spread where they are featured.