My hands are finally getting their coordination back. And hallelujah! It's great to be drawing on paper again, though I've been laying off the brush. It's just too much trouble and too messy to risk with my spazzy fingers. My medical travails, however, have once again sparked my interest in alternative drawing tools. Case in point: the recently discovered Kuretake brush pen, as seen on Ryan Andrews' excellent blog. After seeing what he did with it, I just figured I had to try one out. Amazingly, the thing makes lines that are surprisingly comparable to the ones I make with my favorite brush.
The advantages are numerous. For one, there's no messy prep and no messy cleanup. You want to draw, you just pop the cap off and start drawing; when you're done, put the cap back on and put the pen away. No cleanup. No ink siphoning. The pen uses disposable, replaceable ink cartridges, so you'll occasionally need to replace these. But not every time you draw. Also, the grip is pen-like and a bit easier for my nerve damaged hands to grip. And because it's a pen, it's portable.
There are, of course, downsides as well. The Kuretake-plus-cartridge-replacement combo is likely a tad more expensive than brush and ink. And maybe not quite as expressive. And surely you can't use the brush pen to fill large areas of black as easily. But the primary downside is that the ink that comes with the Kuretake is not even remotely waterproof. This may be fixable, however.
I've since purchased Platinum Carbon Ink cartridges that are compatible with the Kuretake. The Carbon ink is reported to be extremely waterproof. I haven't tried it in my brush pen yet, but I did pick up a Platinum Desk Pen that uses the same cartridges and, if the pen is any indication, it does seem to be quite waterproof indeed.
In addition to my brush pen, the Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen has been quite a revelation. I've tried nib pens, which I like, but which are finicky and suffer from all the same dipping and cleanup issues as brushes. I've tried Rapidograph technical pens, which are also a bear to clean. But this fountain pen is as good as any of them, and in true pen form, it's a snap to use.
What all this ease-of-use means is one basic, but very important thing: I draw more. And that's pretty awesome.