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Take Your Art To The Next Level With Watercolor Brush Pens

Posted by ColorIt Support on

You’ve sharpened your pencils to tiny stubs. You’ve colored mandala after mandala with your gel pens. Your markers have been used and abused...but in the best way.

In short: you’ve mastered all of these art materials and are now looking for a way to take your coloring to the next level.

You know what you should try next? Watercolor brush pens.

Watercolor brush pens have the versatility of traditional watercolor packed into one easy-to-carry body. These pens allow you to use techniques that you never really get to play with using the typical alcohol-based markers or gel pens: dreamy blending, color washes, gradients and soft ombres--- you name it, watercolor brush pens can probably do it.

They’re also great if you’re into crafts; watercolor brush pens allow you to create unique styles like dainty florals and hand lettering that can be used to make cards, invitations and art prints.

On top of that, they can be used for adult coloring books, too.

Are you ready to take your art to the next level? We know you’re excited to embark on a new coloring journey, so let’s start!


What Are Watercolor Brush Pens And How Do They Work?

Have you ever tried working with traditional watercolors, only to find that they can be a bit messy? You have to have all these tubes, various types of brushes and water all around your desk or workspace. It's not the easiest set-up, especially if you like to color on the go.

Watercolor brush pens solve this problem by putting the best qualities of traditional watercolors into one neat brush pen.

Using water-soluble dye-based ink, watercolor brush pens can create a lot of interesting effects by using just a few drops of water. The versatile brush tips allow you to play around with different strokes and styles--- all you gotta do is add or lessen the pressure you put on the pen. This makes watercolor brush pens mediums for modern calligraphy and hand-lettering.

The best part is that you can do all this without having to clean up such a huge mess afterward! Since they’re water-based, these pens don’t leave stains and are usually odor-free. All you have to do is put their caps back on, and you’re done.

Getting Started With Watercolor Brush Pens

You can do so many things with brush pens that it’s pretty safe to say that they’ve got the best of both worlds.

Now, if you find them a bit intimidating, don't worry--- that’s normal. The truth is they're actually very easy to use. With a bit of practice, controlling these pens will be a breeze, and you'll be making some cool artworks and designs of your own in no time.

You can follow these basic guidelines to start:

Check out your palette! Take a good look at your brush pen babies--- aren’t they pretty? But don’t just gush about them; take this time to observe and organize your palette. It's usually helpful to put similar colors close to each other as they're usually the ones that blend well when combined.

Make sure you're using the right kind of paper. Water-based ink can eat through ordinary printer paper, so make sure you're using thick and smooth watercolor paper to achieve the best results.

Watercolor brush pens use water-based ink, so keep a little glass of water beside you as you work. When you dip the brush tips in water, you'll dilute the ink which produces lighter shades. Remember: the longer you dip the brush tip in water, the lighter the outcome. Play around with water until you become familiar with its effect on your brush pens. This will be very useful when you’re making color washes and shading.

Shading and layering. Blend colors by laying one shade on top of another. Work from light to dark tones. You can also mix and match: play around with your markers and know which colors work best when combined.

Creating ombre effects. You can also touch or rub two marker tips together to create gradient or ombre effects. Select colors within the same family to get best results for this technique. Make sure that one pen has a darker shade than the other. Apply the darker brush tip to the lighter one. You know you're ready to apply when the lighter pen has absorbed some of the darker ink. You should get a pretty dark-to-light gradient effect.

Get the hang of the brush tip. The brush tip is pretty versatile: it’s capable of making a variety of strokes depending on the amount of pressure you apply. If you create strokes with minimal pressure, you'll get thin lines--- this is great for when you're working on details. To cover larger areas and to produce thicker strokes, hold your brush pen at around 30 degrees and apply more pressure. Practice doing thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes. You'll be using this technique a lot when you're doing hand lettering and calligraphy.

Don't forget to "clean" your brush tips out after blending them together. Dip them in water and lay strokes on a scrap piece of paper until the markers go back to their original color.

Try These Cool Watercolor Brush Pen Techniques

Now that you’ve practiced and played around a bit, it’s time for the fun part: making art with your watercolor brush pens. We’ve gathered some of the best tutorials around to help you improve your brush pen technique.

Get your brush pens ready; this is going to be a whole lot of fun!


Making Textures with Watercolor Brush Pens

One of the best things about using watercolor brush pens is that you can make a variety of textures. Since these pens are waterbased, you can easily get away with a whole range of styles--- from solid tones to abstract color washes.

The tutorial above shows how to make at least 3 texture styles with your brush pens. Aside from brush pens, the tutorial also uses ordinary household items like clear, plastic baggies to create an intricate gouache-like effect.

Another nifty tool used in this tutorial is a water brush. This simple tool makes blending smoother and easier, so make sure to have them around when you’re coloring!


How To Use A Colorless Blender

Colorless blenders baffle a lot of newbie colorists. Blenders often come in most brush pen sets, but only a few colorists actually know how to use them.

Just what do these things do?

Colorless blenders can actually work some magic...if you know how to use them the right way. Check out the tutorial above to learn how to use these unique coloring tools to their full potential.


Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering

Admit it: you have a Pinterest board full of hand-lettered quotes and calligraphy.

We're guilty of having dozens of those, too! Hand lettering and calligraphy are easy to make with brush pens. You can use your hand-lettered designs to come up with a bunch of creative projects: greeting cards, place settings during weddings and events, invites, stickers, art prints, labels--- the list can go on!

Jumpstart this fantastic hobby by picking up a couple of things from this super-informative tutorial. Don't worry, the concepts are explained so easily, you can get them in no time.

Work on your upstrokes and downstrokes. Make sure to apply minimal pressure when going up, and push a bit harder as you make your way down. This takes a bit of practice, but once you've got that down pat, the rest of lettering should come easy.


How To Make Dainty Florals

Another great thing about watercolor brush pens is that they're the perfect medium to create dainty floral designs. You can make anything from a bouquet of roses to falling cherry blossoms to intricate, crawling vines.

The tutorial shows you just how easy it is to create a rose bouquet with a single brush pen and a water brush. If you don't have a water brush, don't worry, you can still make perfect roses. The trick is to work with really light shades first, so make sure you dip your brush pens in water before applying. You can fill in the shadows later along the way.

You can use these floral designs together with calligraphy to create unique crafts and artwork. You can also add them to your daily bullet journal as headers and page borders. Whatever you use them for, these floral designs add character to your work, so make sure to practice as often as you can!


Can You Use Watercolor Brush Pens For Adult Coloring Books?

We bet you've asked this question a dozen of times. Can you use watercolor brush pens for your adult coloring books? The answer is a resounding yes!

Watercolor brush pens work great on coloring books, as long as your books have thick pages, like ColorIt. Work from light to dark shades and use a midtone pen to blend all these colors together. Brush pens are a lot of fun because you can use them to cover broad areas and do intricate details at the same time.

You can also use a substance like gesso to make your coloring pages thicker. This way you can have more fun with color washes and other cool effects!


Taking Care Of Your Watercolor Brush Pens

Watercolor brush pens are very low-maintenance. Unlike markers or gel pens, they hardly need any special treatment or storage rules.

The only thing that you need to remember is to keep your brush pen caps tightly shut, so they don't dry out.

Most watercolor brush pens are also self-cleaning, so you don't have to worry about the tips staining after use. Just make sure to apply just the right amount of pressure when using your brush pens, so their bristles keep their nice and straight shape for a long time.


Final Thoughts

Watercolor brush pens are some of the best art mediums to work with. They're a bit tricky at first, but don't be intimidated. With a bit of practice and the right materials, you can create a lot of beautiful masterpieces with these pens.

Make sure to choose waterbased brush pens with great quality. It also helps if they're refillable; you can have more fun and more value for your money at the same time.

Don't forget to find time to practice your watercolor brush pen skills. Let us know if these tutorials worked for you, and don't forget share stories of your coloring journey in the comments below.

Have fun with your brush pens and as always, free your creativity!

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  • Great information. Can you do more video technique posts like the roses one!

    Cathy on

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