Behind the Scenes

Using Water Brush Pens – A Watercolour Guide

Drawing, painting, sketching, music, video; there’s an incredible amount of ways to create something fresh! We believe there’s definitely a medium – whether it’s a pencil, piece of charcoal, paint – that’s a perfect fit for everyone! Our choice is the humble watercolour brush: compact pens crammed with flowing watercolour paint. Bottles of water at the ready, here’s a little guide to finding and using water brush pens.

The Best Paper for Water Brush Pens

Perhaps one of the most important parts of using watercolour has to be finding the right paper. Having tried both premium and regular brands, it seems the more standard stock works far better! Sometimes watercolour just don’t sit well within certain paper types, even those labelled “watercolour paper”. I’ve found that standard sketchbook paper (cartridge – that slightly creamy, grainy paper) works best. Pads with fine, smooth sheets just don’t seem to work that well. That said, it’s definitely worth trying out a handful of paper types till you find that one that gives that delicious watercolour finish!

A little watercolour brush drop of water goes a long way!

Introducing… Water Brush Pens

Now for that all important water brush! These come in all sorts of brands and sizes, the most popular being Pental Aquash and the ones we use, Kuretake Zig. There are a various brands out there, but the setup is the same: a plastic barrel that holds water and a nifty brush nib! Why not simply use a regular paintbrush, you may ask? These feel more like a hybrid: the firmness of a pen, with the convenience of being able to gently squeeze out water.

Watercolour brushes come in different thicknesses

From fine details to thick bristles, there are a number of types out there. Just look up or ask for a “waterbrush” in your local art store! Each of the waterbrush pens are perfect for use with regular watercolour paint, brush pens or watercolour pencils. Now you’re painting… with power!

Different line thicknesses with watercolour pens

Filling up the Barrel

Dry water brush pens are probably not the most ideal, so it’s time to fill it to the brim with water. Unscrew the nib, and in goes a spoldge of water! Some pens come with extra little bits that are in place to prevent leaking, so be careful with those. Am sure you can releate: a wet table is an artist’s true nightmare! Screw that lid back on and give the barrel a gentle press to squeeze a dollop of water out. It’s time to start painting!

Careful not to spill!

Watercolour brush pens

The flexibility of the waterbrush allows it to be used with any water-based medium. We use Moz Art watercolour brush pens in our doodles. These long-lasting markers only require a teeny splodge to  be blended into interesting shapes! Other top brush brands include Kuretake, Tombow and Akashiya.

The watercolour brush pen aesthetic

Bleeding and Blending Colours

Now for that magic moment: the blending and spreading of colour! The neat thing about watercolour brush pens is that they only need a small mark, which can then be blended using a waterbrush. A teeny amount goes a long way, and having that right paper allows for some interesting blends. Simply add two colours next to each other and unite them using a waterbrush – carefully overlapping the two.

Blending with a watercolour brush!

All About the Outlines

After laying down those sweet layers of paint, how about applying some outlines? It’s always a little tricky to work with a piece after having applied a splash of watercolour. However some of best markers for this would be pigment markers or pens. Similar to fineliner pens, these apply waterproof pigment ink – allowing for thick lines without harming the delicate paint that sits beneath! We use Pilot Drawing Pens, which come in different thicknesses, to add that last bit of detail!

Need to draw over paint? Use a pigment pen!

Like the water brush watercolour style? You may like our free hand-drawn gaming templates!

So there we have it, a little guide to using waterbrush / watercolour pens! Any questions? Just leave us a message below.

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About Jorge

TeeChu's founder and resident artist, a big Sonic the Hedgehog and Legend of Zelda fan. Born and raised on hot-dogs and forest adventures!

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