I've recently posted a few short time lapses of succulents and flowers on my Instagram using watercolor brush pens by Speedball, and I had an overwhelming amount of people interested in the actual pens I used for the art. So, I thought I would write a blog post about these pens for anyone that is interested in learning more about them.
Last year, I found these pens walking thru a local art supply store in Los Angeles and thought these pens would be great for hand lettering. I used them a few times for hand lettering, but I found that the ink flowing thru the brush wasn't quick enough for the speed I like to hand letter. I typically use a Pentel brush pen for hand lettering and thought these would be similar. I learned after a few hand lettering pages, that they aren't similar to the Pentel brush pens. So, I put them aside for months.
Last month, I was going thru my art supplies and felt like I haven't given these watercolor brush pens a chance. I was also really into water coloring instead of hand lettering at the time, so I felt like I should try these pens out with water coloring. I began with a simple rose flower to learn the process and learn how the brushes ink the paper. Also, I spent some time learning how the blending brush works. I like to dip the blending brush into water, but the pen is empty and looks like you can fill it with water. Whether you fill it with water or dip it, do what works best with your techniques.
After a few trials with the pen, I found myself enjoying how smooth the ink blends together. They aren't like regular watercolors. The way they blend with the blending brush is easy and the blend is still very vibrant. I wouldn't substitute these pens for regular watercolors just yet, but they have been really fun as I learned a new method of creating art.
Tips for beginners with these pens:
- Start small. You don't have to create a masterpiece with your first time using these pens. I suggest you find something small you'd like to paint, like a rose or an apple, then do several trials of creating what you see without spending too much time on one larger piece. The main focus of these pens is blending, and by starting small, you won't potentially ruin a larger work of art. So trial and keep it small for your few first times. After a few small trials of getting use to the pens, maybe do something bigger.
- Use Watercolor Paper Blocks. Don't feel like you need to purchase the expensive watercolor blocks like Arches. I suggest picking up cheaper watercolor blocks such as Fluid or Canson. I wouldn't go too cheap with watercolor paper, but I suggest purchasing a watercolor block because I have found that the block helps with keeping the paper flat as you put water on it. It will still warp a little bit, but not as much as the spiraled paper.
- Have Fun. These pens are meant for fun. So if you find yourself getting frustrated, or too much ink flows out and ruins a piece; try to remember that these are for fun. Art is fun. Whatever you create, people will enjoy if you share it with them.
I hope all of this information has been helpful. Now go pick these watercolor brush pens up, turn on some music, and go make some happy trees.