Tips for using watercolour pens

Brilliant watercolour tips for using our watercolour pens

I have always admired the great romanticist Joseph Mallord William Turner, his paintings are vibrant dynamic and full of light. What’s more is that he did it all with one of the most tricky mediums, at least in my humble opinion, that one can imagine. Watercolours! I just struggle so much when trying to create something perfect, because of the way that your paint flows and how you control it, as a perfectionist this is something I really struggle with. So here are my top tips for budding watercolourists.

  1. Paint dry and wet!

The versatility and diverse range of effects you can get is one of the best things about using water colours, you can achieve so many effects just by varying the amount of water you apply to your brush or how much pressure you apply to your water brush pen. Painting with a dry brush pen or brush provides more distinct and discernible definition, a more matt colour and is great for detailing and calligraphy. Painting when your surface or water brush pen is saturated with water provides easily blendable colours and a method of making gradient colours from dark to light.This allows you to paint both concrete structures and also more amorphous and abstract things such as the sea and the sky.


Now painting wet is an excellent way to start a painting by adding gradient colour to the background, then you can simply wait until the paint dries and add a layer of detail with distinct lines that won’t bleed once the paper is dry.

  1. Create blooming effects with your water brush

Creating a blooming effect with watercolours is an interesting technique that can be used to enhance a wide variety of compositions, the bloom effect is particularly good for achieving organic affectations such as the striations of the iris, the patterns on the petals of a Carnation or in the case of the image above the cataclysmic pulse of a Neutron star.To create this, simply apply ample ink to your paper, then use your water brush pen to inject the required amount of water to make the ink bleed outward.

  1. Wet wash removal

This method is excellent for creating the impression of depth and nuances such as wisps of smoke in a night sky, paint a surface with a lots of ink so that the paint itself is fairly damp then add water with your water brush pen, and move the water into as close to the desired shape as possible then press a tissue to the paper and let it absorb the excess ink in the dampened area to create a lighter space. This effect is great for clouds and can even be used to create a nicely textured moon hanging solemnly in the night sky.


  1. Paint from dark to light

When you are composing your painting bear in mind the white space you will need and plan ahead because with Watercolours you won’t be able go over areas you have painted with dark colours with lighter ones, so if you want a crisp white cloud leave that space blank while you are painting and use your water brush pen to move the colour surrounding your blank space to create the desired shape.

  1. Pull your colours

This is a watercolour technique where you apply a layer of paint and then using just your water brush pull lighter shades of colour from the initial brush marks, this is create for light sources and creating the impression of an edge  or can be used to create 3D shapes by using the initial stroke as the corner of a square building or structure then pulling the colour to fill in the sides of the structure.


  1. Layer and blend your colours

This is by far one of the greatest advantages of watercolour pens as a medium for creating fantastic artwork, the thin nature of the pigment means that colour has to be built up gradually layer upon layer. This means you can easily blend colours right on the page making it easy to create almost any colour you can imagine by blending two colours with a little bit of water. You can use this to achieve almost any number unique hues.



  1. Sketch before you paint

I find it really helpful when doing watercolours just to layout my composition in pencil before I start using the watercolour pens, this allows you to get a really clear picture of what you need to achieve through your painting and because with watercolours planning is everything, sketching your drawing first invariably improves the results

Things you will need.

Now you have a couple of my favourite techniques for creating beautiful watercolours there are a few things that you will need to get started. The first of which is obviously watercolours, now for my work I used our watercolour brush pens, but any high quality watercolour paint and decent fine horse hair brushes will do.Tissues are a must for cleaning up excess water when doing watercolours and obviously our water brush pen is a must. It is compact and handy with an internal reservoir for water, so it is perfect for rambling artist such as myself. Having just tested this product I can’t recommend it enough. So why not try our Brush Pens here. They come with water brush pen included.



More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Search our store