If you’ve been tempted to test out your watercolour brush pens (we don’t blame you), but haven’t been sure where to start, there’s lots of inspiration around to get that creativity pumping. But one of the best ways to jump into this art form is to give the basics a whirl, which is why we like to recommend a few different techniques when you’re starting out.
The exciting part of this is that once you get a few of these techniques down pat, you can begin to extend them out and create your own looks. Remember that patience is key, so as you take yourself through these, remain calm and remind yourself that practice makes perfect.
The wet-on-wet technique
Channel your inner Bob Ross and make use of subdued shades that create gentle, light strokes. Essentially, this technique is simple: brush a little bit of water on your paper before you dive into applying ink. As the water dilutes into the ink, you’ll see a whirl of stunning colours and blending come to the forefront. This is perfect if you’re working with a larger area and need to cover it all.
Making use of similar tones
If you’re looking to give your artwork a dynamic look, try out blending two colours. Go from light to dark and slowly blend them together. If you need to smoothen out the shift from one colour to another, add a bit of water between them. Once you’ve mastered this technique, you’ll be able to generate a whole lot of depth in your work and add more perspective.
Experiment with complementary colours
Love colour theory? You’ll adore this one. The best thing about watercolour brush pens is that you can blend colours, even if they are complete opposites. Just add water to the point where the two colours blend easily.
Wash it all out
These days, colour washing is a big trend. Cover a huge area or create a background/backdrop by moving the ink around the paper and reactivating them where needed, to create a stunning, impressive effect. This is also a great way to mix and match different tones.
The salt trick
This one is lesser-known, but it’s a fun one. Create a galaxy look by grabbing the table salt out of your pantry and sprinkle a bit of it among your paper. Watch as “stars” pop up and dissolve into the surface.
A few important things to remember
- Watercolour brush pens are excellent for more than just colouring – try your hand at brush lettering too.
- If you don’t know how to use your pens, start by twisting and turning with up and down strokes. This will help you understand the versatility of the mediums you’re working with.
- Always clean your brushes thoroughly. You can do this by wiping the tips with some paper towel and squeezing the pen until the water that comes out is clear.
What’s your favourite technique for using your brush pens?