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Watercolour Brush Pen Techniques to Try Out

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.

Grab a bundle with stencils and start by making an easy rainbow-mermaid piece of relaxing art!

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.

(BTW this is the bundle with stencils we recommend)

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 with the watercolour brush pens. As the water dilutes into the pigment, 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.

Here's a nice tutorial for making a fun geometric pattern piece and learn this fascinating technique you'll use on anything from backgrounds to galaxies!

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. We used this tecnique to generate a fiery yellow to red gradient for our safari stencil cards - you can use any combination of colours, for example all blues or all greens to make the same effect.

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 reading our tutorials, tips and tricks on watercolour brush pen techniques before feeling discouraged. We have expert artists sharing their knowledge for both basic and advanced levels.
  • Always clean your watercolour brush pens thoroughly. You can do this by wiping the tips with a paper towel (for example to remove excess orange from the tip of a yellow pen) or getting the tip wet on a jar of water and scribbling on paper until it comes out clean (if your yellow pen got stained with a dark blue).

What’s your favourite technique for using your brush pens?

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