Technique Thursday: Watercolor Brushes and Pens

Hello there my crafty friends! I hope you are having a fun and creative week! Today I’m here to give a few pointers on a technique that I’ve been practicing for a little over a year. I’m talking about using water brushes and watercolor brush pens. You’ll see that I will be talking about the Arteza Real Brush Pens because that is what I know. I understand that a lot of people use Zig but I honestly have never tried them so I don’t feel comfortable talking about them and giving an opinion on something I don’t use. I also use the Arteza water brushes so I can’t really talk on other brands and water brush pens. Let’s get down to it, this is the card that sparked the idea for this post:

For everything you see here, minus the letters, I layered two colors to give highlights and shadows. For the ‘Thanks’ I took a teal brush pen and only put ink on the lower half and then I took my smallest water brush and dragged the color up which gave me a gradient. I’m getting ahead of myself, you need to have the right paper before you can do this. I will always recommend Strathmore Bristol Smooth every day of the week. I would recommend it for both watercoloring this way or when using gamsol with coloured pencils.

Image from Amazon

And as I mentioned before, the water brushes and the real brush pens are a personal preference but if you’re starting out I would highly suggest Arteza. If only for the fact that they have a 12, 24, 48, and 96 count bundles and at really good prices. You can also purchase them on Amazon. There are a lot of different water brushes you can try as well, and if you want you could also try the Zig Real Brush markers. Here are the two products I own that I do all of this painting/ coloring with:

Using Bristol paper is really going to help you, I do not recommend using watercolor paper- the colors can’t move. As longs as you don’t dunk your paper in water, you shouldn’t get any pilling because of the water brushes. I would suggest stamping with Versafine in Onyx Black and then heat emboss over it with clear embossing powder. This will give you raised, uhm, wall so to speak of your image so it’s not as easy to bleed over to other areas. Next tip, start out with light strokes. You can always add more, but lightening something up is a little tricky. When wanting to create shadows and highlight you can do one of two things. A) You can put one color down in strategic places and don’t color the whole image. Then you can take your water brush and pull the color out into the empty space creating a gradient and a highlight and shadow. B) Pick two colors, like a light lilac and a deeper shade that compliments it. Then take your lighter color and color the whole area where you want that color. Then add the darker color where you want shadows or it to look a bit darker. After doing that, take your water brush and blend it all together so there aren’t any hard lines between the colors.
And if you do make a mistake, don’t stress! You’re just learning, I’m still learning, and it’s a whole learning process so don’t beat yourself up. There will be pieces you want to hang on the wall and others you want to trash. My last bit of advice is, even if you’re going to trash one you did, take a picture first that way one week from then or one year, you can look back on where you started and see just how far you’ve come.

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you did I’d love to know it! Are there things you would like me to try to teach? Let me know in the comments! Creativity will set you free. I’m going to leave with a quote from a prolific writer who had fun with images and colors.
“Be who you are and say what you feel. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”- Dr. Seuss

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