Supplies You Need:
Let’s start with the supplies you will need. For beginners, I would recommend getting the Zenacolor waterbrush set which also comes with a free aqua brush! There are 24 beautiful and highly pigmented colours in this set and this is the first set I used when starting out with waterbrush pens. For today’s tutorial, I have used a 20 colour set from Mozart Supplies – these are very good as well, there is a lot of water in the ink and the colours are mostly bright, however, I believe for beginners, the Zenacolor set have a better range of colours. You can also purchase separately a set of Mozart Supplies aqua brushes (I have the set of 4) – these come in different brush sizes and depends on the kind of paintings you want to do. I am using one of the smaller round brushes.
Now you’ve got your brushes and pens, you will need good quality paper for these waterbrushes to be more effective. For this tutorial, I have used 300gsm watercolour paper from Cass Art. There are many sizes of paper pads you can get. Another good brand is Daler & Rowney or Fluid. To be honest, any 300 gsm, cold-pressed paper should be decent! Claire Fontaine is also a really good quality brand for watercolour paper – however, they are of the more expensive variety.
Where You Can Get The Supplies:
Mozart Supplies aqua brushes set (optional if you already have an aqua brush)
The first thing you should do is ‘swatches’ with your waterbrush pens. You can create a grid for this or do it without. Colour in a square and then drag the colour down using your aqua brush to create a gradient keeping a square or rectangle shape on your paper (if no water comes out of your aqua brush, give it a small squeeze). Do this for all colours in your set. If your pens have names or numbers on them, you can write them down below each corresponding swatch. Once you have completed this, you can keep the swatches in front of you so when you are painting you can easily choose which colours you want to use.
Here is what mine looks like when I swatched my Zenacolor pens: (apologies for poor quality photo!)
Finally, you are now prepared to start painting!
Here are 3 of my favourite ways on how to use waterbrush pens:
Tutorial 1 – Florals
Tutorial 2 – Loose roses
Loose roses are equally as fun and therapeutic as the florals – it’s a different technique which involves allowing yourself to let go and be spontaneous in your bush strokes to create a loose rose shape. It can be done over and over again across the page, even in different colours. Add leaves and other foliage to create diversity in your artwork. Here’s how you can do it:
Tutorial 3 – Mini landscape discs
These are mini because if you do them too large the ink from the pens can dry too quickly and then it will be hard to create a proper gradient between colours even with lots of water (try to avoid waterlogging your paper). I absolutely love doing these little landscape skylines – and I love how I can do them in all colours. The effect the aqua brush can give is beautiful and I think the silhouette of trees or mountains is really atmospheric. Here is how you can do your own mini landscape:
These are only 3 of many things you can do with waterbrush pens. I am still discovering what the boundaries are, but I am learning how to make my artwork more defined and clear. The best thing for me about waterbrush pens are that you can carry them around with you because they are lightweight, they are not messy, and are easy and very therapeutic to use. I am very glad that I have discovered these pens and I am excited to see what else I can do these amazing things!
Thank you very much for reading my blog post and I hope my tutorials have inspired you to be creative! To see more of my artwork, here are my links: