Calligraphy

Watercolor and Brush Pen

July 14, 2016

Watercolor and Brush Pen

With the 17th post to this series, sharing my experiences and the tips and tricks I gathered while using watercolor and brush pen.

Watercolor and Brush Pen

It has been only a few months since I began my journey with watercolor and brush pen. I got motivated to practice watercolor when I saw my friends do it. I have already a number of posts showing my works but I am still not that confident enough with the outcome. The motto in this craft has always been “Practice makes perfect” yet sometimes, perfect is irrelevant. With this craft, perfect is illogical because every person has his/her own version of somebody else’s font.

The way I write the alphabet, uppercase and lowercase, has been evolving since I began my calligraphy journey. I’m happy to see that there has been improvements and it has been an honor to meet and talk with the artists who have been inspiring me since.

Watercolor and Brush Pen

The various watercolor pans or sets I own.

Owning watercolor pans or sets (I honestly don’t know which is the official term to be used.) has been a part of my hoarding self. These babies do get their prices up because of its demand or that people do hoard thus creating an imbalance in the market.

For example:
  • The metallic watercolor on the upper left used to be around Php 60 but now, it now costs at around Php 70. (This was at the time I bought. I learned this through my friend, Joy Violeta.)
  • The Simbalion watercolor cakes (16 colors) used to be just below Php 100 and now it costs more than a Php 100. Same with the 36 colors.
  • With Prang, I haven’t heard any price hikes yet.

With those stated, it’s a factor of discomfort for buying those now however, if you really are passionate and determined to be better at this craft, you will do everything in your power to save and be able to buy.


Watercolor Experience

Watercolor and Brush Pen

Larger scale watercolor practice

It has been quite a roller coaster of experience in using watercolor. Various brands offer various outcomes depending on the artist or the user. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions and challenges when I started this adventure.

I was not knowledgeable with watercolor since I was not really in sync with art back then. My forte back then was just drawing stick figures or abstract creations. Also, I worked with pens more than watercolor or paint.

Things I learned while doing a small-medium watercolor work:
  • Always have a newspaper to act as a mat. It is a good absorbent for the droplets of water or paint or even to wipe of excess paint (if you are using semi-moist or tubes).
  • Your wrist will be tired most of the time since most of the movements for the strokes will come from the wrist. It is natural to feel tired after practicing for hours.
  • It is helpful to have watercolor masking fluid or its alternatives to preserve what you want to preserve. [Read some tips/tricks/alternatives to masking fluid here.]
  • Brushes and palettes are the siblings that the watercolor will always look for. I strongly suggest you try brushes that come with the watercolor pans/sets since they are really good. Also, try the ones from Best Buy only if you are starters. But if you have been practicing for quite sometime and you think you are in the advance/pro/expert level, then it’s time to have the pricey ones. The pricey ones brag  the hair on the brush since it may come from various materials or sources.
  • Outlines may be very appealing to the eyes. Pencils and drawing pens can be used for your artworks.

Patience is a virtue.


If at first the color does not look good, mix again and paint. Click To Tweet
Things I learned doing a larger scale watercolor work:
  • Instead of using your wrist, your arm will be the one doing most of the action. Be one with the flow. Connect with your tools in order to do it like the smaller scale.
  • Outlines can still be very much of a help.
  • If it is your first doing a larger scale watercolor work, practice the drills with a more inexpensive watercolor but on the larger canvas or paper.
  • Quicker strokes may be hard to achieve but it is an effective way of getting better results with the larger scale work.
  • Music is quite helpful for you to be able to finish your work.
Tools you may use:
  • Simbalion Watercolor Cake: 16 colors (more than Php 100), 36 colors (less than Php 200)
  • Prang: 8 colors (Php 259), 16 colors (Php 459)
  • Reeves (Php 300-400)
  • Sakura Koi: 18 colors (Php 800-850), 24 colors (Php 990)
  • Metallic watercolor: Php 69.75 (just like the one in the photo)
  • Best Buy Brushes: prices start at Php 10
  • Waterbrushes: Craftdoodle PH‘s set of 3 (L) — Php 500 at Scribe Essentials
  • Drawing pens: Marvy Uchida — Php 50-60/piece

Prices may still vary depending on where is the branch located.


Brush Pen Experience

Watercolor and Brush Pen

Various words with various tools.

From watercolor to brush pen real quick!

My journey with this tool began when I bought a Faber-Castell Pitt pen from an online shop back when I was still doing dip pen calligraphy. Months passed since I last used a pen holder, nib and ink and I regret nothing. Just this past few months, I realized that I may have not been growing with the dip pen. I recently de-stashed majority of the dip pen junk I have and just focused on using watercolor, waterbrushes and brush pens. It was quite challenging for me, honestly speaking.

My friends were the ones who commended me for my progress with brush pens and told me that maybe dip pens were not really meant for me. I heard them so that paved the way for my de-stashing and accepting watercolor and brush pens.

The drills are just the same although the thin strokes and ellipses are quite tricky to master. However, being a leftie has its ultimate disadvantages like:

  • Getting smudges on your hand.
  • Premature scribbling and gets your work distorted.
  • Incorrect way of holding the pen/s.

However, one should not let those get in the way of you learning a new craft! So far, using various tools has helped me improve my strokes.

Brush pens I have been using:
  • Artline Brush Stix (Php 37.50 per piece)
  • ZIG Kuretake Fudebiyori (Php 65 for non-metallic, Php 115/120 for metallic; prices vary depending on the store)
  • ZIG Cocoiro Letter Pen w/ extra fine cartridge (Php 70 for the body, around Php 150 for the refill)
  • ZIG Real Brush (Php 100-150 per piece) — which could also be used as watercolor in some ways.
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Pen brush tip (Php 106.75/piece)
  • Crayola Super Tips (Php 100-120 for 10 pieces)
Feedback on the brush pens:
  • The Artline Brush Stix are the most affordable that I have used and one of the easiest to use as well. It has a felt tip and does not break immediately. It may even be used as a toy when you put it together with its other pals. It is very friendly to lefties and can provide thin and thick strokes with ease.
  • The ZIG Kuretake Fudebiyori is the first brush pen that I ever used. It did not give me a hard time practicing because my hand seemed to be one with it. Just like the Artline Brush Stix, it’s easy to use.
  • With ZIG Cocoiro Letter Pen gave me fragments of nervousness. A friend of mine told me that she was scared of it because it produces sounds when you use it. At first, I got scared but eventually, we synced. I had been using it with watercolor because it does not fade unlike the Artline Brush Stix or ZIG Kuretake Fudebiyori which are not waterproof.
  • ZIG Real Brush gave me quite the hard time. Of all the brush pens that I have tried, it is really the trickiest of all! It has the brush feel and sometimes the bristles would just separate whenever you are onto your downward strokes. That actually is the challenge and it is where the fun begins!
  • Faber Castell Pitt Pen disappointed me. It is the most expensive (if you do not purchase the metallic Fudebiyori) but it breaks down easily. I remember getting frustrated because I thought my strokes were terrible but it was the pen not being in sync with me.
  • Crayola Super Tips are like coloring pens with an edge. Using it makes me feel young because it’s like for kids. It’s tricky to use (for me) when it’s downstrokes. When upstrokes, it’s very easy since it really produces thin storkes.

Currently, my go-to brush pens are Cocoiro and Fudebiyori. It’s just that both are quite easy to use.

The tools are the extension of your raw talent.


Watercolor and brush pens

Flat-lay with my brush pens and some scribbles.


So what do you think about watercolor & calligraphy?

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