A wonderful friend sent me an Amazon gift card for Cyber Monday, and one of the cool items that I bought was this set of 10 Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens from Royal Talens. Thank you, friend! You know who you are.
I can sense some possible confusion. Brush or pen? Which is it? Maybe a waterbrush with a barrel that holds water, ink or paint? Or a pen for writing? But wait! Look at them. They look like markers. Are they markers?
You can draw or write with them like you would a marker or pen.
The color comes from a liquid made of dye and gum arabic. That makes them a watercolor medium but not watercolor pigments.
Once you draw with them, spray them with water and you can use the colors like paint. Definitely a watercolor medium. The color moves freely. It really gets juicy and you can get drippy, and runny and really smear those colors together.
If you want more control you can use a brush – the kind with bristles – and water to move the paint around.
Once the color dries, you can get it wet again, and lift color, blend it or move it around some more. I’ve used other pens, brush pens, and markers that were water-soluble and had ‘watercolor’ in the title. I haven’t found any that compare with these when it comes to the movement of the color.
The paper matters. With some paper you can still see the original marks where you drew on the paper, but with most papers, the color smoothed out and blended just like tube or pan paints.
So ‘brush’ pen. Are these brushes or pens?
Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens Overview
The nibs on Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens are nylon fiber like marker tips, but they are flexible. Most pens or markers with flexible tips are labeled as brushes. By that logic, these are brushes.
They write like a pen, look like a marker, have a flexible tip like a brush and are filled with a watercolor medium. I guess the name ‘watercolor brush pen’ suits this product.
The nibs come to a fine point. They are large though, so not good for fine detail. Like all nylon fiber tips, they will fray over time, especially if used with rough paper. They will also moosh down and lose shape. That’s just what nylon tips do. Cheap ones will do it almost immediately. I’ve seen no indication of the moosh happening with these and I’ve been using them a lot.
Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens come in 59 colors and a blender pen. The set that I’m reviewing here does not have a blender and, personally, I don’t think you need one, unless you intend to use these without using water.
The colors included in the set are Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Deep Orange, Magenta, Scarlet, Green, Sky Blue (cyan), Ultramarine Deep, Blue Violet and Black.
Some of you will be interested to know that this set includes both the RYB primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and the subtractive CMY primaries (Yellow, Magenta and Cyan). A review isn’t the place to explain primaries, but I do recommend googling it if you aren’t sure what that means.
The colors are brilliant. You can achieve a wide range of colors through mixing, and great tints and values by controlling the amount of water you use. Most colors that go on wet have a color shift – they become lighter or darker once dry. These colors dry the same color as they are wet.
Dyes are notorious for fading. I haven’t noticed any fading in the two months that I’ve been using them, but climate, light and the paper used will make a difference. The company recommends keeping your finished work in a portfolio for ‘optimal colour retention’.
They are odorless.
I’ve been having a blast with these brush pens. The brilliant jewel-like tones make fabulous backgrounds for pen work.
This was done in a Hahnemühle Report & Art book, which has a soft slightly textured paper.
Or you can use them for bright, fun subjects.
These were done on Hahnemühle cold-pressed watercolor postcards , which have more texture than the Report & Art book.
The color is transparent so you can get interesting effects with layers of color.
This was done in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie book, which has a harder, smoother, more glossy paper.
Even the bleed-through can be used. I used the pens on the front of this Hahnemühle YouTangle tile and some of the color bled through to the back of the paper. I did use LOTS of water with very little color.
This is the only paper where I have had bleed-through. It is similar to the Nostalgie paper above, but less glossy.
It is probably easier to see how well the colors in these brush pens move in a video, so here it is.
Overall, Royal Talens Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens are a fun way to use a watercolor medium. Less messy and easier to carry than pans or tubes and they can be used without water if you wish. The colors are brilliant and neither lighten or darken when they dry. They are not lightfast. The nylon fiber nibs are large, so not good for fine detail but great for covering larger areas.
Disclaimer: I bought this set of Multicolor Royal Talens Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pen with gift money. Neither Royal Talens or any other company asked for this review. I received no other considerations, though this post contains affiliate links which help support the Doodlewash Community features. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in