REVIEW: Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens

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?

Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pen Set Royal Talens

You can draw or write with them like you would a marker or pen.

Ecoline Brush Pen Drawing Example

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.

Ecoline Brush Pen With Water Added

If you want more control you can use a brush – the kind with bristles – and water to move the paint around.

Watercolor Brush Pen Example

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. 


Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pen Tip Closeup

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 Pen Color Chart

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.

Ecoline Brush Pen Painting Examples

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.

Watercolor Postcard Painting Example Sandra Strait

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.

These Pens Are Good For Writing Painting

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.

Limited Palette Painting Landscape

On the back, where some color bled through, I used Zebra Zensations colored pencilsPM-701 permanent markers and a Uniball Signo White Gel pen to turn it into a fun piece of mixed media.

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 Art Supply Reviews

11 thoughts on “REVIEW: Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens

  1. I had not thought about mixing the colors on an acetate sheet. or in my case a craft mat. I’ll have to try that. thanks for the great review, Sandra! I do love these pens! uh . . brushes? . . or markers? no matter what we call them the colors are excellent! <3

  2. Did you know they are refillable?! and you can dip one colour pen into another colour of the Ecoline bottled ink and write with a blended colour and then the pen goes back to its own colour in a few strokes.

    1. I did not know that! That is beyond excellent. I’m surprised the company doesn’t state that in their product information (or maybe I just missed it somewhere). It’s easy to do once you know to look for the way you can add more ink. I see you can reverse the nib, too. I wonder if you can get replacement nibs.

  3. No worries! I was just as excited and had to buy bottles of ink to match the pens! Maybe the company doesn’t want us to know, then we’ll just buy more pens.

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