Watercolor Painting & Sketching Group, Community, and Blog › Forums › Seeking Advice › Is a white gel pen the answer?
- This topic has 6 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 4 months ago by Debra “Kate” Powell.
January 9, 2018 at 2:31 pm
So, if you’ve wiped out a highlight and want to add one back, is a gel pen the answer? I read it was, but I never can get them to work. They write ok on my skin, but not over watercolor. And, I’ve never been able to fine a fine tip white gel pen. An employee at Michaels helped me the other day and suggested a fine point oil based white pen, but nothing. Any particular gel pen brands you all use? Or, maybe gel pens aren’t the answer. ThanksJanuary 9, 2018 at 2:46 pm
I’ve used a white pen, white colored pencil, white charcoal, white watercolor paint and white gouache. Some times it depends on the nature of the highlight I need to add. If a pencil will take care of it, I find white charcoal pencils are better than white colored pencils. But, most often I use white gouache. You can control how opaquely it goes on and even blend the edges if you need to.January 9, 2018 at 3:23 pm
I’ve tried a white pen before (Unibal Signo Gel) to add back in highlights too. It was just too tempting not to try. There’s something to be said for its convenience for sure, but I don’t like the fact it can’t be blended very well and to me it just stands out too much. If I need to, I will use white gouache for missed highlights, snow effect, etc. Like Anthony said, gouache just seems more versatile. (I’ve not tried the other mediums for adding in highlights.)January 9, 2018 at 3:50 pm
I used uni-Ball Signo UM-153 white pen and Gelly roll pens,you can add little water to these also to wash out the highlight (pen are more of a convenience tool tho). I find Luminance 6901 white pencil good also or Faber- Castell white pencil, depending on what opacity your looking for; you can blend these out with odourless mineral spirit which gives a painterly effect and wont damage the paper or leave a stain like baby oil which some people use in colour pencil or mixed media work. White water colour also can give a soft wash out highlight. My main go to tho is white Gouache for eye highlights and your can thin this out for the desired highlight effect your after.January 9, 2018 at 5:15 pm
I don’t think there is a perfect solution. The problem with the gel pens is, as you have discovered, they don’t always work well. You have to draw s-l-o-w-l-y, even when they do. You also have to be careful not to use other pens or markers over it, because it can clog them up.
The acrylic and oil based pens that you have to press down on, are usually nice and opaque, but have a tendency to blob once the paint in them gets low. Gouche is good – titanium white is more opaque than zinc white. Most of these will also clog any pen or marker that you use over them.
These days, I’ve been using Kuretake’s ig White Ink 30. It is a cartoonist’s ink that is very opaque, but can be watered down to be less so, if desired. You can draw over it with most products. It does crack if you get it too thick, but you seldom need to apply it that way. The drawback is that this is an ink product, though it has a creamy consistency. You pretty much have to apply it with a brush.
Jetpens has a couple of excellents guides: Guide to White Ink Pens and White Inks Guide. They go over the pros and cons of many brands and types, which helps you decide which works best for your particular purpose.January 10, 2018 at 7:07 am
Thanks to each of you for your insightful responses. I knew you all would have the perfect answer. Thanks so much!!January 12, 2018 at 12:18 pm
If I go for a pen, it has to be the uni-Ball Signo UM-153 (and they make two, and i don’t like the finer one as well in terms of the way it goes over watercolor.) I get them going on anothe rsheet so they don’t surprise me.
I also love MGraham Titanium White Gouache — it is in a pan and rewets nicely and i can get the finest lines with it.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.