More Art Tools!

9:48 AM

Continuing from yesterday's post, New Art Tools!.....

We're fortunate to also have a Michaels nearby to compete with JoAnn's and I decided to go and visit them once I found out about the brushes just to see if they might carry them also (forgot to mention this in the prior post) and they do! In different sizes though. (Thanks, Pam, for reminding me!)

The next fun thing I found was a VersaMarker Pen with dual tips–one for writing and one a brush! This is a watermark pen that is used a lot by stampers and scrapbookers. This tool allows for precise marks to be made on a stamp and then the stamped onto the paper. The "ink" is clear and creates a resist or it can be embossed with embossing powders. So what is a watercolor artist doing with this? Well, they say curiosity killed the cat, but what they don't add is that the cat died satisfied! It's a pen, right? I figured I could forgo the stamp and see what would happen when I added watercolor over the top!

VersaMarker and watercolor
on watercolor paper

The darker marks within the "bush" are from the VersaMarker. The ink absorbed the watercolor, making it darker in those areas. I had to create several samples before I find what would work. You have to let the ink dry completely (more than an hour) before watercoloring over it or it doesn't work well. I think this has future applications when creating designs, but is probably not going to be an "everyday" tool. I paid $3.99 for it at JoAnn's, and at this time, I can't recommend it. The VersaMark ink also comes in a pad usable with stamps.

Moving on, I found an Inkssentials Opaque White Gel Pen at Michaels. Yippee, I thought! My go-to white gel pen has always been the Uniball White Signo Gel still is:
The Signo is on the left and is significantly more opaque than the Inkssentials pen. Both pens will lift when washed across with water so it is best to add this at the very end of your watercolor work. However, one cool trick is to put the white ink down and then brush it lightly with water to help it "fade" back into the image a bit if the white is a bit harsh in your sketch. I purchased a pack of two Inkssentials pens for $4.99 at Michaels. Not recommended. Go to and purchase the Signo–you won't be sorry! (No self-respecting sketch kit should be without one of these pens!)

Last up today is some Martha Stewart Crafts™Fine Tip Writing Pens (other tips available). What attracted me to these pens are the colors–I purchased a bloodstone and purple heliotrope. The ink is pigmented and they are archival, acid-free and fade proof.

(Please forgive the poor photography as it doesn't show the colors well.) The bloodstone is a light taupe and the heliotrope is a grayed purple. The pens are $1.99 at Michaels with a line of other unusual ink colors available. They are also available from other retailers online. Both of these colors lend themselves well to sketching and are not as harsh or obvious as black ink. Being fade-proof, the ink is also waterproof and I could easily watercolor over these. These are definitely recommended!

So how do these tools work for a watercolor artist? Take a look......

Starting in the upper lefthand corner, the bird's nest and tulip was created with the detailer waterbrush featured here. I also used Martha's pens to emphasis some of the line work. The birdhouse has detailing added with the M. Stewart pens. I used the VersaMarker in the tree leaves behind the birdhouse to create a pattern (without much success) The spiderwort in the lower right has white pen in it. I lost the tips (anthers) of the stamens since I did not use a mask to block them out. White pen to the rescue! Same thing with the polka dots on the teapot. All of the writing and some of the sketching was done with the Martha Stewart pen. Highlights on the salt and pepper shaker were created using the white Signo pen. The word "Spring" in the middle was created with the flat waterbrush. All images on this page were created using waterbrushes!

Next paint colors!!

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10 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Laure, as always your posts are so interesting and informative. Gave me some new things to run out and try. The PetsMart I work at part time is right next door to Michael's!! I love the page you did, the colors and details are so great. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us. Happy Wednesday.

  2. Thanks for sharing valuable info.

  3. what beautiful samples! i LOVE my signo pens and will try the martha stewarts! thanks for doing this! looking forward to the next review!

  4. I loved your page! And I found the review of the tools to be very helpful. I think I'll pick up some Martha pens for use in my sketchbook, but you also reminded me that I have some pens I used for stamping that might work for the watercolor sketchbook. I'll have to dig them out. (I have a Versamark stamp pad, and your mentioning that is what reminded me about the other things.)

  5. Cool...I have to head up to our local Michael's and JoAnn's to see what I can find! I love what you created with them, especially the beautiful bird house, nest and teapot!!

  6. Well, even though I haven't done any art in eons (at least it seems that way) I thoroughly enjoyed (and perhaps even awakened a creative streak or two?) reading your post. Good for you! Loved the composite sketch/painting... it's beautiful!

  7. I like your spread in the sketchbook. You are having too much fun here with all those new "tools".

  8. Laure, these all look great. I love your Spring page spread--it's beautiful. I wasn't familiar with the Zig brushes--I've only used the Niji, which seem very similar, and I've always liked them--they do wear out in time, but for the price, they're so convenient and fun to take along with you. I'll have to try some of these you mentioned. Thanks!

  9. As a reformed stamper, I have most of these products, so it's great to see you test them out for watercolor purposes.

    Great series! Very informative.

  10. Hope you know I don't mean to be unfriendly or critical, but to me a watercolor is not anymore a watercolor is it's not painted totally with a brush -it then becomes a mixed media painting;)


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