You’ve probably tried watercolour pencils, but have you ever tried watercolour brush pens? I’ve been experimenting with Stationery Island Brush pens for the last couple of months and thought I’d share a bit about them with you.

What do they look like?

Stationery Island Brush Pens Review

They look like marker pens, but as their name suggests they have a brush style tip. It’s not just shaped like that, the end actually has some give to it like a brush too. The 12 pack of pens has a basic set of colours including grey and black and also a water brush (a brush with built-in water container)

Stationery island Brush pen and water brush

How do you use them?

You can use them in the exact same way as you would a marker pen. I like to start with the midtones, then lay the darker colours over the top and add in the lights. Having only a limited set of colours (I have the 12 pack) means that you have to layer the colours over or next to each other ready to blend. The magic happens when you add water. To apply the water, you can either use a water pot and brush, or the supplied water brush. The colours are bright and punchy, much more vibrant than most watercolour pencils.

I would suggest using a smooth watercolour or mixed media paper to work on. The smooth surface helps the colour lay down easily and the heavy weight of the paper stops it buckling too much. A brand I like is Canson Mixed Media paper. not only is it a decent weight it’s also relatively inexpensive.

Canson Mixed Media Paper Imagine

What do they work well for

I’ve been using them for drawing faces and animals, but I think they are really adaptable. I would imagine landscapes and florals could look stunning drawn with them. They would also be ideal for sketching on location, as an alternative to watercolour pencils

Alternative brands

So far I have only used the Stationery Island brand of brush pens. I have also heard good things about Kuretake watercolour brush pens, I have a set ready to try, so will let you know how I get in with those.

Comparison size of brush – Stationery Island vs Kuretake

Kuretake vs Stationery Island Brush pens


Winsor and Newton Watercolour MarkersI can’t find any reference to the lightfastness of Stationery Island pens. If you are just using them for sketching this should not be an issue. If you are looking for a similar product that definitely is lightfast Winsor and Newton produce Watercolour markers which are worth investigating.

Let me know how you get on.


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