If you like bright colour, the fluidity of watercolour and the control of layering acrylic, you will love these pens! There are two types of pen: Line Makers in Black, Sepia and Graphite for drawing and detail (good for line and wash) with several nib sizes, and the Line Painters with permanent archival water based paint, available in 20 colours. They are opaque with an immense depth of colour which when wet, can be used like a watercolour. They are permanent when dry, making them excellent for layering. The Waterbrush is ideal for working the pigment.
1 I started with a pencil drawing of a face. The Line Makers are NOT totally smudge proof with water, so I added my dark lines last.
I found Bricklane to be the best skin tone and to ensure a delicate face I used a sable brush for this blending. By depressing the tip of the pen onto spare paper several times, I had a pool of colour to work with and laid shadows onto the face. Less is more here. Be fast to blend with a clean brush – when dry the colour won’t move! Once dry, using the Line Maker I added the eyebrows leaving white paper showing for highlights. I drew around the iris, smudged it with a damp brush then dropped in a little green. The paper was wet, so it ran and blended. I touched the damp brush to the black pen tip, thinned it by squiggling the brush into a drop of water on my spare paper and dropped that into the corners of the eyes for shadow. Pink outlined the lips then I smudged them too. Keep your brush clean with a pot of water between strokes.
2 I smudged green, orange and black around the eyes and then red onto the lips for a more dramatic look, then outlined the eyes with a black Line Maker, added the pupils and the eyelashes. By depressing the nib of the Yellow and holding it, colour flooded from the pen and I washed it all over the hair and the headdress with lots of water from the Waterbrush. Once dry, I used Orange and the Sepia Line Maker to create shadows on the earring and headdress.
3 I hadn’t made up my mind about the colour of the flick of hair over her left ear, so I used masking fluid which worked well. I then used Orange and the Bricklane to blend shadows into the hair with a wet Waterbrush using confident sweeps (allow each layer to dry between coats). Finally, for texture, I added dry lines with the pen for individual hairs.
4 I removed the masking fluid and the flick was painted in. I wasn’t happy about the definition on her shoulder, so popped a little shaping on the top edge. Her clothing was fun to do. Note the smooth depth of the blue on her top – I simply depressed the nib and held it down then spread the pigment with my sable. For the highlights on the blue braid, I coloured both ends of the strip, then quickly wiped the Waterbrush from one end to the other dragging the colour and leaving a lighter area. I used this technique for the highlight on the green too.
For the final bit of magic I added White highlights to her eyes and then, using the thin Black Line Maker for delicacy, I outlined the face. The thicker black Line Maker outlined everything else, and hey presto, she jumped right off the page! Some artists hate outlining but I love it.
• Line Makers
• Line Painters
• Sable brush
• Watercolour paper