Presse Café

I’m still working out the kinks with this brush pen. For one, I’m not waiting long enough enough for it to dry before adding watercolour. I mixed up a nice clean colour for the flesh tone but when I painted the face, the black ink melted into it and muddied up the colour. Maybe the solution for this would be to work on two drawings at once, letting the ink dry on one while starting the next. Also, I have to stop myself from adding too much tone with the pen because I think it works best when the darks are built up in layers of watercolour rather than dry brush ink. Still much experimentation to be done with this pen.


25 Comments on “Presse Café”

  1. Adele says:

    How about using water proof ink. I have both. I sometimes like the softening effect of water-soluble ink. But only if I’m making shadows or clouds


  2. Toni Cummins says:

    Im enjoying reading of your experimentation with the brush pen, Shari. I find i am too heavy handed with it and it just looks too solid so its good to hear your comments and some errors .. Keeping it real! Thank you


  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the brush pen, Shari. I never quite got used to mine and need to pick it up again!! Love this sketch though…the extra darks on the face make so much dimension with the shadow, so I’d go with happy accident! This is awesome! 👍🏻😃


  4. bcp457 says:

    And yet, this turns out looking so great…maybe not the way you visualized it, but certainly great!


  5. Dee says:

    Are you using a Pentel Pocket brush ? Mine always dries fast. Never have bleeding…hmmm.


  6. Jan Elliott says:

    The combination of the brush ink and the watercolor looks right to me; if the flesh tone were brighter, the light would look too direct for the angle of his head. I like it as is.


  7. wendymuldon says:

    Pens can be a little tricky sometimes. The best way for the ink to stay were it belongs is to doodle it first, let it dry and then paint. Don’t wet the paper first, or well, thats how I work it.

    Awesome work anyway!


  8. Anders says:

    I took your advice and bought some arches coldpress paper,it was funny because it was pn sale at amazon and so was the fluid blocks,i chose well.the arches coldpress is so forgiving cause if u lay down too much paint it comes off easily.when i painted at first while it was wet i thought it looked like crap.the next day i saw how it dried,total difference,im in also going to get some khadi paper.


  9. TonyU says:

    Like Dee, my Pentel dries really quickly, no trouble putting the washes straight on …. but I usually use mine on 130gm cartridge paper rather than watercolour paper. And like Wendy, I don’t wet the paper first.


    • Hi Tony. I did work on dry paper. It was in a Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, which is very good, thick paper. But maybe I should have let it dry longer. I won’t give up though.


  10. Beautiful sketch, love your experiments with the brush pen. The flesh tone looks great here, lends itself to shadow. Really nice, thank you for sharing.


  11. Russell says:

    Hi Shari. It depends on what type of ink you are using in the brush pen (I’m assuming here that you loaded the reservoir with ink). If you are using Sumi ink for example, then how much bleeding you get depends on the watercolor pigment being applied over it. Mineral colors (like Raw Sienna) will cause Sumi to bleed more, while synthetic colors (like Phthalo Blue) will not bleed at all. Paper choice isn’t really a factor, its how the ink functions with watercolor paper vs. another type of paper (like a “rice” paper). Essentially its the sizing that is allowing the ink to bleed when the watercolor is applied. Since a synthetic color is a “dye”, it passes through the ink to stain the paper, while the mineral color “floats” on the surface, re-wetting the ink.


    • Ah, that’s interesting Russell. I am using the ink cartridges that come with the Pentel Pen. They are listed as Permanent Pigment Ink cartridges. The paper is not watercolour paper, it’s in a sketchbook. So maybe that makes a difference too. But the facts about the pigment are really interesting. The first colour I used on the face was a diluted Burnt Sienna, so it was a mineral colour and maybe it did rewet the ink. I guess I’ll have to test your theory out on a sheet of paper and see what happens. I’ll let you know. Thanks for the great tip.


  12. Alison says:

    Thanks for sharing your trials and errors, most instructive. I like the colours and composition.


  13. Linda says:

    Beautiful sketch! Greetings from Montreal. 🙂


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