Experimenting with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens

HEY FRIENDS! I’m back today with a different sort of project. You know that Copic markers are my first love, but sometimes I just want to do something different. As I’ve confessed before, I am a frustrated watercolorist. I use good quality paints, brushes, and watercolor paper and the results are still hit and miss. The reality is that I’m better with ink than paint and with markers instead of a brush. So I decided to try the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens to see what results I could get. While I am no expert at this, but I’m pretty happy with the initial results.

Rowhouse Greetings | Birdie with Message by Stamping Bella using Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens

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Today’s project features

You know me – I have full set syndrome BIG TIME, but I settled with a set of 12 pens. Why? Because a set of 12 was all that was available at my local craft & art stores and I had to satisfy my “I’ve got to have it NOW!” obsession to try these pens. So I bought them and at the moment I’m challenging myself to see how far I can get with just these pens. Of course, next week I may cave and buy a bigger set, but for now this is what I’ve got.

As a sidenote, I thought about ordering the pens from Amazon, especially since they would have been delivered next day. However, I read some of the Amazon reviews and people complained about receiving dry pens, used pens, damaged pens, etc. So while the sets on Amazon were both larger and cheaper, I decided to purchase directly from my local highly reputable art supply store (Dick Blick, in case you were wondering). I’ve never had an issue with anything that I bought in the store or ordered from them online so I went with a known retailer for my purchase.

I watched a lot of YouTube videos before I bought the set to see what watercolor paper I should use. Most reviewers recommended saving the good stuff like Arches Cold Press for other projects. The pens distribute water-based ink rather than paint so the ink gets absorbed quickly into the paper, leaving you with less time to dilute and blend. Here, I used Strathmore Watercolor 400 Series, a mid quality Cold Press paper that was highly recommended, relatively inexpensive, and easy to find locally. The pad I purchased was 5.5″ x 8.5″ so I can get two A2 card fronts out of each sheet with no waste.

So here’s another confession. I own a full set (of course!) of Karin Brushmarker Pro pens. I’ve even taught a class with them, but I’ve never been quite comfortable with them. But finding the right paper for the Zig pens has prompted me to go back and try them again. The moral of the story is that you just have to find the paper that works for you, whether you’re using Copic markers, colored pencils or any other medium and you might not find the right one on the first try.

Rowhouse Greetings | Birdie with Message by Stamping Bella using Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens

I stamped the image onto the watercolor paper with a waterproof ink. I like using Versafine Clair [ DB | SSS ] which has always been a favorite of mine. Just make sure that it is thoroughly dry so that you don’t smear the ink while you are coloring. Don’t ask me know I know ….

You can either color directly with the pens on your paper or add small amounts of ink and blend it out with a water brush. I did both. For the flowers, I colored directly, blending the red and yellow roughly midway. For the bird, I added small amounts of color and blended it out with water.

I have to admit that when you only have 12 pens, color selection is pretty much decided for you. If you want a blue bird – pick the blue pen. If you want a darker blue bird, add a second layer of color. Want a lighter blue, blend it out with water. Hmm – I might be onto something here!

Anyway – that’s all from me for now. I’m headed back to the craft room for some more experimentation! See you again soon —

Rowhouse Greetings | Nancy Sheads


ZIG Clean Color Real Brush Pens: 030, 031 (body) 025, 050 (face); 022, 050 (beak & feet); 025, 050 (flowers); 040, 041 (leaves); 050, 060 (basket); 022 (heart)

Rowhouse Greetings | Birdie with Message by Stamping Bella | Color Map for Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens

[Compensated affiliate links used when possible. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Items marked with an asterisk (*) were provided by a store or the manufacturer. All other items were personally purchased.]

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