What’s The Difference Between Traditional Watercolor, Watercolor Brush Pens, And Watercolor Pencils?

Art supplies and mediums are now more diverse than ever. Thanks to modern innovations and creative product design, we can now explore new ways of creating art and enjoy more avenues for self-expression.

The unexpected downside, however, is that some of us could easily get confused about these emerging coloring mediums. How many times have you been to an art supplies store only to leave empty-handed because you weren’t sure which material to get?

We know. We’ve been there.

Watercolor Brush Pens vs Traditional Watercolor vs Watercolor Pencils

One of the most common things that art enthusiasts want to know is the difference between watercolor brush pens, traditional watercolor, and watercolor pencils.

All of these supplies have an element of watercolor, so it’s easy to confuse one for the other.

If you’re one of those people who’ve scratched their heads about these mediums at one point, don’t worry. This post will point out their differences and similarities, so you’ll know which one to get the next time you go shopping for art supplies!

Traditional Watercolor

Traditional watercolor is probably one of the oldest art mediums out there. Historical records show that people have been using watercolor for art since the 1400s…perhaps even earlier!

What makes traditional watercolor so special that it continues to thrive to this day?

Well, there are a few reasons. One of them is the fact that watercolor is very versatile. You can use it to create many different styles, from soft, gradient washes to solid colors. It’s also more accessible than other painting mediums like oil or acrylic.

Another reason is that traditional watercolor can be packaged in a lot of different ways. They can come in tubes, pans or even in liquid form so you can have the freedom to pick the version that’s best for you and your setup.

Lastly, this material is waterbased. Watercolor uses pigments with a water-soluble binder, making it easy to activate and use. You can play around with different styles and techniques by simply adjusting the amount of water and by using different brushes.

Since the pigments are waterbased, you don’t have to worry about making a huge mess; watercolor comes off of your hands or clothes easily. On top of that, it doesn’t emit funky fumes.

Now, like any other old-school art medium out there, traditional watercolor has its own downsides. For one thing, mastering watercolor can take a lot of time. Doing backgrounds and washes can be fun and easy, but adding in more precise details can be challenging since watercolor tends to run around the page.

There’s a lot of trial and error involved in obtaining the right color, too. Since you have to control the amount of water and pigment that goes onto your brush, it can be difficult to reach a consistent color and opacity result, especially at the beginning.

Lastly, you have to switch between various brushes to achieve a certain effect. Quality brushes can cost a lot of money and take up an effort to maintain. If you’re keen on learning how to paint with traditional watercolor, you gotta be ready to put in both time and cash.

Overall, traditional watercolor is a really great material to work with. But what if there’s another medium that allows you to create the same style and effects without the hassle? What if there’s something more convenient than traditional watercolor? This is where watercolor brush pens come into the picture and we’ll talk all about them in detail below.

Watercolor Brush Pens

Ink brushes have been an integral part of Asian culture for centuries, but it wasn’t until recently that brush pens were invented.

For many art enthusiasts, the modern brush pen was like a revelation. It combined the versatility of the traditional ink brush with the convenience of a modern pen. Unlike old-school ink brushes, brush pens have a built-in cartridge within the barrel, so you don’t have to dip them in ink. All you have to do is pop the brush pens open and paint!

Watercolor brush pens are especially cool. They use the same water-based pigments as in regular watercolor, so you can enjoy doing awesome effects and techniques without the hassle of setting up a lot of supplies. It’s like having the best of both worlds!

With watercolor brush pens, you don’t need to switch from one brush to another. They have a versatile tip that can produce both bold and fine strokes, depending on how much pressure you put on the pen. This makes them great not only for coloring but also for modern calligraphy and brush lettering.

Compared to traditional watercolor, brush pens dry much faster than traditional watercolor, lessening paper damage in the process. They also yield more consistent color results.

Water is optional for watercolor brush pens. If you want to dilute the pigments, you can dip them in a bit of H2O, but they can work just fine without it, too.

ColorIt’s 24-piece watercolor brush pen set is refillable, so you don’t have to worry about the ink drying out, either.

That being said, watercolor brush pens are perfect for both beginners and seasoned colorists alike. They combine the versatility of traditional watercolor with the convenience of a pen, so it’s a great medium to use if you want to have the best of both worlds.

Watercolor Pencils

Watercolor pencils have baffled a lot of coloring enthusiasts over the years. Is it watercolor? Is it a pencil? Could it be both?

The answer is yes, watercolor pencils are actually a cross between watercolor and colored pencils. It’s a versatile art medium that can be used for both drawing and painting.

When dry, you can use watercolor pencils to draw and sketch, as you would any other colored pencil. The catch is that its water-soluble pigments can be activated when they come in contact with water. When you apply a damp brush on them, they instantly turn into watercolors. Pretty cool, right?

You can apply watercolor pencils in a number of ways. You can draw directly on paper and then apply a damp brush afterward. You can also make a “dry” palette on thick paper, activate the pigments using a brush and then apply your strokes thereafter.

Watercolor pencils are great if you like to both draw and paint. They do need stiffer brushes to better manipulate the pigments around the paper. They also dry much faster and tend to be lighter than traditional watercolor, so make sure to practice layering first before creating a piece.

Final Thoughts

There you have it: the differences and similarities between traditional watercolor, watercolor brush pens and watercolor pencils. Each medium has its own set of pros and cons, so weigh those out before making a purchase. The choice will ultimately depend on you!

If you want our opinion on the best medium among the three, our money is definitely on the watercolor brush pens. They’re convenient, versatile and have all the best qualities of watercolor in the form of a pen. What more could you ask for?

Have fun exploring these art mediums! If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with your family and friends!

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