Get to know Artists Pens – Brush Pens

Brush pens offer more variety in nib size and shape than fine liners. Great for creating quick visualisations of ideas, these pens allow artists to travel light, yet still create artwork with the finish and diversity of a paintbrush.

Brush Pens offer much more variation in line width than a fineliner pen. A fineliner has a uniform width nib – instead brush pens have a nib that is wide at the base and tapers to a fine tip. You can achieve line work of various widths by applying different levels of pressure as you sketch – pressing down firmly will create the thickest line. Whereas applying light pressure will give a finer line. This property is very useful for calligraphers, cartoonists, designers and illustrators but is also great for fine art application.

Sakura Pigma Brush Pen Artwork by Dan Hogman
Brush pen art by Dan Hogman using Sakura Brush Pen

Brush pens have a more springy, responsive nib and generally come in two different varieties – a brush-shaped fibre nib or a brush tip made up of individual fibres. Of these two types the individual fibre tip is most like a genuine brush, as all the strands taper to a point and splay as you apply pressure. The further these fibres spread apart, the thicker your line work will be.

Difference between a true brush tip and a felt brush tip pen
The pen tip on the left has a true brush tip. The pen tip on the left is one solid piece of brush-shaped felt

We stock a diverse range of brush pens – both water-soluble and waterproof, pigment and dye-based – suitable for all kinds of mark making techniques. Some are filled with translucent, water-colour like ink while others have more opaque, paint like ink. Our stock includes:

Click to find out more about a particular brush, or read below to compare all of them!

Water-soluble Brush Pens

A water-soluble brush pen contains ink that can be manipulated with water to achieve gradated or watercolour like effects. They’re great for plein air painting trips if you can’t carry a palette of paints with you. All you need is a water brush or wet brush and you can create all kinds of effects. Use them to create quick washes or add a splash of colour to your sketches. They’re also fantastic for creating two-toned calligraphy and hand lettering.

Karin Brushmarker PRO Brush Pens

Karin Brushmarker Pro Brush Pen Nib Detail

Karin Brushmarker PRO Pens are the perfect pen for hand lettering and calligraphy. Their water-based formulation means they are also great for creating watercolour-like techniques. They have a quite a long, thick tip in comparison to our other brush pens, which makes them fantastic for creating bold sweeps of colour. Their ink is dye based, so any artwork you create with them is best kept away from strong sunlight. Their nibs are filled with lots of juicy ink – so be careful when you lay down colour as they can take a while to dry. This is beneficial as it gives you more time to blend colour. You can find out more about these pens in our Introducing NEW Karin Brushmarker PRO Pens blog post.

Assorted Karin Brushmarker Pro Pens with blended wash

Karin Brushmarker PRO pens are available individually in 60 colours and one colourless blender, as well as a variety of sets.

Karin Brushmarker PRO Brush Pens have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Karin Brushmarker Pro Pens

Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pens

Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pen Nib Detail

Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pens are filled with dye-based, water-soluble ink that is perfect for adding a burst of colour to your sketchbook work or calligraphy. They have the thickest barrels of all our brush pens. This does make them easier to hold, but it can be difficult to create seamless strokes as you change angles. Although their tip appears fine, they can create thick lines when you apply enough pressure. You can also use them with Ecoline Liquid Watercolour Ink. Try dipping the nib into a different colour ink to create two toned lettering! These pens aren’t as juicy as Karin markers, but their drying time does still allow a short period for blending. They can still be manipulated with water once dry, but you may find it difficult to fully lift some colours.

Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pens diluted with water

Ecoline Brush Pens are available individually, or in a variety of sets. There are sets of assorted colours and also themed sets of analogous colours.

Ecoline Brush Pens have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Ecoline Brush Pens

Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers

Winsor & Newton Watercolour Brush Pen Nib Detail

Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers allow you to enjoy the beauty of watercolours, with the control and precision of a pen. Each marker is dual tipped – one end has a sturdy bullet nib and the other has a springy brush nib. Although these markers are watersoluble, they are much easier to blend on certain papers. Both Winsor & Newton Watercolour Papers and Bockingford Watercolour Paper provide a surface which enhances their lifting, blending and ink flow.

Assorted Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers and watercolour wash

These pens can be used with water when wet or dry, but it is much easier to manipulate the pigment on paper while they are still wet. Watercolour markers are also pigment, rather than dye, based so they offer fantastic lightfastness. Your work should say as vibrant as the day it was created. As with the Ecoline pens, they do dry fairly quickly, but give enough time for blending.

Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers

Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Pens

Caran d'Ache Fibralo Brush Pen Nib Detail

Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Pens are a great choice for artists of all abilities. Their formulation has a food grade, dye base and is completely water soluble. You can use use them for all kinds of creative applications including drawing, sketching, illustration and even calligraphy. Each Fibralo pen has a brush-shaped fibre tip that is supple and bends and folds back to its original shape. This quality allows you to test out different line making techniques. Although their colour is ultra-bright it is not lightfast, they are ideal for sketchbook work or quick compositions rather than work to display. Their colour is easy to blend and layer to create good tonal range.

Caran D'ache Fibralo Brush Pens Wallet of 15 Colours diluted with water

While these pens are water soluble, it can be quite difficult to fully lift some of the colours – especially if they have been left to dry completely. It can mean that some individual pen strokes remain on your work, even after you apply water. These were one of the quickest drying pens we tested – so for seamless blending you’ll need to work with them quickly.

Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Pens have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Available in assorted wallets of 10 or 15 colours.

Shop online for Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Pens

Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens

Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pen Nib Detail

Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens allow you to create artwork anywhere, anytime. They are available in a range of colours, in assorted sets. You can easily achieve varied line work as these pens have a responsive nylon tip. Try angling the pen and applying changing pressure to create diverse lines. They have a water and dye based ink formulation. Dyes fade under light, so Koi pens are most suitable for quick sketches or work kept in sketchbooks. The colour is easy to blend and layer to create gradated effects.

Illustration Koi coloring brush pens with botanical illustration

Although they can be blended with water – the Koi Colouring Blender Pen is best to achieve smooth gradients and seamless washes. You stand more chance of creating a smooth wash the wetter the ink is – so don’t leave it to dry too long before blending. The drying time will vary across different papers.

Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Koi Colouring Brush Pens

Waterproof Brush Pens

Waterproof brush pens have ink that is permanent once dry. They are great if you are looking for a water-resistant pen for combining with watercolour or ink. The ink of waterproof pens can still be manipulated while it is wet. This quality is great for creating watercolour like effects that are permanent once dry. You will have limited time to play with the colours though! Once it is dry it won’t budge.

Faber Castell PITT Artists Brush Pens

Faber Castell PITT Artists' Brush Pen Nib Detail

Faber-Castell PITT Brush Pens offer the beauty of a brush but with the spontaneity of a pen. They are filled with the same permanent pigmented Indian ink as their PITT fineliner counterparts. Each pen has a brush-shaped fibre tip nib that is fully responsive to changes in pressure and direction; allowing you to create a variety of shapes and marks. This popular pen combines all the benefits of traditional ink painting but with the convenience of a disposable pen.

Faber Castell PITT Artists Brush Pens in Black, Sepia and Sanguine with watercolour wash

When dry, the ink is completely waterproof, so you can layer colour without disturbing any line work underneath. You can manipulate the ink while it is still wet – if you apply a wet brush you can create interesting wash effects that are permanent once dry. They are fairly quick drying, so you’ll need to work with them quickly to properly lift the colour with water.

Faber-Castell PITT Brush Pens are available in Black, Sanguine and Sepia.

Faber-Castell PITT Brush Pens have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Faber-Castell PITT Artists’ Brush Pens

Sakura Pigma Brush Pens

Sakura Pigma Brush Pen Nib Detail

Sakura Pigma Brush Pens are a marker that writes like a pen and paints like a brush. Like their Pigma Micron equivalents, they are filled with archival Pigma ink that is chemically stable, waterproof and fade resistant. This ink is more stable than dye based inks, which will fade over time.

Each pen has a brush-shaped fibre nib. You can hold these pens comfortably, which makes it easy to create marks at any angle. A popular choice with professionals and hobbyists alike, these pens don’t smear, feather or bleed-through on most papers; use them for a variety of applications including scrapbooking, calligraphy, graphic arts, illustration and decorative projects.

Sakura Pigma Brush Pens with Watercolour Wash

Although Pigma ink is completely waterproof when dry, it can be manipulated with water while wet. They are similar in drying time to Faber-Castell PITT Artist Brush Pens, so work quickly if you want to try using them with water.

All nine colours from the Sakura Pigma Brush Pen Wallet mixed with water when wet
All nine colours from the Brush Pen Wallet mixed with water when wet

Available individually in Black, or as a wallet of 9 assorted colours.

Sakura Pigma Brush Pens have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Sakura Pigma Brush Pens

Winsor & Newton Promarker Brush

Winsor & Newton Brushmarker (Promarker Brush) Brush Pen Nib Detail

The Winsor & Newton Brushmarkers (soon to be rebranded as the Promarker Brush ) are a range of dual tipped pens with one brush and one chisel nib. Their ink is made from an alcohol base and high quality dyes, which is easy to blend on a variety of surfaces. Unlike cheaper felt tip pens or low grade markers, the Promarker Brush creates smooth, even and streak-free colour. These pens are also highly versatile – you can use them on a number of surfaces including paper, card, glass, wood, acetate and plastic! The Winsor & Newton Bleedproof Marker Pad really brings out their best properties. They are great for comic artists, designers and illustrators – or artists who’s work is intended for reproduction rather than permanence.

Assorted Winsor & Newton Brushmarker (Promarker Brush) Pens on marker illustration of a feather

Winsor & Newton Brushmarkers have a solid, felt brush-shaped fibre nib.

Shop online for Winsor & Newton Promarker Brush Pens

Uni POSCA PCF-350 Brush Tip Paint Marker

Uni POSCA PCF 350 Brush Tip Paint Pen Nib Detail

Uni POSCA PCF-350 Brush Tip Paint Markers have a tip that is made from individual fibres. This type of brush tip brings versatility – it’s perfect for getting into corners, filling gaps and for creating solid strokes of fluid colour. All in the same way a traditional brush would!

These pens are filled with an opaque, water-based pigmented acrylic paint, so the colours are fully lightfast. They’re great for artists who are looking to create bold, vibrant colours without the translucency of watercolour or ink. The button on the end of the pen can be used to control the flow of paint to the nib. If you are looking to create fine, precise strokes then let in as little paint as is necessary. If you work with loose strokes and splashes then over-saturate the nib and really let the paint flow. These pens are great for all kinds of projects. You can use them on traditional surfaces as well as rock, clay, plastic, metal or fabric!

Uni POSCA PCF-350 Brush Tip Paint Marker on painted background

You can use these pens with water while the paint is still wet. This can be used to create all kinds of interesting watercolour-like techniques. When the ink dries it will be fully permanent. You will need to work quickly if using them with water as they have a quick-drying acrylic base.

Uni POSCA PCF-350 Brush Markers have a true brush tip – made from individual fibres that taper to a point.

Shop online for the Uni POSCA PCF-350 Brush Tip Paint Marker

Pentel Brush Pen

Pentel Brush Pen Nib Detail

The Pentel Brush Pen features a durable, man-made brush tip comprised of individual synthetic fibres. Based on the design of a traditional Japanese Fude pen these pens offer a quick and clean alternative to traditional ink painting. The nib is made up on individual synthetic filaments that behave like the hairs of a normal paintbrush. The harder you press the more the fibres separate – adjusting the amount of pressure can create a variety of different marks. The fibres are very durable, so the pen will stand up to considerable wear and tear. Unlike most of our other brush pens the Pentel Brush Pen comes with a refill. There’s no need to buy another pen once it runs out of ink.

Pentel Brush Pen with Brush Pen Strokes

Each cartridge contains long lasting, pigment ink that is both waterproof when dry and fade resistant. It is a portable and indispensable tool for many artists!

Available in one size with 2 refills included. Set of 4 black refills also available.

The Pentel Brush Pen has a true brush tip – made from individual fibres that taper to a point.

Shop online for the Pentel Brush Pen

Comparison of Brush Pen Tips

We stock brush pens in all different shapes and sizes. The thickness of the nib will affect the types of marks you are able to make. Below you can see a comparison of all our brush pens side by size, along with swatch tests for their water-solubility.

Assorted artists' brush pens plus stroke and colour swatches
Brush TipFibre TipDye BasedPigment BasedWatersolubleWaterproof
(when dry)
Karin Brushmarker Pro Brush Pens
Royal Talens Ecoline Brush Pens
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers
Caran d’Ache Fibralo Brush Pens
Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens
Faber-Castell PITT Artists’ Brush Pens
Sakura Pigma Brush Pens
Winsor & Newton Brushmarkers
Uni POSCA PCF 350 Brush Marker
Pentel Brush Pen

Visit the Brush Pens category on our website to find all of our brush pens and markers in one place.

2 Responses

  1. Confused! I paint in watercolours en plein air. Preparitory work and post watercolour are laid down with black or sepia ink pens. Generally a 0.8 size pen tip, not huge width of lines or even very fine lines.
    I’m interested in these brush pens but haven’t a clue which would suit my style. I need to be able to paint over these lines, when necessary, without smudging.
    I’ve read your very informative article but still not clear which type would suit me.
    Look forward to hearing from you. Colin.

    • Hi Colin, thanks for your comment. Firstly, if you are working with watercolour and need your line work to remain smudge free you would definitely need to opt for one of the waterproof pens. I’d say of the pens listed the ones you’d need to be looking at would be either the Faber Castell PITT Artists Brush Pens or the Sakura Pigma Brush Pens. Both of these pens use pigment based ink that is completely waterproof when dry. The nibs on both these pens are a little different – the PITT brush is more rigid, whereas the Sakura Pigma is more flexible. If you’re looking to create more precise lines, without too much variation I would say to go with the PITT. If you don’t mind a bit of extra flexibility and variation in line then perhaps the Sakura Pigma Brush pen would be better.

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