Getting started with paint pens

I get asked a lot of questions about the pens that I use in my work so here are 5 tips for gettiing started with paint pens.

Posca paint pens are essential to my work process

Which Brand?

I use mainly posca pens and a few liquitex acrylic markers. I haven’t tried many other brands because Posca are just so good. They come in a range of colours (55 in total) and different nib sizes – it’s hard to see how any others could be better!

bright florals with posca paint pens

Packs or singles?

You definitely get better value for money if you buy a pack. The good thing about packs is that the colours have alreday been selected because they work well together. However, if you want to use slightly more unusual colour combinations in your work you might not get the range you need in a pack. So I would say buy a pack to test them out first and then top it up by buying singles of your absolutely favourite colours.

Posca paint pens
Paint pens are opaque so you can layer up different colours

Which nib size?

Posca pens have 8 nib sizes and 5 different shapes. I mainly use the PC-3M bullet shaped pens and I also have a few finer white pens (PC1M) for adding fine details. The perfect nib size for you will depend how big you work and the amount of detail you want – Try before you buy – most shops will have testers that you can use but you may have to ask at the cash desk.

bright and colourful collage seascape with paint pen details
I use paint pens to add blocks of colour and also finer details

What surfaces can I work on?

The great thing about paint pens is that you can work on pretty much any surface so this makes them ideal for mixed media work. Make sure that the surface you are going to work on is dry first otherwise the pens may not work properly. If you’re working on top of collage then wait for any glue to dry before you apply as your paper may rip with the combination of glue / paint pen.

Painted paper collage with paint pen details

Don’t get too carried away!

I warn you now that buying paint pens can be addictive – which is great if you have an unlimited budget but if you don’t then try not to go overboard to start off with. Just buy a few colours and see how you get on with them first.

Hope that helps you get started with paint pens…any questions just ask below and I’ll be posting a few technique videos on Instagram soon. For even more inspiration have a look at my paint pen Pinterest board which has projects to try and work from other paint pen artists. Enjoy!

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