How to Paint With Watercolor Pen Ink

Updated February 21, 2017

Pen ink can be an ideal alternative to painting with acrylic or watercolour paints. If you are planning to paint with pen ink, keep in mind that this substance is very thick and it needs a thinner to make it smooth and easy to manage. The thinner will also allow the ink to look like watercolour paint when it's on paper. Pen ink comes in a variety of colours, from the traditional blue and black to rarer hues like red, green and pink. The speciality pen ink colours can be purchased at an arts-and-crafts store.

Compile all of your supplies. It is best to have everything in one place so you can have access to it immediately.

Thin the pen ink with water or watercolour paint that is already diluted with water. Pen ink is thick and water can help thin it. To make pen ink look like watercolour paint, it needs to be thinner and easier to use. Place a few drops of ink on a plastic plate with equal parts water and mix the two together. You should get a substance that looks like watercolour paint. Determine the amount of ink and water you would need based on your art project.

Add a wash to the ink to create special effects within your artwork. A wash also acts as a thinner. When you mix a wash and ink together, Total Model states that you have the ability to create shadows on your artwork. You can purchase washes at your local arts and crafts store.

Dip your paintbrush into the ink and place in on the paper or canvas. Begin painting. Ink comes in a variety of colours and you can use different ones to personalise your artwork. Go to an arts-and-crafts store to get ink in different colours. The pen ink that you will find in an arts-and-crafts store comes in a small bottle. If you are planning to use more than one colour, you will need to thin each one.

Wash the paintbrush with water and move on to the next colour. Paint with all of the desired colours until you complete your work of art. Allow the canvas or piece of paper to dry overnight.

Things You'll Need

  • Ink
  • Watercolour paint
  • Wash
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water
  • Paper or canvas
  • Plastic plate
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About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Ashley Leonard has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared on and various other websites. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marymount Manhattan College.