How To Use Watercolor and Pen Together

I love drawing my illustrations with pen and watercolor. I also love painting my florals and then giving them a pen outline. While using Watercolor and pen together there are a few key points you need to follow and I’ll explain them below!

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Affiliate links have been used at no extra cost to the reader. You can read my full disclosure here. I am a part of the Tombow USA design team, and receive products from them.

What pens to use with watercolor?

Black pens come in two kinds- one with an oil based ink and an other water based ink. Some pens might have a hybrid ink that has some water properties- but we will treat them as a water based ink itself here.

Oil based pens will not bleed at all with watercolors. Water based pens will bleed and spread just like a watercolor.


Do you ink before or after watercolor?

This is a personal preference. You can ink before or after watercoloring. There are pens that will allow you to do both.

Personally, I try to ink before watercoloring. The main reason for this is time. I don’t have to wait for my painting to dry before drawing my lines.

If you watercolor first, you need to wait till the watercolor dries on the paper completely before coming back and outlining with ink. Whereas, if I outline first, I can paint over it almost immediately as the pen dries on the paper super quick compared to watercolor. There is no right or wrong way to use Watercolor And Pen together, it is just a preference.


What do you use to outline a watercolor? Which is the best pen to use with watercolor?

When you are using Watercolor And Pen Together you have two options.

Pen first, Watercolor second: Use an oil-based pen like this MONO Twin Permanent Marker

Watercolor first, Pen second: You can use any black pen! I like using fine-tipped MONO Drawing Pens or the MONO Twin Permanent Marker too. Make sure your paper is completely dry to the touch before outlining!

Overall the best pen to use with watercolor regardless of whether you watercolor first or second is the MONO Twin Permanent Marker or any black pen that uses an oil based ink.


Can you erase pencil under watercolor?

Sometimes, yes. I find that I can often erase pencil lines from under my watercoloring. But not all the time. This mainly depends on the pigmentation of your watercolors and the paper quality of your sketchbook.

If you can, you should make it a practice to erase all of your pencil lines after inking and before watercoloring.

watercolor illustration

Can you use watercolor over pen?

Yes! You can watercolor over pen as long as you are using an oil-based black pen. My most used oil-based black pen is this MONO Twin Permanent marker for this Watercolor And Pen technique.


Watch my start to finish YouTube video:


My most used supplies for Watercolor and pen:

My favorite Watercolor And Pen combo are these pretty Tombow Dual Brush pens + MONO Twin Permanent marker. The exact products are linked below image.

watercolor and pen supplies

SUPPLIES | Bee Paper Super Deluxe Sketch Pad http://amzn.to/2D31e60​ | Markers http://amzn.to/2qS49g0​ | Mono Twin Tip Permanent Marker, Black http://amzn.to/2D3LtvH


More Watercolor and pen examples:

  1. BOTANICAL WATERCOLOR TUTORIAL: HOW TO PAINT A DOLL’S EYE PLANT
  2. MONOCHROMATIC FLOWER PAINTING TUTORIAL + VIDEO
  3. EASY WATERCOLOR PEN FLOWERS: STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL
  4. WATERCOLOR CRAYON RESIST: THE EASIEST + CHEAPEST MASKING TECHNIQUE THERE IS
  5. HOW TO PAINT A COLORFUL WATERCOLOR STATE ART VIDEO

Smitha Katti creativespace e1577349763159

Hi I’m Smitha! I live in Minnesota with my husband and two daughters. You’ll always find me painting florals in my sketchbook. And I love the sheer joy of making something with just my hands! But my bigger love is capturing it all on camera Read more.

Thanks for stopping by today! If you learnt something from this tutorial, do share this post with a friend or on social media! Tag me @smithakatti #smithakatti I’d love to see what you create!

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