Another Look at the Sennelier Ink Brush Pen

April 24, 2024
Swatches on the verso page are me testing what ink pen or watercolors I want to mix with the Payne’s Gray ink brush. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal 7.75 x 9.75 inches.


I mentioned the other day that I picked up four of the Sennelier Ink Brush Pens. Since then I keep using them for warm up sketches.

Today you can see a warm-up sketch made with the Payne’s Gray brush pen.

I’ve included the video of the sketch session on YouTube at this link.

My original intention was to use the orange pen along with the Payne’s gray. Because of the water-soluble nature of these inks you are able to blend the ink.  I wanted to add colors in the dog’s beard. Instead I decided to play with a little touch of transparent orange and burnt sienna watercolors. I wrote the note with the orange brush pen.

If you enjoy writing with a brush pen I think you’ll enjoy these. There is enough spring in the brush tip that you can get controlled writing, but enough flexibility that you can get very spontaneous marks. It would be a fun brush for calligraphers to experiment with especially since the ink is listed by the company as pigmented and lightfast.

I have to say these brush pens are a lot of fun (see the other post for a detailed review). I’m enjoying finding a way to use the brushes and moderate the ink flow to give a lot of different values. Frustrated by how juicy the brush is I end up putting some ink on a paper towel and dragging the towel through some of the areas of the sketch to rough it up and knock back some of the paper color. You’ll see that in the video.

I kept pushing on this sketch because I was testing the brush, and then because I wanted to fix some areas. You’ll see all that too in the video. But in editing the video (and removing my allergy-related coughing) I think 18:45 would have been a great place to stop!

Different tools are going to give us different action—that action being dictated by brush tip technology and ink flow. While I’ll definitely sketch with this pen for warm ups until it’s empty, I’m not sure if I’ll get more of them. I’ll just have to see how I feel after a couple weeks of sketching with these pens. I’m already nostalgic for my Pentel Brush Pen with pigmented ink in the squeezy body. But we have to try new things out now and then, really give them a run through, and then set them aside.

For me I miss the Pentel Brush Pen when I don’t have one in my hand. That comes after over 20 years of daily use. I know what it can do. And I have fun with it. I’m still dazzled by the lines it makes as I draw merrily along.

But that length of usage also tells me what the brush pen makers have done. The Pentel company has really mastered the art of ink flow. I’m grateful about that everyday. And Pentel has a filament for their synthetic brush tips that is not only flexible and resilient (springing back to it’s original tip time and time again) but long lasting. I have actually used one tip on multiple barrels of ink (three was the maximum). But even if their brush tips lasted only one barrel of ink that brush pen tip performs exactly as I want it to at the end of that barrel—in other words, like new. I know, just from the short amount of testing I’ve been able to do so far, that the Sennelier brush tip doesn’t have that ability.  

I discuss my hard usage of my brush pens and tip durability at various points in the video.

You can watch the video on YouTube.

Please note when you do watch the video that I list the photo reference source incorrectly in the video. I was actually sketching from a photo by Star Long, on Sktchy. If you go to my Sktchy proflle you will see my drawing linked to Star Long’s photo. I only caught this mistake when I loaded my sketch onto my Sktchy profile after posting the video. Star Long has 86 wonderful inspiration photos I hope you’ll look into if you sketch. The muse I listed in the video also has fun photos from which I’ve sketched dogs, and hence the confusion on my part.

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