If you’re reading this, you may be aware of the fact that I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY LOVE using Tombow Dual Brush Pens for watercolor. These brush pens have a water-based ink, meaning that they are water soluble. In other words, the color can move when water comes into contact with the ink. This is the opposite of alcohol-based inks that are commonly used in Sharpie markers!

Because I use these brush pens so often in my personal art AND I want to encourage you to try them out, I’m sharing some insight on how I actually use them to get different values.

What are values you ask? Values are a range of tones that span from pure white to pure black. Values are super important when trying to convey form or atmospheric perspective–but we can talk about those fancy shmancy words in a future blog post.

In this post, I want to just talk about values in general. With watercolor, we get different values by varying ratios of water + paint. Light values have more parts water than paint–this is because water is transparent, so we utilize the white of the paper to get lighter values. Medium values generally have equal parts water and paint. Dark values have more parts paint than water.

Below is an example of how I use 476 (Cyan) + a water brush to get different values.

Because the ink is in our pen, whenever I need dark values, I will usually just lay down the color directly on the paper filling out the space completely. I either run a damp brush over to smooth out any lines OR I leave it alone to make sure I don’t pick up any color, keeping the area super saturated.

For medium values, I make random marks with the brush pen, leaving some white spaces in the area. Then, I take a damp brush and blend out the entire space.

For light values, I don’t apply color onto the paper. Instead, I utilize a blending palette/tray and lay the color on there. Taking a soaking wet brush, I mix water with the color on the palette until I get the desired light value. Then, I pick up the color and paint the space.

Another way of achieving a range of values can be done by playing around with the colors available for the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. In other words, some colors are naturally light or dark. Sky blue is naturally a light value, whereas Navy blue is naturally a dark value.

In the picture below, I would consider 491 (Glacier Blue) a light value, 526 (True Blue) a medium value, and 569 (Jet Blue) a dark value in relation to one another. For each color, I laid down all the color directly onto the paper filling in the entire shape. Then, I blended each one with a damp brush. Without taking into consideration the amount of water/paint ratio, I can still achieve different values by simply choosing colors by their ‘natural value’!

And that’s how I go on about achieving different values with my Tombow Dual Brush Pens!

Tombow Dual Brush Pens comes in a variety of colors, 107 colors + a colorless Blender Pen! You can buy them here and use code Danison15 to get 15% off your order! You’re welcs!