What happened when the paintbrush married the pen?

Trying out different inks in my sketchbook
Trying out different inks in my sketchbook

Why they had a baby, of course.  I just discovered an art tool called the fine line painting pen by Loew Cornell. It’s advertised as a simple yet high-quality painting pen used to draw fine lines, or for lettering when a liner brush just won’t do.  The only instructions were to fill the pen with ink or paint thinned to an inky consistency and start drawing.

Trying out different inks in my sketchbook
Trying out different inks in my sketchbook

I got out my sketchbook to try it out, grabbing some FW Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic and added a couple of drops to the painting pen well.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get the acrylic to flow out of the tip of the pen.  I was unable to draw a single line.  The acrylic was too thick to flow through the small pen tip.  I switched to the thinner basic FW Liquid Acrylic Ink, and though it did work (yellow ink), the ink had small coagulated bits that clogged the pen tip.

Next, I used a thinner product called Liquitex Professional Ink!  This product (the green and violet inks on the sketchbook) worked well but the paint color lightened the longer I drew with the pen as if the color pigment had settled to the bottom of the pen well making the first lines the darkest while continuing lines got lighter the longer I used the pen.  I would add more ink, and it would be dark again. I tried shaking the ink bottle first before loading the pen well but I got the same uneven results.

The Loew Cornell Painting Pen
The Loew Cornell Fine Line Painting Pen with Cleaning Tool

Rather discouraged, I switched to my last option, Golden’s High Flow Acrylics.  Lo and behold, the clouds parted, the sun shined through, and the angels sang.  This product (the magenta ink) flowed effortlessly through the pen with consist pigment coverage.  I also tried out some white high flow acrylic on a black swatch with good results.

To complete my experiment, I tried using the painting pen on different types of paper and canvas.  It worked beautifully on all surfaces including those covered with acrylic paint, nu-pastels, and more.  The only exceptions were the areas first covered with matte medium (which just repelled the ink from its surface).

Warning:  Be sure to rinse the pen as soon as you are finished and use the cleaning tool provided to remove any paint from the delicate tip.  If paint dries in the tip, you’ll never get it out.  You can pick up your own pen at most art stores or Amazon for about $9.

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