Posts Tagged ‘Bee Paper’

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Brush Pen Ink Test

02/18/2020

Though not crucial for doodles or writing in a journal, permanence is a necessity for use with watercolors. Inspired by Teoh’s pen comparison, I tested some brush pens that contained their original inks.

After allowing the ink to dry for a minute or two, I applied water to the right side of the swatches to see which ones would move. Two were not waterproof. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it can be exploited to make shadows or to add color to objects. Those that are waterproof won’t mix with paint placed next to or over them. That opens up a wealth of possibilities.

The test paper is Bee 100% Cotton Watercolor Paper. Though I use brush pens more often in a sketchbook, watercolor paper provides a better surface to test a pen that will get used with paint.

For drawing, the Kuretake 630-8670 due to its brush-like nib was the best for my purposes. Unfortunately, it seems to have been discontinued.

The Kuretake Cambio is readily available and comes in different nib widths and colors which makes it a bit more interesting for my doodle notebooks. It also has excellent flow and coverage. When I need to purchase another brush pen, the Cambio will be the one.

From top to bottom: Kuretake ZiG Cambio Shu-Boku in vermilion,  Sakura Pigma Sumi Brush XSDK-TA, Sakura Pigma Brush sdk-br#49, Kuretake 630-8670, Pilot S-50FDF-B,  Tombow ABT N15.

A few of the brush pens tested are available at Amazon. Inkophile earns a tiny commission when you use these links to make your purchases.

Kuretake ZIG XO50-10B Cambio Medium Brush Pen, Black

Kuretake Zig XO50F-10B Cambio Fine Brush Pen, Black

Kuretake ZIG XO50-070B Cambio Shu-Boku Medium Brush Pen, Vermillion

Kuretake ZIG XO50-091B Cambio Usuzumi Medium Brush Pen, Gray

Sakura Pigma Black Paint Brush Pen (XSDK-BR-49)

Tombow Dual Brush Pen, N15 – Black, Brush and Fine Tip Marker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bee Paper Can Be Quirky

12/16/2019

For those of you who play with watercolors, note that Bee Paper can have an issue that is frustrating. My former recommendation now comes with a caveat.

On the plus side, Bee is 100% cotton and 140 lb/300gsm just like any good quality watercolor paper. Cotton brings out the full range and depth of color that paint has to offer and the 140 lb. weight will reduce warping. That’s all to the good.

The best paper will cost more than student grade or pulp content paper, but to be sure, the investment is worth it. Cost-wise, Bee is at the low end for cotton paper. For swatches, brush practice or color exploration, it is perfectly fine. Just don’t be surprised if the paint does not perform as it should.

My issue with Bee paper is how it accepts the paint. Sizing prevents watercolor paper from absorbing too much fluid. Instead, the color remains on top of the surface where it pools, puddles and mingles with its neighbors in intriguing ways. Sizing is an essential component of good paper. When inadequately or improperly applied, paint blotches and flows in ugly, spidery lines like the worst feathering you ever saw from fountain pen ink and then some.

To demonstrate Bee Paper’s quirky behavior, the edge shows an irregular border that should have been smooth and even, just as the paint appears elsewhere.

The back of the paper reveals that paint soaked through. We may tolerate that with fountain pen ink, but it should not happen with watercolor paper especially when the paint is lightly applied. In the center of the same sheet, there is a 6mm by 3mm spot that did not take paint normally and bled through to the back of the paper. All of the problems would have been eliminated by a more consistent application of sizing.

Not every sheet has this issue but who wants to get well into a painting only to find the paper is flawed and the effort ruined. Note that Bee is fine for practice and experimentation, especially with new brushes and paints. My stock won’t go to waste. It will have its uses and eventually get replaced.

In the future, I will stick with Arches and Fabriano Artistico. They are readily available in the U.S. and never disappoint. A number of other companies offer 100% cotton paper and are worthy of consideration as well. Putting aside one brand is no great loss when there is such a variety of others from which to choose. 

Two Trees on Bee Paper

Brush practice with watercolors on Bee Paper scraps. Blue tree is 8.2 x 11cm. Autumn tree is 6.8 x 11.4cm.

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