If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me about these brush pens, I’d be super rich… but I’ve never even tried them.
I get asked about the Camlin Brush Pens all the time. Most commonly the questions are from my followers in India – I hear these brush pens are a lot easier to find there. I had never seen these in Canada before, but I was able to track some down on Amazon and ordered them. I wanted to be able to try them and give you a full review.
I had never used these brush pens before I sat down to do this review, so all of the thoughts and comments in this review were immediate responses to testing out these brush pens.
First Things First…
The links below may be affiliate links where appropriate. This means that your purchase through these links may result in a few cents in payment to me, to support creating further resources like this one! That being said, I will never suggest supplies that I do not personally use and fully recommend.
- Camlin Brush Pens
- Canson XL Marker Paper
- Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper – Arches and Fabriano are both great options
Rather watch than read? No problem! If you prefer to watch my thoughts and testing in real time, click the video to watch. If you prefer to read about them instead, you can read my full review below.
Let’s Jump In!
I purchased the 24 set of Camlin brush pens, but I know they also come in smaller sets (12 and 6). When I purchased them, I decided if I’m going to go and do the thing, I might as well go big, ya know?
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the shades and all the different colours. I often like pens with similar shades of the same colour for blending. I had high hopes for these from the get go!
I used Canson XL Marker Paper to try these out. The Camlin package says you can use them with water too, so I tried them on some hot press watercolour paper. More on that later. For starters though, I tried them on the marker paper as brush pens.
I started with my favourite colour: black. As soon as I pulled the cap off, I noticed that these have pretty big brush tips even though the pens themselves aren’t very big. For brush calligraphy, the bigger the pen tip is, the more flexible it is. Super flexible pen tips can be more challenging to control especially for beginners. I assumed I would probably have to write pretty large with these to make it work.
Okay yeah. These are reaaaaaally flexible. I would never recommend writing small with these. Even writing really big with them, I wish I had been writing bigger. It was hard to get the pen to write properly when I wasn’t writing big enough.
They were really juicy though, which is great for blending and for using with water. Look at that sheen! I really like that in a brush pen.
For my next test, I decided to write a bit bigger.
It was clear that my upstrokes with these needed a little bit of pressure to prevent them from being super shaky.
The brush pens were definitely better when I wrote a bit bigger.
Overall, the Camlin Brush Pens were pretty much what I expected: a pretty significant size tip and pretty flexible. The colours were really pretty, which I liked too. I didn’t test all 24 for this review (it would have taken me forever), but I was definitely impressed with the ones I tested.
The pens were definitely juicy too. They were kind of like Karin markers – more pressure at the top let out a lot of ink, and then it got lighter towards the bottom when I let off the pressure. It was kind of like an automatic ombre effect.
So far so good. I liked them on the marker paper, but it would be really difficult to write small with these. I definitely would recommend using big pen worksheets with these. What I mean is – I offer a small pens version and a big pens version of my workbooks. If you’re planning on using these brush pens with those workbooks, make sure you go with the big pens option. Honestly though, even then, these brush pens might be a little tricky with the big pens workbooks.
Testing Them With Water…
Next up, I wanted to try them on some hot pressed watercolour paper. I used hot pressed paper because it’s less gritty. If you use brush pens on cold pressed watercolour paper, the paper will ruin your brush pens over time.
I decided to write a few strokes with these pens and then smooshed them with water to see what would happen.
I used a Pentel Aquash Water Brush – a water brush that you can fill up with water. I squeezed out some water and gave it a go.
These brush pens were definitely usable with water. It almost looked like I just continued to use the actual brush pen, which was pretty fun. The colour was just getting less intense. You can do a lot of really cool techniques and blending with that! I really liked that.
Overall, these worked really well with water. If you wanted, you could write a word with water (with a water brush like the one I used) and then just dip the Camlin Brush Pens throughout your word in water to make some really cool effects.
The last thing I wanted to try was blending.
I wrote out the word “hot” in yellow first. I wrote it really basic on the page.
Hack: When blending, you want to write your word in the lighter color first.
After writing in yellow, I added a little bit of red at the bottom. I just kind of doodled it on there – I didn’t need much.
Then I took my Pentel Aquash Water Brush and blended. These blended super well together.
Hack: When blending, start at the bottom, dip into your darker colour, and pull it up towards the top.
These blended really nicely. Some brush pens don’t blend well. The paper pills and gets mushy. You just have to do too much smooshing to get a good blend and make it look good. These blended really nicely right off the bat.
Camlin Brush Pens definitely got a high score from me on blendability.
This was a really fun technique. If you have these pens, give it a try!
And that’s a wrap!
Overall these pens were fun. They were really good for watercolour techniques and painting projects. However, I wouldn’t use them for brand new beginner calligraphy practice since they’re so flexible. I’m pretty heavy handed and prefer a rigid tip, and a lot of beginners feel the same.
If you’re brand new to modern calligraphy, these might not be the very best option. But if they’re your only option where you live, they’re totally acceptable. They’ll work. They’re a flexible pen, which is what you need. Go for it. Just be mindful that you’re going to have to write really big. Also, be sure that you’re using the right paper. I’ve used pens similar to this shape tip in the past, and just from that experience, I know that they fray pretty easily. They can get jagged, which makes it hard to get clean upstrokes.
I hope this was helpful. I mentioned different paper types a few times in this review, so I’m going to link to a paper blog post that explains things in more detail.
And finally, your dad joke…
A marker cut me the other day.
It was sharpie.