Last month, quite unexpectedly, Mother Nature treated me to a weekend of rain. The sound of rain is like the calls of the mythological Sirens for me. Re-purposing John Muir’s quote – “The rain is calling and I must go”, and go I did. I put on my raincoat and my waterproof pants and went for a 4+ mile run, all the while feeling the rain on my face. I was so happy and full of energy after coming back, I painted this little scene.
Early this year in January, I got some art supplies for my birthday from my husband. These markers were a part of it.
This review is specially for my Paint Party Friday peeps and anyone who loves watercolour or wanting to plunge into that crazy world.
Tombow markers are available loose, but they also offer a few sets.
The landscape set included 9 colours and a blender.
They are water-based markers, so very easy to blend with a wet brush. I found the included blender to be useless. It actually scuffed my paper when I used it directly on paper.
The markers only have numbers on them. I found a chart on Tombow’s website which translates the numbers to standard colour names. It’s a circular chart not ordered by number, so it was a bit tedious to find the names.
I applied the markers directly on paper, then used a wet brush to create the swatches.
There is no yellow in the set, that would have been useful.
A lighter blue would have been nice too. The included blues diluted make very nice light blues. However, directly used on the paper, the initial strokes are too dark.
The colours change hue as they dilute. So swatching them was very useful.
The markers are full of pigment. A gentle dab on the porcelain palette deposited a lot of paint, which I was able to dilute into a much lighter shade.
I created a small sheet noting their behaviour.
1st row –
- The markers blend very easily to create new colours. Colours blended on the palette are less vibrant than the colours mixed directly on paper.
2nd row –
- For wet on wet, I used a wet brush on paper and then added colour from the palette. The pigments move very freely.
- To see if I can achieve a lighter shade directly on the paper, I drew 4 lines, and used a wet brush. While most of the paint diluted well, there was still a faint hint of the lines on the paper.
3rd row –
- When I needed to paint vibrant dark areas, it worked really well to use the markers on the paper directly, and then use water to move the pigments around.
1st row –
- Here I applied paint from palette to dry paper, resulting in a softer application.
- The markers themselves don’t work well on wet surfaces. They start fading very quickly.
2nd row –
- I used brush-tips to write with two colours. Blending them directly on paper with a wet brush created a beautiful effect.
The markers did stain my fingers. The colours came off after a few washes. If you are going to make food after painting with these markers, I suggest being a bit more careful when using them.
I first painted the scene on a Stillman & Birn paper. I couldn’t quite get it to work the way I wanted, specially with the tree. The colours didn’t move very well. They either got soaked in or lifted off.
I painted it again on a Strathmore 400 series watercolour paper. I really liked the way the markers behaved on that paper, it was a more fluid application.
Which one do you like better?
Overall I really liked them. They are full of pigment so a little goes a long way. Even on rough watercolour paper, a gentle application was all that was needed. Gentle touch also protects the marker-tips.
If you are thinking about learning watercolour, I think the Tombow markers would be great for that. You can start by drawing with the markers and then add water to blend / dilute the colours. For a softer shade, drop some paint on the palette, then use that with a wet brush.
Endless fun possibilities!!
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Frédérique June 23, 2019 at 05:07
Pretty paintings, I love the second one
Kate June 22, 2019 at 05:15
Looks like a great way to spend a rainy weekend, experimenting with something new.
nessjibberjabberuk June 22, 2019 at 03:50
I haven’t had my watercolour pens out in ages. I feel quite inspired to now!
Susan Mann June 20, 2019 at 08:20
ooh I think I need these pens in my life. They look great xx #SundaySnap
Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting June 20, 2019 at 07:16
Beautiful. The Japanese make such great writing/drawing utensils. I can see I’m in the minority, but the first one grabs my eye and has more depth.
Little Wandering Wren June 20, 2019 at 01:41
Love your rainy wanderings and must remember the quote the rain is calling – it’s been calling A LOT where ever I am these days!
Heidrun June 19, 2019 at 23:21
Thank you for sharing… Inspiration for me.
Heidrun by A-corner-of-my-world
Angie June 19, 2019 at 20:16
Soma – this is so helpful to those of us new to watercolor – your ‘swatches’ are a study in themselves! Thanks so much for the detail. I like the second painting better … softer, like the rain!
Jackie June 19, 2019 at 05:50
The first one!
betty - NZ June 19, 2019 at 00:59
What great artwork! I haven’t painted in many years but I sure can appreciate the info in your post :)
‘My Corner of the World’ wouldn’t be the same without you this week!
Margy June 18, 2019 at 17:56
I’ve been experimenting with watercolour pencils and ink pens. It’s lots of fun. – Margy
Michelle June 18, 2019 at 12:06
Painting is one art form I have avoided. The few times I have tried to put what’s in my head to paper – usually by drawing – has been an exercise in futility. But I must admit, the watercolors seem a bit more forgiving than some mediums. Great review, and your paintings are lovely!
Sue H June 18, 2019 at 09:12
Beautiful paintings. Way to keep track of the colors much like we do for quilting projects!
Fun60 June 17, 2019 at 23:10
I prefer the second one. Those markers seem a great introduction to watercolours.
Beth June 17, 2019 at 09:43
I absolutely enjoyed your post! I am a watercolor “dabbler.” SO much fun to see what you discovered with your new watercolor pens. :D
NatureFootstep PhotoArt June 17, 2019 at 07:38
Interesting. Not sure I have seen pens like this. They seem rather easy to work with.
Carole @ From My Carolina Home June 17, 2019 at 04:51
You have so much talent, I cannot paint even though I’ve tried. I have no talent for it.
ClearlyBex June 16, 2019 at 10:18
What an informative post! Lovely paintings
Tammie June 16, 2019 at 09:24
That was a sweet revue. Always interesting to consider that different paper might work better.
Fun also to hear of your love of rain and running in it.
Your painting is lovely.
Anne June 16, 2019 at 00:46
How interesting, I’ve never tried anything like this. I’ve always been quite useless at watercolour painting but I can draw with pens, I’m wandering now whether I’d be able to create something in this way now. Your review is great, really interesting, and good to see how you worked out how they all worked and the colours they produced in the different methods you tried.
Sarah MumofThree World June 15, 2019 at 22:30
Those sound good and I do like your paintings, especially the second one.
A ShutterBug Explores June 15, 2019 at 07:08
Wonderful post and tutorial of a sort ~ I like your 2nd painting
Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)
gillena June 15, 2019 at 06:11
Glad you enjoyed your run through the rain. Luv the tree painting.
Happy you dropped by my blog
Jean Marmo June 15, 2019 at 05:44
Thank you so much for this information! It is very helpful.
Alan Bates June 14, 2019 at 20:02
I am impressed, you are a skilled, and persistent artist. I loved how you repainted the image to get what you wanted.
I love to read about people who love rain as much as I do. I don’t mind getting wet, I can get dry again. I had a summer camp counselor shake me hard in 4th grade asking what was wrong with me that I didn’t know to come in the rain. I was wondering what was wrong with him!
peppylady (Dora) June 14, 2019 at 15:19
I like to some time try water color brushes.
Coffee is on
Linda Calverley June 14, 2019 at 13:42
I like the range of colours and I think I prefer the first painting, I like a nice bold tree.
Christine June 14, 2019 at 12:37
Beautiful, thanks for sharing your experience.
Dixie June 14, 2019 at 12:20
Always fun to try different art supplies.
Your paintings look lovely.
riitta k June 14, 2019 at 08:07
You have made a pretty watercolour in green. These markers are interesting. I have watercolour ‘pens’ – don’t remember the mark. But I’m not very successful with them. Happy weekend Soma.
Lady Fi June 14, 2019 at 07:28
You are so talented!
BLOGitse June 14, 2019 at 03:57
It’s interesting how the paper can make a big difference. Thanks for sharing!
Susan June 14, 2019 at 03:44
Amazing what you do with Tombows. Thanks for the breakdown. Happy PPF
Tracey June 13, 2019 at 23:40
They are fabulous markers especially for moving with water, I use them over acrylics for shading. Always good to have a product we can put in our pocket and take anywhere. Happy PPF & Thank you for sharing.. Tracey x
Valerie-Jael June 13, 2019 at 22:47
I am sorry your email came back, I am having problems with my mail addies just now, next time I will link with a different one and hope that it works. The Tombow markers are great thanks for showing the different effects. Glad you enjoyed the rain, it is so refreshing! Happy PPF, Valerie
Carol June 13, 2019 at 22:36
It amazes me how similar both watercolors are – I like them both!
Mary June 13, 2019 at 17:51
I’ll bet you loved that rainy walk. I love reading about your paints and techniques. I feel so educated after my visit. Your trees are beautiful, as always.
Sue Palmer June 13, 2019 at 15:43
Very interesting post, I like both your paintings!
Susan June 13, 2019 at 12:03
I enjoy learning from your reviews and experiments. I like the second painting on the Strathmore paper the best.
Susie June 13, 2019 at 11:46
I love learning through your hands and eyes, Soma! I like your second tree on the Strathmore paper, too.
I hope the weather allows you some more refreshing runs.