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Arteza Real Brush Pens 6 Months Later

June 24, 2019

Navigating my way through a rough patch in child rearing has kept me from writing.  My brain is just mush for words lately as ear splitting tantrums fill my days… and my nights.

Tantrums because I suggested the incorrect color of elastic for her hair. Tantrums because she wants me (almost exclusively me) to carry her all the time, but she is big and I am sore. Tantrums because she is suddenly terrified of hairballs. Hairballs which randomly pop up nearly everywhere in our house as we are (not bragging) a very hairy family.

Loooong drawn out tantrums. Let me tell you, the kid has some serious stamina and willpower.

Leaving the house without another adult for support, even to walk a down the street to the post office has become all but impossible, as I am unable to physically carry her everywhere (carpal tunnel), however if I put her down she thrashes, screams, kicks off her shoes into the road and throws herself back onto to the sidewalk which is ALWAYS covered in poop because of irresponsible dog owners.

Without the support from my husband, I would truly be a quivering puddle of tears and snot on the floor.

I love my babies endlessly, but I have to say, if my first daughter behaved this way, I’m relatively certain she would have remained an only child!

My anxiety levels have been completely out of control and I’ve been back and forth to the doctor several times for anxiety related problems, but I feel that I’m finally getting a handle on it and I have channelled some of the brain mush into cleaning my house which has at least been productive… so some good has come of this. In all of my adult life, my house has never been more tidy. That’s sort of a win, right?

The only thing I’ve managed to do creatively is continue on with small illustrations which I have been using my Arteza Real Brush Pens to color. Thus the title of this post, which was not supposed to be a rant about the challenges of parenthood!



Since my last post about the pens I’ve upgraded from the 24 pen set to the 96 pen set. It was very pricey, but worth the money.

The thing that attracted me most to the set was the array of greens. I don’t necessarily use green a ton, but it is my favorite color and the whole tray of greens drew me right in. I also really wanted to get my hands on the range of browns, of which there could be more, but I’m super pleased with the upgrade overall as it is.

Before I got the pens out of the packaging I had my husband make me a stand for the pens with his 3D printer, because it’s impossible to use a set like this in flimsy plastic trays. You can buy stands similar to the one he printed, but if you have access to a 3D printer you can find the file for free HERE

With this stand I can see all of the colors at a glance using the plastic end caps which are relatively well matched to the pens.


The paper that I’ve found works best with the pens for a watercolor effect is Daler Rowney Mixed Media paper. Other watercolor papers that I’ve tried are too thirsty and soak the ink in too much before allowing it to spread around.

To create my illustrations I first tape the paper down to a clipboard with masking tape to prevent the paper from warping once moistened. Then I draw the design on with pencil. Once I am happy with the design, I go over the pencil using a dip calligraphy pen and India ink. India ink is important for this step as once it dries on there, it does not move regardless of how wet it gets. Using a dip pen with India ink can take some getting used to, I’ve been using it for nearly 20 years now and it still catches me out sometimes. Another good thing about India ink is that it dries very quickly. So once the ink is dry I can go over the whole piece with an eraser to clean up any stray pencil lines without any fear of ink smudges.

Then it’s just a matter of applying the pens and water (with a water pen) and sprinkling salt. Sometimes I use single layers of color, and sometimes multiple. It’s all a lot of trial and error.

I especially love the effects that I can achieve with the salt. I use a salt grinder so the particles which fall on the paper are irregularly shaped. The ink of the pens breaks apart in all sorts of different ways. I especially love the way that the black pen breaks down.

Ideally I wanted to create a video of my process by now. I’ve got a stand to hold my phone to record, however, I can’t use my desk during the day (mommy problems again) and at night, I’m too damn exhausted to focus. So at any rate… I hope to produce a little video soon.

Below I’ve included a few of my recent little illustrations. You can check out my Instagram to see more. :)

The vibrancy of the ink is really incredible. It breaks my heart how much color and detail gets lost in photographing or scanning… these pictures really only capture a small part of the whole.







That’s all I’ve got for now. I really hope to be far more active on my blog and creatively in general after August when Little Miss Tantrums will be starting up in nursery and for the first time in 7.5 years I’ll have my mornings back 4 days a week… you know… after I get up, get the kids ready for school, make everyone lunch and haul them to the actual school. Looking forward to that more than I can possibly express in words!




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