Arteza Brush Pens
Arteza Brush Pens
I was very fortunate to have been contacted by this relatively new art supply company, "Arteza" and asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their products. So although I have been asked by the company to review the product, as you all know by now, my primary objective is to report the products exactly as I personally find them.
I was sent the Arteza Colored Pencils, which I have already reviewed and completed some botanical art work with, which you can see by clicking on the relevant links. I was also sent some Arteza Graphite pencils, their woodless watercolor pencils and of course the 96 set of the Arteza Brush Pens. Only recently I discovered that Arteza also do ordinary watercolor pencils, which I wish I knew about as I would have purchased them myself in order to help me with this project. I will of course be publishing reviews on the Arteza Graphite Pencils and the Woodless Watercolor Pencils.
Arteza Brush Pens Characteristics
The first thing I personally noticed when I removed the Arteza Brush Pens from the packaging and selected a pen to test was the really nice weight and balance to the pen. I have tried other products of a similar medium and they felt incredibly light weight which for me relates to cheap. With the Arteza Brush Pens, the weight is perfect, the pen feels like a professional product, without too much weight which could cause fatigue to artists with arthritis their the hands.
The Arteza Brush Pen barrel is a striking Black with white print along the barrel, enabling reading the print incredibly easy. The Black barrel also helps to beautifully showcase the pigments on the brush tips and the pigment indicator on the very end of the barrels. Each Brush Pen has a clear lid protecting the delicate brush tips, whilst not hindering identification of pigment; incidentally, the lids can be placed on the end of the barrel while using the brush tip. The lids for the most part are easily removed, within the 96 set I have, I only experienced three or four pens with tight lids, otherwise I had no issues.
Along one side of the black barrel, the company name is stylishly and clearly printed in white font, "Arteza". This is closely followed with the name of the product "Real Brush Pen" and finally toward the end of the barrel is the pigment name and number relating to the indicated pigment. The font does get smaller from the company name, product brand and pigment name being the smallest, I think that one or two people may find the font indicating the pigment too small. however, the excellent contrast between the black barrel and ice white print will certainly make it easier. Closing the barrel off is a cap painted the same color as the Brush Pen pigment, this is just another quick and easy way of selecting the pigment you want.
On the opposite side of the Arteza Brush Pen is some very interesting information, again the print is much smaller however quite a bit of information has been squeezed onto a small space. First of all we have all the logos of the standards that the Arteza Brush Pens have passed before going to market, as well as a brief description of what is inside the barrel, which is "Water-Based Ink" and it is of course Non-Toxic. Clearly marked is the fact that the Brush Pens are designed in America.
Further along from this information is information regarding the lightfast standards they have conformed to. ASTM D-4236, ASTMF963-96A along with a bar code. To some people these standards will not mean much however to others they will understand them. ASTM is the standard given to lightfast pigments in America, the alpha numerical code after the ASTM refers to the type of medium being tested, paint, colored pencils, ink etc.
The main event of the Arteza Brush Pens is of course the beautiful real brush nibs. The brushes are fantastic for detailed work, allowing you excellent control. I often get asked how long a nib or tip will last before becoming damaged or frayed, unfortunately this is a really difficult question to answer; however what I can say is, I have used the pens extensively in various methods and no damage has occurred at all.
At first glance people have assumed that the nibs are the same or similar to brush nibs on markers, however this is not the case. The brush nibs on the Arteza Brush Pens are Nylon brush fibres, a proper brush allowing the water based ink to flow perfectly.
Unfortunately as of yet, Arteza do not offer the Brush Pens in open stock. I think the primary reason for this is the incredibly low cost for all the sets mentioned above, I will of course be adding the prices further into the review. Never the less, artists do like to have the ability of replacing individual products when they expire, if Arteza decide to supply open stock Brush Pens I will of course update this review accordingly.
Arteza Brush Pen Performance
I absolutely loved and still love using the Arteza Brush Pens. It is important to remember that they are not directly watercolor paint but water based ink, that means that the pigment once dry is more permanent. However, this lends the medium well to layering, in fact I was able to layer the brush pens with ease.
I have created a piece of art with the Arteza Brush Pens of which you can see the speed drawing here or if you would rather take a look at some still images of the art at various stages of completion, you can view the art here. In the video review I have created you will also be able to see the pens fully demonstrated and get a better understanding of just how special the pens are.
I tested the pens in various methods, as a traditional watercolor artist would. I tried some wet on wet and received some really nice results. It is worth noting that whilst I love the Arteza Brush Pens, due to the detailed nature of the brush tips, you will not be able to accomplish large washes as you would with traditional watercolor paints. Because of the detailed nature of the brush tips, there is a controlled amount of water based ink dispensed.
I also applied the pigment to some watercolor paper and then applied a wet watercolor paint brush to the pigment, allowing me to move the pigment about and thin it accordingly. When testing this method, time is of the essence, once you apply the pigment from the Arteza Brush Pens to the paper, you have a small window to apply clean water. this is primarily due to the fact the pigment is water based ink. If you make a mistake, you can easily apply clean water and lift the pigment with a dry brush or paper towel, but again timing is key.
With each and every brush pen I used, the pigments were bright and vibrant, I was very impressed with the high quality of pigment. I also used a mixing palette, a plastic tray that allowed me to mix the pigments, exactly as you would with traditional watercolor's, and then lifted the pigment with a paint brush. I found this a really good way of mixing multiple pigments without having to worry about drying time on the paper, I could take my time, apply pigment and add water to create the color I wanted.
Arteza Brush Pens Pricing
Here in the UK, to purchase the 12 set of Arteza Brush Pens you will pay only £10.14, for the 24 set you will pay £17.09, for the 48 set you will pay £31.99 and for the largest set of 96 gorgeous colors you will pay £61.18. It is worth mentioning that the prices I have mentioned in this review are the introductory prices Arteza have set to allow artists a fantastic opportunity of purchasing excellent quality art supplies at a low cost. Prices will eventually return to the actual RRP Arteza have set and they are, for the 12 set £33.80, 24 set £56.97, 48 set £106.63 and the 96 set £203.93. So if you are interested in getting the Arteza Brush Pens, the sooner the better. I have no idea at all as to when Arteza will return the prices to their normal range, never the less it is important to know this information.
In the US, a set of 12 Arteza Brush Pens will cost you $11.99, the 24 set will cost you $21.99, the 48 set will cost you $30.75 and the largest set of 96 will cost you $72.99. Again, for those of you in the States, the prices quoted here are the current prices that Arteza have set as their introductory price range, they will eventually return to their normal prices, although nobody knows when.
For artists in Europe, you will pay for the set of 12 Arteza Brush Pens €12, the 24 set will cost you €19.94, the 48 set will cost you €34.19 and the largest set of 96 will cost you €62.69
As always, I will of course amend prices as and when they change, I always scan Amazon for the cheapest sets and link them in my reviews hopefully helping you guys to get the best deals available on Amazon without you having to look about, leave all the leg work to The Art Gear Guide
Arteza Brush Pens Conclusion
I have absolutely loved using these Arteza Brush Pens, I know that it feels a bit like Arteza overload on the internet at the minute, but I personally don't think that is a bad thing, especially when you consider you are being offered excellent quality art supplies and incredibly low prices.
I was unable to find individual lightfast ratings for each brush pen, however, they have passed lightfast standards as advertised on the actual barrel of the pens, but that could still mean that they have passed the lowest rating. If any information becomes available with regards to the individual lightfast ratings I will amend this review accordingly.
I hope you can see from the art work I have supplied the excellent quality the Arteza Brush Pens offer, but they are not only ideal for the type of art work I created, the brush pens are perfect for traveling, painting on the go. Grab you favourite palette from the 96 brush pens, drop them into your art bag and off you go. Stop anywhere and create some beautiful watercolor art with minimum fuss.
This is the second product I have reviewed of Arteza's, I have to say I am incredibly impressed with the quality on offer at the prices advertised. I have a few more of their products to review so keep checking The Art Gear Guide for those reviews, or alternatively follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to receive immediate notification as and when new reviews are released.