A Review of Art-n-Fly Soft Brush Markers for Coloring
From Sue: While Stephanie wrote the bulk of this review, I also own these markers and will be adding some of my own comments about them at the end of her review. That way you get both of our points of view on this product!
Art-n-Fly Brush Markers Product Details
- 12 Bright Colors
- Soft Plastic Storage Case
- Very Soft Brush Tips
- Water-based Ink
- Non Toxic and Acid Free
Art-n-Fly Brush Markers First Impressions
The first thing I noticed about these Art-n-Fly Soft Brush Markers was the cute way they are packaged and designed. The set of 12 markers are tucked into a zippered, soft plastic tube which doubles as a neat little storage case. The shape of the markers resemble that of cartoon paintbrushes and a thicker barrel which features an indented finger grip. The caps are clear and easy to remove and replace. Overall, the whole look of these markers put me a in fun, creative mood and I couldn’t wait to try them out.
Super Soft Brush Tips
I have used a few different brush tip markers in the past and enjoy the unique style they lend to coloring. I must point out that these markers feature the softest brush tip I have ever had a chance to work with. The tip actually resembles a legitimate pointed paintbrush and is super flexible. The tips are approximately 1 ½ centimeters long and depending on the amount of pressure you use, can produce very fine to very thick lines.
Because the tips are as soft as they are, I needed to practice a bit to get the hang of using them but once I got a feel for how they worked, I was good to go.
When It Comes To Coloring…
The initial purpose of almost all the products I review is for coloring. I do most of my coloring in both coloring books, and pages printed on cardstock. That being the case, I tried the Art-n-Fly Brush Tip markers in a coloring book and on 65 lb. card stock to see how well they performed as a coloring tool. What I found was that because the tips on these markers are so soft and flexible, you really need a steady hand when using them for coloring. Like I mentioned earlier, depending on the amount of pressure you use, you can adjust the line width from a super fine line to a very thick line.
The need for practice is paramount because without learning how to control these tips you will most certainly end up with a lot of marker mayhem resulting in a sloppy coloring effect. I would recommend using them on designs that do not feature a lot of tiny spaces. I was able to get into very tight corners but it was challenging. I had the most success with larger designs.
I would also like to point out that the ink in these markers is just like the ink in any other water-based marker and it will give you slightly different effects based on what type of paper you are coloring on. It has nice saturation of color but you can end up with stroke lines. To avoid these lines, I colored in a slow but steady motion going over the color twice. This means I would make a line, then coming back in the other direction, I would trace over it again before starting the next line. This technique was the easiest way to get the color to lay down smoothly and reduce those pesky line marks.
I noticed that on thinner paper there was some bleed through. It did not transfer to the page underneath but I would still use precaution and slip a piece of scrap paper between pages. There was no bleed through when using the card stock.
Because these are markers are water-based and have the paintbrush style tip, I believe they would work beautifully on paper made specifically for watercolors.
For blending, I tried a couple different techniques including the tip-to-tip technique and laying down color on a plastic surface or color palette to pick up with another marker in order to produce a gradient effect. Neither technique was very successful with these super soft tipped markers. If you aren’t familiar with the tip-to-tip technique, it’s when you hold two marker tips together in a vertical position, one pointed upward and one pointing down. Gravity pulls some of the ink from the top marker into the tip of the bottom marker thus producing a pretty sweet gradient as you start to color. When I tried the tip-to-tip technique, the nylon fibers of the brush tip didn’t seems to want to absorb enough color from the other marker. I did get a slight gradient effect, but the base color came back very quickly.
The other technique I mentioned involves pooling a bit of ink on a plastic surface. Once you have accumulated enough ink, you take another marker in a different color, and swipe over the ink pool in order to “pick up” the color. This also allows for a gradient effect when coloring. I could not get these markers to pick up other colors very well at all.
I found that the best way to pull out the color of these markers was pooling the ink and picking it up with a damp paintbrush. This allowed me to paint with the color and gave a really nice watercolor effect. Very cool! I believe that technique would work even better using paper made specifically for watercolors. Make sure you use a damp brush though, as a dry brush will yield little results.
I got the most success with these markers when I used them to color in spacious backgrounds. The watercolor effect looked unique and the coverage was great. So, when it comes to coloring, I would definitely use these markers mostly for filling in large spaces and backgrounds.
Final Thoughts on Art-n-Fly Brush Markers
Since I didn’t have any experience using brush markers with tips this soft, I spent a lot of time looking up different techniques to try on YouTube. Standard coloring is totally doable but slightly complicated and requires a very steady hand and a lot of patience. I really liked these markers though and wanted to see what type of craft they would be best suited for. As it turns out, these markers are excellent for lettering. The brush tip works perfectly for calligraphy style lettering and fancy, swishy line accents. I don’t have a calligraphy inclined bone in my body but I have a few friends who are into lettering for their journals, card making, scrapbooking and other craft endeavors and I will definitely recommend the Art-n-Fly Soft Brush markers as a great way to bring fun, vibrant color into their projects.
Sue’s Experiments with Art-n-Fly Brush Markers
Sue here! As I mentioned earlier, I also have these markers, and thought I would add my take on them. Initially, I was afraid they would be streaky but the color went on nice for the paper I used. The tips are soft and flexible so you can get into tight spaces or use more pressure to get wider strokes. I found that if I want a stroke that goes from thick to thin, I had to start my stroke with the tapered end. In other words, I had success making my line going from thin to thicker, but not the other way around. I have colored two small coloring pages with these brush pens, but I also took some time to doodle and experiment with them on various papers–including watercolor paper.
First off, I love the little zippered pouch these markers come in. They are great to throw in my coloring on-the-go kit and so the first time I used these markers I was traveling and used them to color this design by Ligia Ortega from The Adult Coloring Book Treasury 2.
Using my matte photo paper, the color goes on rich and with good coverage and few streaks.
The second picture I used these on was this Black-eyed Susan from Heather Burns’ State Flowers of the USA. I accidentally printed it very small, so decided to use it to experiment more with these brush markers. I did use one Artminds marker to get a deeper yellow in the petals.
Next I doodled with the markers on several papers. This first picture shows you the various line thickness I was able to get on my photo matte paper. They are juicy enough for coloring, but as you can see, I did get some broken lines when laying down thicker strokes and while trying to do hand lettering. (Pardon my terrible hand writing!) The larger gradient block was achieved by quickly dipping the tip of the marker in water before coloring. The second picture shows my doodling on cheap business card stock. As you can see, this paper is much streakier. On ordinary weight paper from a cheap spiral notebook (not pictured) the results were similarly streaky and the ink was visible on the back of the page, but did not pass through to the next page.
I also put these markers to the test on watercolor paper, and ordinary paper coated with clear gesso (more on this in an upcoming article). As Stephanie suggested, the results on watercolor paper were the best.
I should also mention that one of the markers in my package came apart because it was not snapped together completely when assembled. This allowed me to give you a look at exactly what’s inside these markers. Fortunately this was not as disastrous an outcome as you might expect; the ink is encapsulated in a cylindrical casing inside the pens. I notified Art-n-Fly of this manufacturing error, and they informed me that the pens come apart because they are refillable.
Personally, I like these markers and will continue to use them in my coloring. If I have a complaint about them, it’s that the caps do not fit onto the backs of the pens while you are using them, so you have to keep track of them so they don’t get lost. Art-n-Fly has also stated that they plan to introduce refill kits and more color options if these soft brush markers are successful. They are available though Amazon, and Etsy for worldwide shipping.
As for my hand lettering… I’d like to say I’ll keep practicing but in all honesty I will more likely just keep collecting more beautiful fonts!
Thank you for reading this review and please feel free to comment below. We would love to hear your experience with these markers and how you like using them. You are welcome to add example pictures with your comment, too! Happy coloring!
Articles by Stephanie Walker:
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- Coloring Gift Ideas for Wine Enthusiasts
- Adult Coloring Gifts for Senior Colorists
- Adult Coloring Beginner Gift Guide
- Lolliz Gel Pens 70-Piece Set Review
- Coloring on a Budget Part One
- Art-n-Fly Soft Brush Markers Review
- Using a Print Shop for Coloring Pages
- Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils Review
- Art-n-Fly 40 Piece Gel Pen Set Review
- Art-n-Fly Electric Pencil Sharpener Review
- Take Apart A Coloring Book the Easy Way