Brush Pen Blending with Lia

Hi, I’m Lia from and @letteredbylia on Instagram! When Shannon gave me the opportunity to teach on her blog, I was thrilled and I’m so excited to share this tutorial with you guys! With Valentine’s day coming up soon, I thought it would be fun to share a simple blended lettering piece process that would be perfect as a thoughtful gift or card.


Today, I am using Tombow Dual Brush Pens, but any water-based markers will work. I chose a colour palette of pinks and purples for Valentine’s day, but any coordinating colours will work. The important thing to remember is that you need colours in different shades and values to create the best blends. Also, make sure you have a light shade to use as a base colour.

Along with brush pens, you will also need a small paintbrush and watercolour or mixed media paper. Today I used Strathmore watercolour paper, but Bee Paper and Canson are two other good brands.


The first thing to do is write your word or quote in the lightest brush pen colour. I chose to write “be mine” as it was a cute prompt and the letters allowed room for flourishing. You can totally use a pencil to sketch out your piece beforehand if you like.

After I wrote my basic outline, I added flourishes to the parts of the letters that were left blank. This step is completely optional, and you can add as many or as little flourishes as you like


Once you have your base colour laid down, it’s time to start adding blends! The style I am using today is smooth, but feel free to keep the blends more defined if you like. I started out by laying down some colours in order of their value.

I then used a small paintbrush and a bit of water to blend the colours. Make sure that you go SLOW at this point to ensure the markers are blended evenly.

Repeat the blending process with the rest of the word or quote.


Now it’s time for the fun part! This is the stage where you can make your artwork your own. I opted out of adding shadows and used a black marker to draw small stars, dots and hearts (it IS Valentine’s day after all!). You could also totally add white or silver highlights or overlay some glitter. The possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial and that try out this technique in your art! If you have any questions about any of the steps, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@letteredbylia). Also, be sure to share your creations and tag me! I can’t wait to see what you create! 😊

© 2019 by Shannon Layne

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