Review: Ecoline Liquid Watercolor Bottled Inks and Brush Pens

Recently I was at the Straits Art and saw some sets of Ecoline brush pens and bottles and they were selling at a good price, so I decided to get some to test them out. I'm not a fan of liquid watercolour but I just want to try them and they don't seem to be too expensive so even if things turn out bad, I don't waste a lot of money.

Ecoline is the liquid watercolour made by Royal Talens, an art supplies company from Apeldoorn, Netherlands, that has been around for more than 100 years.

From what I can find out, the only Ecoline products are the brush pens and liquid watercolour bottles. The bottles have 46 colours in their range and 2 opaque colours (white and gold). Bottles come in capacity of 30ml, 490ml and 990ml. Brush pens are only available in 29 colours.

You can get the bottles and brush pens individually or as a set.

Because they don't come with droppers, you may need to get your own. Without droppers, it would be difficult to get the ink out of the bottle. It's best not to put your brush into the bottle because if the brush is not clean, it's going to contaminate the whole bottle.

The colours are incredibly vibrant. These liquid watercolours are dye-based inks and are incredibly transparent. I call them inks because I really can't differentiate them from coloured fountain pen inks.

As these are dye-based inks, they are not lightfast. The colours are also unnaturally bright and there's no way they would be lightfast. These products are good for casual use because the colours will fade in the future. So to preserve your art, it's best to scan them. But since the colours are so vibrant, scanners may not be able to capture the vibrancy so the alternative is to take photos of your artwork.

The inks are not waterproof so they will smear and dissolve with you go over it with water.

If you accidentally drop a drop of water on it, that colours in that spot will change.

I tried to create some blending effects here. It's not as easy compared to real watercolour. The difficulty really comes from having to handle the medium because it's already liquid to begin with. With traditional watercolour, you know that when you add more paint, you can get a concentrated wash, but it's really difficult to judge the concentration with liquid watercolour. With more time and practice, one can probably develop an intuitive feel to how much liquid watercolour is required to create the value required.

For this particular wash, some spots appeared. I'm not sure what happened but this does not happen with normal watercolour. The paper I used was Fabriano Studio 25% cotton paper.

The 200gsm paper is not very thick so some of the ink and water almost soaked through. I guess the sizing on this paper is not very good.

The brush pens use the same ink as the bottles. So I guess you can probably refill the brush pens with the bottled inks.

These pens are great for calligraphy work. The brush tip is nice to draw with and feels quite spongy rather than firm (like Copic brush tips).

I haven't used much of these because I find the process of the bottled inks to be quite cumblesome. You always have to use the dropper to extract the ink. And if you extract too much ink, you may waste them, not unlike normal watercolour which will dry and can be activated again when wet.

You can see these Ecoline products in action in this video below:


Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials | Jackson's Art

The name "liquid watercolor" is somewhat misleading. Ecoline is mainly used to color comics or other images in which colors aren't blended or supposed to interfere. You only use lighter and darker tones separately. They do not work like normal watercolor, you can't have the same effects, creating shades or let the color run, wet in wet for example. Ecoline is very good if you want to color images drawn in waterproof ink for example, in bright basic colors without blending them, like for highlighting parts of a composition like text markers would do, but smoother. They are also very interesting to do some drawing in one color, for example a cityscape in burnt sienna only. But in fact they aren't what we usually call "watercolors". Maybe they should be called "water based" colors.

Exactly, I made a mistake of buying them in sets. As per the store it should remain dilutable like any watercolours, but turned out to be like normal calligraphy ink but just a bit more light and very expensive.The colours dry super quick making blending literally impossible. They should immediately change the name them to inks instead of liquid watercolour z

I blend them all the time. You have to have good paper with good sizing, and expect the original line to remain somewhat. Some colors stain into the paper faster than others. Experiment.

I'll add that Royal Talens made excellent choices in the colors in the sets --- their chosen colors mix into really beautiful shades.

In reply to by ignace berger (not verified)

What the difference between comic ink and watercolor ink? I used fountain pen flex nib and sometimes I use comic ink or fountain pen ink. Thank you.

In reply to by Cicilia (not verified)

Not sure about the difference.

Actually any ink can be comic ink as long as it's dark or black enough. It's the characteristics of the ink that's important. E.g. Pigmented means it's waterproof, likely fadeproof but pigments are particles that may clog pens.

Again, watercolour inks will depend on its characteristics as well.

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