Above: Quick sketch on 9 x 12 inch (approx.) piece of Fluid 100 cold press 140 lb. watercolor paper, using a Pentel Pigment Brush Pen (squeezy gray barrel). Click on the image to view an enlargement.
Sometimes you meet papers that immediately fall in love with a tool, and then you're in trouble because you fall in love with the paper.
That happened last night when I did this quick sketch from an inspiration photo Jorge Suárez Basáñez posted on Sktchy. (I'll write more about the Sktchy app in another post, today I just want to give you a heads up about this paper and pen match up.)
Fluid 100 is a 100 percent cotton rag paper. It's a far superior "animal" to the regular Fluid watercolor paper you can get in "easy" blocks that I've reviewed several times. (Use the blog's search engine to find detailed comments, basically I don't like the hot press of the plain Fluid and the cold press plain Fluid is just an OK paper for studies. I've also added a reference below to a Fluid 100 review. (I didn't use the brush pen for that piece and never got back to my tests because of life's interruptions.)
I started with the eyebrow on the left and the moment I touched the fully loaded brush tip (I squeezed it just before I started and did this whole sketch on that one squeeze) I knew I had a serious problem. What if I only ever drew on this paper with this pen, for the rest of my life?!
OK, take a breath. We both know that isn't going to happen because I love too many different kinds of papers, but let's just say this was a very exciting 10 minutes.
The black ink in the Pentel Brush Pen is a pigment ink and it's always rich and saturated, but on this paper, because of the sizing, it does everything but sparkle and wink at you. And of course the cold press texture helps add interest to the brush strokes, which is particularly great when you are sketching a beard!
I had no idea if the ink will stay put because it might be floating "too much" on the paper's sizing. But frankly I loved the lines it was making so much all thoughts of adding gouache or watercolor faded from my mind. (Typically I go immediately in with wet media and on most of the papers I use this pigment ink pen is dry enough that it doesn't bleed into my washes. as it does on most of the papers I use.)
I just put some ink lines on a swatch of this paper and let it sit while I typed a paragraph to simulate "drawing drying time." The test is inconclusive in a weird way. The heaviest lines didn't bleed when a waterwash was applied, but I could see some pick up on areas brushed only lightly with ink. I would have no problem using this brush pen on this paper and then putting gouache over it because the slight bleeding I got off some lines was barely noticeable and wouldn't bother me in the heavier paints—even if I weren't using them opaquely. It might be problematic for watercolor. I'll have to do some more tests. Like that's going to be a problem.
At least you have a heads up that Fluid 100 watercolor paper is lovely for Pentel Pigment Brush Pen sketches. There's a speed to this paper, but also a nice bit of drag because of the texture. It seems contradictory, but if you use a brush pen you know what I mean, and if you don't use a brush pen, what the heck are you waiting for?!