Tombow dual brush pens offer more than brush strokes and fine opaque lines — they’re also excellent for blending!
These versatile brush pens are perfect for adding groovy color combinations and gradient effects to everything from faux calligraphy to illustration.
In this tutorial, I’ve shared my favorite techniques on how to blend Tombow brush pens for anyone looking to pick up new skills or find inspiration for their next brush pen project.
Using Tombow brush pens for the first time? Check out our beginner’s guide on how to use Tombow brush pens.
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How to blend Tombow brush pens
Enhance your artwork by learning how to blend Tombow brush pens with a few quick beginner-friendly techniques!
To demonstrate each, I’ve worked through a colorful card-making project that combines all four methods. This will hopefully inspire you to whip up new ideas for projects of your own!
And of course, feel free to experiment with these techniques separately or all together in a single project.
Ultimately, there are no wrong ways to do this, so let your creativity take the wheel!
1. How to blend Tombow brush pens with a plastic bag
You will need: Tombow brush pens, a plastic sandwich/ziplock bag, a (filled) water brush, watercolor paper, paper towels
Begin by selecting your Tombow brush pens and drawing freely on one side of a plastic bag.
Remember that the colors you choose will be fully blended, so go with a combination that you like.
If you’re unsure about your color choice, test out a few different options before tackling your final project.
Next, squeeze drops of water onto your project’s surface with your filled water brush.
Do this to the areas you want to apply color to.
Note: You can also use a normal brush with water or a spray bottle for this step if you don’t own a water brush.
Once wet, place the plastic bag on your surface and rub it across the areas you want to color.
Don’t overthink it; part of the fun is the unpredictability!
Remove the plastic bag from the surface after a few seconds (there’s no need to rub the bag for very long).
Use a paper towel to dab off excess water from the surface and allow it to dry completely.
And there you have it; a beautiful watercolor wash!
I highly recommend this technique to create backgrounds or to cover large areas quickly and effortlessly.
If you want to draw out illustrations or lettering on your surface before applying this technique (see image above), know that Micron pens are waterproof and a great alternative to pencil.
2. How to blend Tombow brush pens with a water brush
You will need: Tombow brush pens, watercolor paper, water brush or thin paintbrush
Firstly, if you’re applying this technique for a faux calligraphy or lettering project, I advise outlining your font with a fine Tombow pen tip before coloring in each letter.
If you’ve outlined lettering in pencil first, use an eraser to get rid of any mistakes/lines before blending.
Do this once the pigment is completely dry to avoid smudging.
Select the colors you want to blend.
Choose a color scale that will blend seamlessly for the best results.
Then, use your Tombow brush tip to apply tiny squiggles in “blocks” to define a color sequence (see image above).
It’s common to use the fine tip for this step, but I prefer the brush tip since it leaves less visible lines or streaks.
Next, use your filled water brush to connect two color blocks at a time with upward brush strokes.
Note: Do not blend entire blocks!
The goal is to apply the water brush to the ends of each block (whether top or bottom) to create an organic transition between colors.
Stick to the same color sequence or get creative and apply different color combinations (see image above).
Have fun with the process!
Once you’ve colored in all your letters, let the surface fully dry.
To make your letters pop, outline them again with the thicker brush pen tip.
While simple to do, this technique requires some practice until you get the gist of things. Therefore, expect some trial and error.
Also, since you’ll be creating a watercolor effect, your blends may be unpredictable, so keep an open mind!
3. How to blend Tombow brush pens by rubbing brush tips
What you’ll need: Tombow brush pens and paper (watercolor, journal, or copy paper)
One of the easiest and most fun ways to blend Tombow brush pens is by rubbing brush tips together.
This combines pigments and creates multi-colored lines when put down on paper, which is particularly useful for calligraphy and lettering projects.
Select two brush pen colors: choose contrasting colors (one light and one dark hue).
For this tutorial, I used blue and yellow.
Always rub the darker color onto the lighter brush tip: you will draw/write with the pen of the lighter shade.
Also, doing this the other way around doesn’t really work.
Heads up: Your tips will get stained, but don’t freak out!
Tombow brush pens self-clean, meaning they restore their original color after just a few scribbles.
Before writing on your final project, I strongly advise testing blends out first. You may want to change colors, add more of a contrast, etc.
It’s also helpful to see how long colors take to go from blended to solid again beforehand. This will help you determine how much pigment you need to transfer.
For instance, you can see how long the yellow + blue blend took to go from green to purely yellow again (see image above).
If you’re writing something short, only rub your pens a few times if you want to showcase the color changes in your work (see image above).
4. How to blend Tombow brush pens with a DIY blending palette
What you’ll need: Tombow brush pens, glass surface or plastic bag, a paintbrush or water brush, water
Creating your own DIY blending palette is a simple and effective way to blend Tombow brush pens.
You can use various materials for this purpose, but the two I find most practical to DIY are glass and plastic.
For this tutorial, I’ve used an old glass coaster.
First, draw directly onto your glass surface with your Tombow pens. Then, use your paintbrush and some water to blend them. You can use a water brush instead.
Leave some of the pigments unblended so you can add bold accents into your blend if desired.
Next, apply the watered-down ink directly onto your surface, just as if you were using watercolor paints.
After all, this is what it is!
Tip: If you want to make lettering pop, I highly advise using Micron pens to outline your font.
Since Micron pens don’t bleed with watercolors, you won’t have to worry about inky messes!
You can also do this with plastic.
This is a good way to recycle plastic and put it to good use. You can even reuse the bag featured in the first technique — I did!
Another alternative with plastic is covering a hard surface like a notebook or wood block in cellophane wrap.
Repeat the same steps mentioned above.
This technique is great for adding colorful details to smaller areas of your project.
You can see how I’ve also added this type of blending to the corners of my card (see image above).
Another popular tool used for this purpose are acrylic stamp blocks.
And if you really want to go Team Tombow, you can find the brand’s wipeable blending palettes on Amazon!
That’s it for this tutorial on how to blend Tombow brush pens! Feel free to drop questions or suggestions in the comments below.