When it comes to art supplies, Derwent is my personal favorite brand. I love their colored pencils, so I was super excited to test drive these Graphik Paint Liners. Past experiences with the brand set my expectations high, and I was overall pleased with this product.
The pens have a nice aesthetic to them. They come in a handy reusable pouch that is printed with a color guide and instructions. The body design is attractive and practical--they are sturdy but lightweight, and the see-through plastic allows you to see what color you're reaching for and how much pigment is left. It's also super fun to watch the paint slosh around inside. The grip sections are a little short and narrow, which may make them uncomfortable to hold after a while. And holding the pens farther back on the body didn't work very well, as the tips have a very specific sweet spot that requires a more upright angle.
The tips are .5 mm--fine for a paint pen. But they lay down a very wet line, so the end result is closer to a Japanese broad nib, in fountain pen terms. There is no paint in the tips to begin with (probably to keep them from drying out and clogging while stored), and this is where the instructions come in. Those of you familiar with paint pens probably already know this, but I'm a novice, so I referred to the illustrations printed on the package. To prime the tip, you must compress it for two seconds, then release it and wait for the pigment to flow into the tip, which takes about five to six seconds. Don't--hypothetically speaking, for example--wonder why the paint doesn't come right away and maybe hold the tip down for a bit longer and then OMG that's a lot of paint all at once.
The pigment itself is very well-behaved. It doesn't run or drip or bleed. I was astonished to see that not even the puddle I put down for my review doodle showed through the Rhodia paper. As I filled in the solid square, I thought I'd regret not using a page protector and assumed I'd have to scrap the page behind my work. But I almost have to hold the paper up to the light to see a shadow of the Graphik pigment. I also tested them on a colorful piece of cardstock. Most (but not all) did well there. The "snow" color, for example, doesn't show at all on white paper and was weak and milky on colored paper. I suspect it may work best as a highlight on top of other layers of pigment. The metallic silver (#20, fox) creates an almost mirror-like effect on either paper.
After setting the pens aside for a few days, only the yellow (#2, clockwork) became problematically dried out and clogged. You can see in the colored paper swatches that it struggled a bit at first. I expect that, after longer naps, the pens may need a strong cup of tea before they can party. Or just to be cleaned up a bit and re-primed.
I can see these paint liners being used to make some awesome art. The bold colors and tonal greys make me think instantly of contemporary comics and modern graffiti-like portraits. If you dive in, be sure to share what you make--I'd love to see it!
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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