Ecoline Brush Illustration: Guest Blog

Hello ~ I’m a calligraphy instructor with a career in graphic design, including brush illustration . . . which can be done by hand rather than a computer!

In fact, when I teach brush calligraphy, we begin with drawing ~ simple images: apples, animals, garden critters. It helps students become familiar with what the brush does. Both letters and images use pressure/release to form thick and thin strokes.

I’d like to share some things about my test-drive with Ecoline products (markers and liquid watercolor), because they are wonderful for these techniques. FYI, I experiment with a lot of different brush markers and not all of them are designed for lettering. Ecoline is because the fibers form a nice point, stroke after stroke. And the marker is very responsive to pressure. Both are essentially what’s required for a marker to make successful letters. Of course, good instruction and lots of practice are also needed!

Here are a few tips to create professional brush illustrations. One is to keep it simple. Very simple. I often find myself sketching out an image and then selecting what is really necessary to keep on the page. Here you will note that most of the details of the butterfly are left to your imagination.


With Ecoline, both the marker and the liquid watercolors work together to make brush-illustrated images. Here, I tried it with lettering, using analogous colors. This page is my first try! That’s how smoothly it writes.

And since Sacramento, California (my hometown) is famous for its tomatoes, I then decided to brush illustrate them with Ecoline products.

Aren’t the heirloom tomatoes an interesting rainbow of shades? The Ecoline watercolors blend very nicely, even on paper. I put drops of four watercolors on a palette and created these tomatoes on watercolor paper.

When the page was completely dry, I outlined the shapes with a black Ecoline marker, again, keeping it as simple as possible.

The brush is perfect also for those little details that make tomatoes look realistic, the stems, sepals and seeds. Just a quick flick (pressure/release) and they’re done!

I hope this inspires you to try out Ecoline products, whether you do calligraphy or not. I think you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

Please visit my Facebook page  for more product reviews, a behind the scenes look at my studio and current projects, as well as classes I teach in Northern California.

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