The Best Metallic Gold Ink and Paint for Fine Line Work

I have loved gold fine lining for years. My earliest frustrations of trying to find a good metallic paint pen occurred in 2009. I tried gel pens, calligraphy markers, oil based paint markers, and gold paint with the finest brush I could find. Paint markers ran out too fast or burped globs of ink on my work, working with a fine brush was time consuming, and gel pens just kind of suck in my opinion.

In the last two years, I have found my favorite products for metallic gold fine line work and now I can stop wasting my time and money (Hurray!). And of course I’m going to share my discoveries with you!

*Links contained in this post are affiliate links for Amazon and/or Dick Blick and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. These commissions help fund more content like this, so thank you!

I’m going to go over three products:

FolkArt Craft Paint in a Fine Line Applicator

If you are looking for a product to apply fine metallic gold line work on top of acrylic paint on canvas, craft paint in a Fineline Precision Applicator may be perfect for you.

I use this Fineline Applicator for all of my acrylic line work. You can read more about it here. Basically, take your shimmery gold paint and squeeze it into the applicator bottle. If the paint is thick, add some water and shake, but often these craft paint brands are thin enough to squeeze out of the applicator as is.

See how I use it here:

You can find a lot of metallic acrylic paints out there. I’ve tried many brands and applied my gold lines with with a very fine brush, but craft paints often have more metallic shimmer to them in my opinion. Choose your preferred gold color and go to town!

Finetec Pearlescent Mica

This product is on my favorite supplies list for November 2019, but I have to gush more about it here. If you are looking for a super opaque metallic product to add on top of your work on paper surfaces, you have to try Finetec Mica Watercolors.

You can apply this product with a dip pen or brush. Each color comes in a solid pan, but all you have to do is wet the surface with water and rub a brush over the pan until the color starts to “melt”. Then you can apply the mixture to your pen tip or use a brush.

The end result is so fricken pretty. Look at that shimmer!

Winsor and Newton Gold Ink

Before I discovered Finetec Mica Watercolors, this Winsor and Newton ink was my favorite for embellishing my paper works. The ink is easy to apply with a brush or pen nib, and the end result beautifully shimmers when it catches the light.

I usually use either a Speedball Sketch Pen (Amazon) or my new Tachikawa Comic Pen (Amazon) to apply this ink. Before dipping your pen or brush, make sure to stir the bottle really well as the gold settles at the bottom. You will also want to stir the bottle frequently if using the ink for a long sitting. This is my biggest complaint with the product–the gold settles quickly.

But look at how it shines on this hand embellished print in my store:

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There you have it! My top three materials for creating metallic gold fine line work in my art. Have you used any products that you absolutely love? Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments below while commenting is open.

If you enjoy learning about the supplies I use in the studio and want to know more, let me know through Instagram or Email, or consider becoming a Patron of mine to support more content like this. Now go get messy and share your creation on Instagram using #messyeverafter!

-Kelly

SUPPORT MESSY EVER AFTER ON PATREON:

A lot of artists don’t like to share their secrets, but I’m an open book. If you enjoy the content I create and the advice I give to other creators, please consider becoming Patron of mine on Patreon. Pledging as little as $1 a month supports this content and my career as an artist.

Further Reading:

My Favorite Art Supplies of the Month

November 2019

*Links contained in this post are affiliate links for Amazon or Dick Blick and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. These commissions help fund more content like this, so thank you!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a favorite supplies post! With Black Friday coming up this is the perfect time to add new materials to your holiday wish list and take advantage of upcoming sales. (I know Blick runs a lot of promotions!)

If you follow me on Instagram, you will see a lot of process videos pop up on my profile. Lately, I have been experimenting with acrylic inks, metallic mica watercolor pans, and a new dip pen on top of my usual watercolor inks (previous supplies post). Take a look and learn about the products I’ve been obsessed with lately!

Brushes and Pens

Dip Pen and Nibs

I am always excited to try new pens. I had been using this Speedball Sketch Pen set (Amazon) for a long time, but I wanted to try something new just for kicks. I found this blue grip Tachikawa pen on Amazon and love it! When you get new pens with metal nibs, it’s important to clean the protective coating off so your material sticks to the nib. I use a lighter to heat the nib then a paper towel to clean the surface. I pass the nib through the flame a few times. If your inks still don’t stick to the nib, repeat the heating and wiping process.

I use dip pens like this with a variety of media. If the substance can flow, you can probably try apply it with the pen.

  • Tachikawa Comic Pen and Nibs (Amazon)
Watercolor Brushes

If you have ever tried cheap packs of watercolor brushes, you know the pain of using inferior supplies. With acrylic brushes, you can get away with using really cheap synthetic bristles, but watercolor brushes are a little more nuanced. I haven’t gone too crazy with expensive brushes, but I did make a slight upgrade form a $7 pack of cheap AF watercolor brushes to these Utrecht brushes. They have synthetic bristles, and they hold their shape and quite a bit of water while working. They also don’t shed on your paper (yay!).

I use these brushes when applying traditional watercolors, watercolor inks, acrylic ink, and any other watery material when working on paper.

  • Utrecht 6150 R Size 10 Watercolor Brush (Dick Blick)
  • Utrecht 6150 R Size 4 Watercolor Brush (Dick Blick)

Metallic Embellishments

Finetec Artist Mica Watercolors

I cannot fully express how much I LOVE this product. I have worked with a lot of metallic art substances in my last 15 years of art making, and Finetec is my favorite metallic medium. FAVORITE. Why? Many reasons.

  • It looks amazing when applied as it catches the light beautifully.
  • It is super easy to work with. The pans are solid and you just need to wet the surface with water and a brush and rub until it turns viscous. Then you can apply it with a brush or dip pen (I deposit the mixture on my nib with the brush I used for stirring).
  • Since you can control the mixture with a pen or brush you don’t have to worry about metallic paint pens burping all over your paper.
  • It doesn’t smell like some oil based pens or liquid inks can.
  • Since it’s water-based, you could mix this into your watercolors for a tinted shimmer in your work.
  • When dry, it doesn’t smear or transfer any mica onto my hand.

I use this product on my paper surfaces only. I haven’t tried it on canvas or on top of acrylics.

Acrylic Ink

I bought this ink years ago and didn’t like it at first. Mainly because I didn’t really know what I was doing or how I wanted to use it. I put them in a drawer and forgot about them until a few weeks ago. Now I love this ink and want to go buy all the colors.

I love working with inks that are incredibly opaque. When I do fine lining, I don’t want my background colors to show through my line work. This acrylic ink has the opacity I prefer. You can apply it with a dip pen or a brush, but you can also use an airbrush or technical pen if you have it, making this ink versatile.

In the first video above, you can see this ink in action when I apply the blue lines. The white lines still use my favorite white ink, Dr. Ph Martin’s Pen White Ink (Amazon)

Paper

I use all of these products on paper surfaces. I like to keep things simple so I am still using the same Canson Watercolor paper as my base for most work. I cut my paper down to smaller sizes to avoid buckling and warping the paper, and I don’t overwork the surface so this budget option works great for me.

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And that’s it! I hope you feel inspired to try some new products!

If you enjoy learning about the supplies I use in the studio and want to know more, let me know through Instagram or Email, or consider becoming a Patron of mine to support more content like this. Now go get messy and share your creation on Instagram using #messyeverafter!

-Kelly

SUPPORT MESSY EVER AFTER ON PATREON:

A lot of artists don’t like to share their secrets, but I’m an open book. If you enjoy the content I create and the advice I give to other creators, please consider becoming Patron of mine on Patreon. Pledging as little as $1 a month supports this content and my career as an artist.

Further Reading:

Mini Tutorial: Rainbow Sky with Metallic Embellishment

How It’s Made

Color inspires me, and few things make me as happy as a rainbow burst of messiness on paper or canvas. I feel so much joy while creating work like this, and I’d love for you to give it a try.

I will link all of the materials I used to make this piece, but you can use your own supplies if they produce similar results. You don’t have to get the exact stuff I use in order to make joyful art.

My favorite part about this piece is the metallic embellishment at the end. Let’s jump in and see what you’re favorite part is!

MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES I USE:

*Links contained in this post are affiliate links for Amazon or Dick Blick and I will earn a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. These commissions help fund more content like this, so thank you!

General Directions:

First,cut your paper to the size you want to work with. I cut this piece to 8″x8″, and then I lightly drew border lines 1/2″ from the edge of the paper with a mechanical pencil.

The general outline for this piece is as follows:

  • Fill in background colors working from the top left, to the right, down the right side, around the bottom, and then meet back up in the top left.
  • Darken areas of the background to create more shadows.
  • Add fluffy white bits with white ink or watercolor and blend with the colors to create highlights and cloud-like formations.
  • Draw white lines.
  • Draw gold lines.
  • Embellish with flecks of white and gold.

THE BACKGROUND:

  1. Using the size 10 watercolor brush, wet the upper half of the square within your pencil border with water. Apply a small amount of yellow watercolor ink in the upper left corner and work your way to the right.
  2. Then, mix a little lake blue into the yellow to create a subtle shift from yellow to green. Then, add more lake blue but do not blend as much so there is more of a distinct difference between blue and green. Mix in a little water if your colors look too saturated. We are starting light.
  3. On your paint palette, mix water and ultramarine blue with orange to create a deep Prussian blue color. Work this into your paper under the lake blue. Then work your way across the bottom of the paper then add violet, then a plum like color (violet mixed with magenta), and a bluish violet (lake blue mixed with violet). Then up the left side, blend upwards with magenta. Then blend in orange until you meet up with the yellow.
  4. Once you complete your first round of color application, start to add in shadows around the piece with all of the colors above with less water. With this round, you will not blend the colors as much, but focus on developing shadows and creating more rigid lines between colors.
  5. Then, apply highlights. I used white watercolor and mixed lighter shades of a few of the colors and blended this into sections of the piece to create fluffiness of the “cloud” formations.
  6. Let it dry.

The Line Work:

The White Lines:

Using the Tachikawa pen and Dr. Ph Martin’s Pen White Ink, it’s time to create the bubbly white line work.

I just bought this new pen off of Amazon and I love how it performs. When you buy a new pen like this, you will need to prep the nibs for use. New nibs have a film to protect the metal that you need to remove or your inks won’t work properly. The easiest way I’ve removed the coating is to put the nib in the pen, then take a lighter and heat the nib for a few seconds on each side and then wipe it with a cloth. (Obviously, don’t burn yourself.) Try dipping the pen in ink before removal and see how the nib appears a bit waterproof. After heating and wiping it off, try again. You’ll see a difference. You may need to heat and wipe the nib a couple of times. Before moving onto your art, test the nib and ink on scratch paper and get a feel for how it works.

Once your nib is prepped, dip it into the ink and start applying lines. I start in the lower left corner and work my way up. First, I create lines independent of the underlying colors below, then as I move up, I place my lines around the “cloud” formations to accentuate the underlying shapes. This process is a bit intuitive. Feel it out. Put as many or as few lines as you feel comfortable with.

Be careful not to run your hand over areas that are still wet. I usually take a couple of breaks to let sections dry before moving on, but he ink doesn’t take long to dry.

The Gold Lines:

This is my favorite part! I love testing out different metallic gold products and FineTec Mica Watercolors are fricken amazing. They are easy to work with. You can apply with a brush, or with a sketch pen. Most importantly, the paint shimmers beautifully. I bought the set of 6 a while ago and really need to use them more. For this piece, I used Arabic Gold.

To work with this product, I take a small brush and dip it into water. Rub the brush on the surface of the paint pan until it starts to soften. I usually dip in the water a few times to deposit more water onto the pan. I rub the pan until there is a layer of viscous paint on the surface. Then, I take the brush, load it with some of the paint, and then deposit it onto the front and back surface of my Tachikawa pen nib. It’s ready go. (Test it on a scratch piece of paper! If it doesn’t flow, you may need to add more water to the pan.)

When applying the gold lines, I follow the same idea as the white. Accentuate the curves of cloud formations.

Stars/Speckles:

When done with the lines, it’s time to add the last bit of detail. Before I clean my gold from the nib, I draw a few dots/stars in the darkest open areas of ink. Then I take a coarse bristles brush and dip it into the Pen White Ink and flick the bristles to create fine speckles on different areas of the work. You can hand draw the dots as well. I focus on open areas without line work.

And that’s it!

Look at how the gold shines when tilted into the light! Ah, I love it!

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If you enjoyed this little tutorial and want to learn more, let me know through Instagram or Email, or consider becoming a Patron of mine to support more content like this. Now go get messy and share your creation on Instagram using #messyeverafter!

-Kelly

SUPPORT MESSY EVER AFTER ON PATREON:

A lot of artists don’t like to share their secrets, but I’m an open book. If you enjoy the content I create and the advice I give to other creators, please consider becoming Patron of mine on Patreon. Pledging as little as $1 a month supports this content and my career as an artist.

Further Reading: