Marker Geek Monday: Colouring with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens

Time to get another week started off the way we mean to go on – with lots of colour! It’s me -Elaineabella – here to share some more colouring tips with you for Marker Geek Monday. This week I’m answering some requests that came via Instagram, to see some colouring with the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers. Connect with us folks, we’re listening!

If you also enjoy colouring with alcohol based markers like Copics and you missed last week’s post take a look when you’re done here, especially if you find images like Tiny Townie Bree loves Buttercream a little daunting with those big lacy ruffled skirts : Marker Geek Monday: Copic Colouring a Ruffled Skirt with Step by Step and Colouring Video. Although that post was created using Copic Markers, I would actually approach the colouring in a similar way using other supplies like the Zig Clean Color Pens, so it is worth checking it out whatever your preferred medium.

Marker Geek Monday at Stamping Bella: Colouring Thinkingofyouabella with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens. Click through for tips and a video!


Over on the Stamping Bella Instagram feed, mperezdetagle asked if any of us have coloured Stamping Bella images with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers. I know that our current special guest Sandy Allnock has coloured some of the stamps in the past (see her awesome Nacho blog post with video), but I’m not sure I’ve seen any of our character stamps coloured with them and I certainly hadn’t attempted them personally. I had a quick play with mine and Thinkingofyouabella and this was the result:

Not too bad! I actually like her a lot more now than I did straight after colouring her, which is often the case with colouring.

TOP TIP: if you’re not loving your work, walk away for a while and return to it with fresh eyes. So often our opinions of our work can be tainted by the disappointment we feel when things aren’t going exactly as we envisaged, or the frustration of having to deal with technical issues in the process.

A few people, including our wonderful BOSSABELLA Emily requested that I do a post/video using the markers. I was a little hesitant, as while I am not new to the markers, I also don’t feel that I’ve practiced enough in this particular area with them. Then I thought it might still be fun to let you see how I approached colouring with them, and give you a little peek at the process. Hopefully this post will help you feel inspired to experiment yourself, whether with these particular pens or whatever you may have!

Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers:

These markers are a completely different beast to my usual alcohol based markers (Copics, Touch Twin, ProMarkers etc). They are filled with a water-based dye ink. Unlike most watercolour markers however, they have a proper bristle tip. One very appealing advantage of the proper synthetic bristle tip is that it enables you to achieve beautiful fine details, which you will see if you take a look at Thinkingofyouabella‘s hair. The bristles give a flexibility that allows you to create lines that go from thick to thin quite naturally and fluidly. I absolutely loved colouring the hair with these pens using the direct to paper marker blending technique.

Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers. Click through to read the blog post and watch a colouring video!

The Zig Clean Color Real Brush pens are available in sets ranging from small 6 marker packs to the large 80 pen set. They are also available as open stock, so you could start out with a smaller set to try them out and supplement with individual pens later on, or just buy individual pens from the outset. When I purchased mine last year I bought the 60 set and have since added a few pens here and there by buying them individually. Shop around – prices seem to vary and you can get some good deals online.

The fact that the pens are available individually is great, because these are not refillable. I’ve had mine for around a year now, but have not done a huge amount of colouring with them so can’t really comment on how long they last.

Mostly I’ve used my Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens to colour in my adult colouring books. I tend to use them without water as most colouring books don’t stand up well to wet media, and so I used the same technique on the image above and on my second attempt which I also filmed for you (watch my video below). I lay down the darker colour and then blend it out with a lighter shade. This technique seems to work much better on a smooth paper as opposed to a rough watercolour paper. I used Strathmore Bristol Board here, and found it worked really nicely. The image I posted on Instagram and the image I coloured in today’s post are my first attempts at colouring skin tones with the markers.

One of my favourite things about these pens is that they are great to travel with. I store mine in a large cosmetic pouch, along with colour swatches for reference and a water brush.

As the ink in these pens is a water-based dye you will want to use an ink pad for stamping that plays nicely with water-based media. My personal preference is for Ranger Archival Ink Jet Black, but Versafine Onyx Black also works perfectly. These inks of course, do not work well with Copic Markers!

TOP TIP: If you’re stamping on a rough surfaced watercolour paper you may wish to use a stamp positioner like the MISTI stamping tool to allow you to easily re-stamp if your impression doesn’t come out perfect first time.

Thinkingofyouabella Coloured with Zig Clean Color Pens Video:

Here’s the video showing how I coloured my stamped image. Watch below or in HD over on YouTube (while you’re there make sure to subscribe and check out my Stamping Bella playlist).

If you’re using the pens with water, they behave quite differently to the technique I’ve shown here. Keep reading as you will find I’ve got some inspiration and information to share for this technique too!

NOTE: I’m not too happy with the way the blush colour on the cheeks dried. When the colour settled into the paper it actually lightened significantly, giving the cheeks more of a bleached out appearance. This fits with the way you can use the lighter marker to blend out the darker colours, it just didn’t occur to me while colouring that this would be the case. As you can see in the video, while wet the colour appeared much darker. Next time I will try a darker shade of pink for the cheeks and see how that works out.

Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen Colour Map:

I thought I’d add a handy colour map for the image, as I usually do with my Copic Marker posts. I’ve also included one for the first image I coloured as seen on Instagram.

Stamping Bella Thinkingofyouabella Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen Colour Map. Click through to read the blog post and watch a video! Stamping Bella Thinkingofyouabella Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen Colour Map. Click through to read the blog post and watch a video!

Remember that if you purchase Stamping Bella stamps you can obtain free Copic Colour Maps for the versions shown on the product packaging – go HERE to find out how to do that. Between those and the bonus colour maps often featured here on the blog, you can build up a great library of colour combinations to try out with your own Copic collection.

More Inspiration For You:

Over on my own blog – Marker Geek – I’ve got another video for you featuring Thinkingofyouabella and the Zig Clean Color pens. There’s a difference though – over there I’ve used a different technique by adding water and using them as watercolours. Click through to my blog to read the post and watch the video: Colouring with Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers ft. Stamping Bella. I could only have been further outside my comfort zone if I were using actual watercolour paints! You know what though? I had a lot of fun, and it gave my brain a little workout.

TOP TIP: Step outside your comfort zone from time to time. You may surprise yourself, and you will definitely learn more than you will by always playing it safe. Make the time, take a chance and reap the creative rewards!

Over To You!

If you try out the techniques shown in this post with your Stamping Bella stamps, be sure to share! We would love to see the results and hear how you feel about them. Show off your creations in the comments below and even better, share your own favourite tips with us. Let’s talk colour!

If you are posting your images online, we would love to see them on Instagram and all the platforms mentioned above.  To make it easier for us to find you just use #markergeekmonday and/or #stampingbella as a hashtag. Even better tag me @markergeek and @stampingbella . We love it when you connect, so don’t be shy!

Until next time, HAPPY COLOURING!




  1. denise i says:

    Beautiful coloring! I’ve never used zig markers but might have to give them a try…. i’m a copic girl…
    i’d really like to see the image each colored with copics, zigs, and prismacolor pencils and the images side by side to see the difference of appearance for all three different types of coloring…. just a thought for a future episode! 🙂

    • Elaineabella says:

      Thanks Denise! I’m usually a Copic girl, but the Zigs are quite fun to use too. It’s nice to have options.

      I may manage to colour up Thinkingofyouabella sometime soon using coloured pencils, and a comparison could be fun, yes. 🙂

  2. Lynda J says:

    Beautiful and thanks so much for the help with Zigs. I use Zigs all the time but sometimes have difficulty getting something to work as well as it worked last time. I have the entire set of Zigs and really love them and would love to see lots more Zig tutorials!
    Oh…length of time they last. I’ve had mine for more than a year and they’ll last about a year with quite a lot of use. I’ve had to replace my more often used favorites and I buy them individually, and stock up on my favorite colors when I find them on sale. There are quite a few places that have great prices when they’re on sale!

    • Elaineabella says:

      So glad you enjoyed the post Lynda! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I’ll try and drop in some more Zig related posts here and there!

      Thank you for the info re. how long the pens last! 🙂

  3. Thanks for these videos and tips Elaine…. my Zigs look at me from the pot on my desk….. willing me to give them a proper go and not just use them for flowers!! Maybe I will after seeing this!

    Oooh I and totally agree with the ‘walk away for a while’ tip… DON’T let your creation hit the bin before you walk!! LOL x

    Christine x

    • Elaineabella says:

      Hey Christine!

      Mostly I’ve been colouring leaves and flowers with the Zig pens in my colouring books! 😀 Definitely get them out and have a go at something different – it’s fun to mix things up a little.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for sharing. I have the Zig pens, but haven’t used them very much. I have always used them with water to soften the color but will have to try them without water now. 🙂

  5. Tara says:

    I absolutely love your coloring of this image. I first saw your video on YT and had to come over to your blog. As a person who is biracial I really appreciate you sharing how you achieved the beautiful tan skin tone. I rarely see people coloring images that reflect how I look. I often see either Caucasian or African American but rarely anything in between or Latina. I notice you have a lot, (like a lot alot, lol!)of Copic videos which are all beautiful but I would love to see more of your coloring with the Zig clean color brushes. Or maybe you can direct me to someone who uses these markers with the Stamping Bella stamps. I just received my set of 48 and as a beginner would love to see more of your work. I currently don’t own any of the Stamping Bella stamps but I can see that I may need to add some to my collection. Thanks again for sharing, you have an amazing talent and look forward to seeing more of your work.
    Tara YT: NurseTara04

  6. Angela Westland says:

    What ink pads should I use when using my zigs on watercoloring paper with my aqua painters so it doesn’t bleed. I hate stazon and am looking for a mini ink pad I can use. Please help

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