Can Brush Pens Be Used As A Highlighter?

Working on creative projects or just starting to learn how to be creative around your desk is something everyone eventually starts doing. When exploring all the possible pens on the market, you may be surprised to learn that brush pens may work better as a highlighter than other pens.

A brush pen can easily be used as a highlighter, with the words you are highlighting being dry before you start the highlighting process. Brush pens put down much more ink than other types of pens and allow you to vary the thickness of the stroke you are making.

There are several things about brush pens that we would recommend you learn before using them for every possible problem you may have. Understanding how and when to use certain types of pens will allow you to create much better-looking end products than you would normally.

What can brush pens be used for?

Brush pens are used for all sorts of projects, with many artists using the pens to fill in between the lines and adding shading to their drawings. Further, many who use brush pens for writing enjoy the pens purely because they can easily create different thicknesses with each pen stroke.

Overall, brush pens are loved by most who use them because of their immense amount of flexibility and versatility. Each brush pen can be used in several different ways, with many brands attaching a hard nib on one end to allow for hard-line drawings rather than just filling and brushing.

Further, we have seen many artists switch over to a specific brand of brush pens because they prefer how the ink interacts with the other tools they are using. This allows them to create pieces that easily look a lot more contrasting without suffering bleeding of inks.

How do you use a brush pen as a highlighter?

To use a brush pen as a highlighter, you will need to practice making a line first before highlighting your words. Further, if the pen you are highlighting over tends to stay wet for a while, you need to ensure that it is dry before highlighting, or else it may start smearing and smudging.

We always recommend that you first go over with a Tombow brush to get the ink safe against smudging, creating a highlight that will not smudge or smear. Many people prefer not to do this and instead only use the brush pen to highlight when working with specific pens.

This allows them to quickly highlight their work without sacrificing time to protect the work, ensuring that they can work efficiently. This is often why you may find that artists also only use brush pens when they are working with specific types of pens and inks.

What makes a brush pen better to use as a highlighter?

Now that we know how to use a brush pen as a highlighter to make even the roughest notes look amazing, we need to look at why brush pens are preferred. Most people who use highlighters every day will already know their limitations, with many people actively hating them.

This is why we need to understand why brush pens are always better than most other options when highlighting. Most artists that can afford them will happily use brush pens wherever they are allowed to, with some even using them to make the actual notes they are making.

Thickness of brush

This is the most important part about brush pens; you can control the thickness of the stroke exactly without accidentally making a thicker line. When used properly, you can create a line that goes from thin to thick with a perfect transition from thin to thick without obvious transitions.

Many people who use highlighters each day will assume that they are the best for their job; however, they are considered only entry-level. Many people always highlight things happily using brush pens to create much better notes.

Intensity of inks

A highlighter is not that good at highlighting, especially when you start running out of pink and green, the most common colors to use. Brush pens are usually intensely vivid when using lighter colors, which allows you to easily highlight your work without losing colors.

Artists often use brush pens specifically because they can color code much better and know where everything is without getting confused about what the color is. The more vivid color is, the easier it is to see when rereading your notes for what feels like the thousandth time.

Color choices you have

The sheer amount of color you have when using brush pens is almost impossible to describe, as they are used for artwork; they come in every shade imaginable. Further, many manufacturers of brush pens have their unique color pallets that they are working with.

Some use CMYK spectrums, and others use only RGB spectrums, which create so many varied colors that it is impossible to have them all. Many artists are also capable of combining the colors from brush pens to create even more colors available at the stock.

What can go wrong when using brush pens as a highlighter?

When using brush pens, two main things can go wrong, with the first one being inked that are running from the notes you have made. The second is the ink bleeding through the page if it is not thick enough to resist the ink, which most normal papers cannot do.

We always recommend testing on spots on the paper first, as you will need to control how much ink is flowing from your brush pen when using it as a highlighter. Further, many people make the mistake of assuming that the ink dries instantly.

When used too soon, the ink will allow the ink already written to start running, with some inks becoming completely illegible. This often happens when you are using softer inks that are not in ballpoint pens, as these are meant to be left for a few seconds to dry completely after use.


Brush pens are perfect when used as highlighters as they have much more color available and give you the chance to create dynamic notes. Further, when used properly, you can have different thicknesses for your highlighting, and you will be able to easily know where everything is at a glance.

Whatever you do, please don’t try and use a brushless pen over a highlighter; that will cause headaches and nothing else!

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