Explained: Do Brush Pens Bleed Through Paper?

Brush pens are the go-to pens for many artists, scribes, and calligraphers. These pens are interesting fun to use, they produce excellent lines, and they are wonderfully versatile as well. However, those who are buying their first brush pen often have one large concern – do brush pens bleed through paper?

Brush pens do bleed through paper if the wrong paper for the pen is used. Regular printer paper will always bleed with brush pens, but high-quality, small grain paper or paper that is sealed, such as blending card, will not bleed with any brush pen type, regardless of ink.

Bleeding is a common problem with many types of pens, and it stands to reason that brush pens would bleed through paper because they lay down so much ink at once, right? Well, unfortunately, the answer is a little more complicated than that. Let’s explore some of the characteristics of brush pens to find out if they bleed through paper, how to prevent bleeding, and why brush pens may bleed through paper in the first place.

Do Brush Pens Bleed Through Paper?

Using any type of thick, saturated ink is likely to bleed through paper, and many artistic and scribing markers use this type of ink, which means that bleeding is a common problem when using these types of pen. Brush pens use various types of ink, including saturated inks, which leads many to wonder if brush pens bleed through paper?

Brush pens do bleed through certain types of paper, but not all types of paper. Using the right brush pen and paper combination will not cause bleeding at all and will allow the use of both sides of your paper with the same pen.

Understanding the type of brush pen, you are using and the best paper to use with it is important for preventing bleeding. Almost all brush pens will bleed through certain types of paper, such as standard printer paper and other types of thermal paper, as well as very thin or low-quality paper.

The type of ink used in the pen and how much ink the pen lets down in a stroke is another important factor here. Some brush pens will bleed through some types of paper, while other brush pens do not bleed through the same type of paper. It all depends on the paper and the pen.

As a general rule, brush pens will always bleed through printer paper and lower quality papers, so when using brush pens, it is important to use high-quality paper or paper designed for use with brush pens.

Why Do Brush Pens Bleed Through Paper?

Brush pens do not bleed through all typed of paper, but certain pens will bleed through certain types of paper more easily than others. Why do brush pens bleed through certain types of paper so easily?

Brush pens are typically designed to use water-based inks, alcohol-based inks, or saturated pigment inks that use a base such as oil. These inks are very wet, as opposed to some of the drier inks found in gel pens or ballpoint pens. 

Wet inks, such as those used in most brush pens, soak into the paper more easily, especially low-quality paper or paper with long fibers such as printer paper or thermal paper. The wet ink soaks into the paper easily and flows along the long fiber grains.

This will draw more ink out of the pen than necessary for the line causing a number of issues, including bleeding, feathering, ghosting, and even tearing the paper while using the brush pen.

The type of inks used in brush pens requires suitable paper for brush pens that will avoid these issues, as well as understanding the brush pen that you are using. This is important because not all paper will bleed with the use of a brush pen, but even some bleed-proof papers will bleed with certain brush pen types.

How To Prevent Bush Pen Bleeding?

Bleeding is a common issue when using brush pens, but there are several ways to prevent this issue or to lessen its effects while using a brush pen.

Let’s explore some of the best methods and ways to prevent brush pen bleeding to help sold this frustrating problem regardless of the type of brush pen you prefer to use.

Use The Right Paper

The best way to prevent brush pen bleeding is to use the right type of paper for your brush pen. Most brush pens will work well with cardstock, blending card, thick paper, and high-quality, small fiber grain papers. 

These papers will help to prevent the bleeding effect present with other types of papers and will also help to maintain your brush pens well and prolong their use.

Tracing paper is another very good option for use with brush pens, as most brush pen manufacturers recommend using tracing paper with their pens, but this paper is not always the best for every writing or artistic application.

Understand Your Brush Pen

Understanding the type of brush pen that you use is important to prevent bleeding. If your brush pen uses water-based ink, then using watercolor paper may be best. Alcohol-based ink brush pens will work best with blending card, and saturated ink pens with an oil base will not bleed through very thick, small fiber grain paper.

The best paper for your brush pen depends on what ink your brush pen uses. Not all papers are good for all brush pens, and even some bleed-proof paper will bleed with certain types of ink.

Use Correct Technique

Another way to help prevent brush pens from bleeding through paper is to practice the techniques that you are using. If you are an artist using brush pens for crisp, precise lines, or if you use brush pens for scribing and calligraphy, using the proper techniques will help t prevent bleeding.

Try not to press too hard, use your ink sparingly, and practice your strokes and smoothness to help prevent bleeding through paper with brush pens, regardless of the pen or paper that you are using.


At the end of it, brush pens bleed through paper, but only when you use a paper that is not meant for use with the types of ink used in brush pens or the ink flow volume from brush pens.

Using regular printer paper will always allow brush pens to bleed through, but using good paper or blending card will usually prevent the issue.

Bleeding is a frustrating problem, but with the right paper for your pen, bleeding will never be an issue that you have to deal with again!

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