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Homesthetics

9 Best Water Brushes for Beginners, Professionals & Calligraphy

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Perhaps you’re tired of using the same brushes you’ve used ever since you started painting.

Or you saw a video on YouTube or an Instagram post on your favorite art hashtags using this pen-looking contraption.

In any case, you’re in the right place – water brushes are what’s new and what’s good in the world of art.

The watercolor brush has been around since literally forever in the world of art. And for years, the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” dogma has been present in the art arena.

Until now-now that the water brush finds its way into portable art kits and backpacks worldwide. Today, we intend to review the nine best water brushes that are on the market. Without much ado, let’s begin.

Best Water Brushes Calligraphy & Painting

  1. Sakura Koi Water Brush Review

Coming from the familiar Sakura Koi brand of art supplies, the Sakura Koi Water Brush is a brilliant product for the price. In fact, it delivers an astonishing price-to-usability ratio. Thus, the whole narrative about new art supplies being out of reach of students and hobbyists is no longer valid. It’s also wonderful for going to the wide unknown and exploring the scenery while painting.

Sakura XBR-24SA 24-Piece Koi Assorted Coloring Brush Pen Set
  • Koi coloring brush pen set
  • These pens perform similar to an artist brush
  • The durable tip will quickly spring back to its original...
  • The odorless, water-based solvent facilitates smooth...

Experience

This particular water brush comes in with a number of features which make it particularly attractive for first-time water brush users. The brush tips are available in multiple sizes as per requirements, and the water container is kept separate from the brush to facilitate painting and portability. The reservoirs are much smaller than regular brushes at 4 ml and 9 ml.

This could cause you to get up very often just to refill and break the flow you’re in. An easy way around this problem is to get multiple brushes and carry on with your job with the next full brush. This is unlikely to get finished too in a single painting session. If you want to head plein air, then this also makes a lot of sense – it’s light, portable and splits into two so water doesn’t spill.

There are a few problems with this brush, however. These problems include managing the water flow while painting (a common problem with entry level water brushes). Another problem is that you don’t get tips as standard with this brush – you have to buy the tips as per your size choice by yourself. Outside of these problems, you really should be alright with the Sakura Koi.

Pros
  • Comes with a two-piece design, best for traveling
  • Very reasonably priced for the painting quality that comes out when you use these brushes
  • Available in a number of water capacities as per specification
Cons
  • Does not ship with brushes, have to buy them according to usage
  • The water container is far too small for the professionals
  1. Derwent Art Waterbrush 3 Pack

With the Derwent Waterbrush, you get a number of benefits – it’s similar to the Pentel Aquash brushes, but not quite. Especially to be noted is the anti-roll design, which is nothing short of a revolution as far as water brushes are concerned. Hence, this waterbrush is worth a look at least if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, highly reliable water brush.

Derwent Art Supplies, Waterbrush, 3 Pack (2301975)
  • Set of water brushes gives you the perfect flexibility out...
  • Water flows to the synthetic fiber tip via a leak-proof...
  • Also sold individually: Small (2300123), Chisel Tip...

Experience

To get water into the brush tips, you need only gently press the body from the sides. This is similar to what a few others have done in terms of water brush design. You can expect to get three different types of tips with the brush: Small and medium, which are rounded from the top; as well as a chiseled tip. You can safely use these brushes for calligraphy as well.

The construction of the Derwent water brush is such that you can come to expect a steady, controlled stream of water or ink from the brush. You can expect the output of your work and predict the performance of the brushes to a large extent. Now, we’ll come to why the anti-roll design of the brush is such a huge deal.

The problem with other brushes is that whenever you’re dealing with uneven surfaces, your brush typically just rolls off at the point of unevenness. This is dealt away with when it comes to this brush – the anti-roll feature avoids rolling off virtuously. No matter you’re painting in a small cafe or out next to a river, you’ll get a flawless painting experience anyway.

Pros
  • Comes in at a reasonable price point
  • Anti-roll design is revolutionary
  • Good build quality
Cons
  • Only three brush tips to choose from
  1. AQUAnaut Water Brush

If you’re looking for a water brush which can go head to head with the best brushes that we’re reviewing today, and give a unique touch to the whole water brushing process – you’re in the right place. The other brushes we consider come with a suction mechanism (generally). This one comes with a whole syringe mechanism so you can get this done more efficiently.

Sale
AQUAnaut Flow Refillable Water Brush Pen Set - 3 Ink and...
  • 3 PIECE WATERBRUSH SET - Included in each set is one small...
  • FREE FILL TOOL TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER - As artists...
  • REUSABLE AND VERSATILE - This is the ideal set for painting...
  • THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ALL ARTISTS AND CALLIGRAPHERS - Whether...

Experience

The AQUAnaut brush here comes with a small, medium and large tip so you can get just the right amount of detail. Even though most artists may be expecting a simpler pump based mechanism to fill up the reservoir in the brush, this approach works much better. This is especially evident when one tries to use it for calligraphy (and hence uses ink).

You can use these for blending and painting with a number of media, which includes paint, crayons, and inks. Also, it is especially recommended for children for starting off their painting/artistry journey.

The amount of spillage and wastage, in general, is reduced by a country mile with the syringe system. This leads to savings on ink and more sophisticated painting experiences. Even though there is a learning curve associated with using this brush, in the end, the cost savings alone justify it. And to top it off, the quality of work that comes out is spectacular too.

Pros
  • Comes in at an attractive price
  • Safe for use by children
  • Radical syringe system avoids spillage while filling up with inks or other material
Cons
  • The brush opens and closes in a reverse sense, so it is liable to be broken at times
  1. Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush

This is one of the most popular brushes on the market as of date. And why wouldn’t it be? The versatility, agility, and quality of the end product that comes when you use these brushes are beyond reproach. Compared to other brushes, the capacity is a slightly voluminous 6 mL. Hence, you can expect this pen to last a while before it gets finished up – more focus time!

Sale
Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush Assorted Tips, 4 Pack Carded...
  • Easy-to-squeeze barrel and unique valve system allows you to...
  • Fill with water or your favorite watercolor paint, ink or...
  • Durable nylon Brush tip holds its point
  • Flattened barrel keeps Brush from rolling off your work...

Experience

With this pen, you’re treated to one of the best experiences in the market today. The brush tips, for example, are nothing short of exemplary. There are four such tips available, and while the first three listed out are best suited for painters – and the last one hits the mark when it comes with calligraphy and other fine work. With this brush, you get the following:

  • A fine round brush tip
  • A medium round brush tip
  • A small round brush tip
  • A flat brush tip

You can either get all these pens as a standalone pen or in sets (which often is a much better deal). With just the right amount of pressure on the water brush, you can get the exact amount of water to the paint and paper. The versatility of these brushes is also among the best you can get in this class of water brushes.

These brushes can be chucked into the dishwasher right after use, so you can rest assured of their cleanliness. The barrel design approach makes for a slightly leakier water brush than those that come with more sophisticated restrictor-valve based designs. All in all, it makes for a wonderful brush at a great price point taking into account the quality of the brush.

Pros
  • Design makes the design experience desirable and accessible
  • Brush tips are worth writing home about; they’re that good
  • Can be put right into the dishwasher after use
Cons
  • Susceptible to the odd leak or two
  1. Caran d’Arche Aquarelle Brush

A few brushes come by every once in a while which radically change the way you think about water brushes and watercolors in general. One of these brushes is the Caran d’Arche Aquarelle, which seems to tick every box when it comes to high-quality water brush standards. With a revolutionary button which regulates water flow, you get total control over your art.

Caran D'ache Brush with Water Tank (115.201)
  • Caran d'ache refillable water Brush
  • Supplies
  • Quality art products
  • Watercolor Brush

Experience

With a literal small tank in your water brush, you can expect to last multiple painting sessions without having to refill – this makes for a huge difference when you’re in the painting flow. Once you remove small interruptions in your workflow, your focus improves drastically. (Multiple credible sources cite research to support this.)

This also comes with a number of brush tips, as would be expected of a premium water brush. One of the fine tips actually functions akin to a marker than an actual paintbrush, which gives you a better variety of strokes you can employ while working. It is also worth mentioning at this juncture that the refill mechanism is similar to the AQUAnaut reviewed above.

You can get this water brush in either a brush tip (synthetic) or a fiber tip. You can rest assured about cleaning because this brush can be cleaned rather simply with just a flush of water through the tip. The plunger, however, sticks out of the pen when using it at full capacity. Besides this, it makes for a wonderful companion to your art journey.  

Pros
  • Button-based water pushing design creates a considerable difference in your painting style
  • Largest water content of any water brush tested by at least 2x
  • Syringe-based water/ink is very easy to use, also comes with a cap
Cons
  • Plunger sticks out of the water brush
  1. Kuretake Fude Water Brush Pen

The Japanese are known to be fussy and fastidious about… basically, anything that they do. This Water Brush pen by Kuretake has a number of advantages which make it a serious contender in the water brush space. Kuretake has been in the market for around a century, with their calligraphy pens considered near the best in the market.

Kuretake Fude Water Brush Pen for drawing art for lettering...
  • It is a set of 3 pieces of KURETAKE water brush pens tips...
  • It is an environment-friendly watercolor writing brush which...
  • Adopted a structure to prevent water leakage.You can use...
  • Ideal for drawing watercolor art. very easy to control the...

Experience

There are three kinds of sizes on offer: small, medium and large. All of them are rounded at the top and give a stellar performance when it comes to watercolor painting. Even calligraphy is dealt with virtuously – those of you with more literary inclinations should take note of this pen. These pens have synthetic based brushes. These tend to work out better for shorter washes.

This is because the rate at which water exits the barrel of the brush is lesser than what you’d expect of a water brush such as the Pentel. Hence, you could use the Pentel when you intend to work for larger projects, simply because it spits out more water when you ask it to. However, if it’s control you’re after, the Kuretade gives you unprecedented amounts of it.

You can use this as a calligraphy brush or a simple watercolor brush. The one thing which clinches the argument of choosing this brush over any other is that it is extremely value-for-money. You will get years of trouble-free service out of these brushes compared to others which will give in in less than half the time. A solid recommendation!

Pros
  • Brushes are very high quality and manufactured to a fault
  • Gives you superb control over the amount of water and pressure you apply
  • Great for calligraphy and painting both
Cons
  • Does not perform well for larger loads, small reservoir capacity
  1. Holbein Art Water Brush

This Japanese brush manufacturer has also been around for years now and is still consistently putting high quality, reliable products into the market. The smartly designed Water Brush is no exception. Chances are you might not have heard of this particular brand – well, you do now. The water brush package ships in a pair, which are useful for painting in different areas.

Experience

With this set, you get both Medium and Large sizes of brushes. The Medium brush is useful for the more detailed work, while the Large sized water brush is good for the final coats where you need broad strokes. For fine work, however, you’re going to need another brush – a part where it loses out on most of the competition which offers finer brushes.

If not for this caveat, you get a wonderful brush for the money. The water spillage is non-existent with this brush and the quality of work you get from this particular brush is nothing short of exemplary. You should also take care that the barrel for water/ink is filled up after twisting it apart, which is slightly inconvenient.

The major reason why this is so highly recommended is that it ships with sponges, one for each brush. This is a rarity in this segment because others just expect you to have it before you start painting. Holbein does not – you can use these sponges to clean your brushes after work. Further, you can also use it to create a number of unique effects in your work!

Pros
  • Comes with an incredibly useful sponge
  • Absolutely no learning curve involved in using this brush – very good for students
  • Reservoir is bigger than most other brushes
Cons
  • Does not ship with a small size tip, will have to buy a fine tipped brush to complete the set
  1. Blue Heron Arts Water Brush

This brush set comes in with the most variability that we’ve seen so far. Leave two, three or even four – this set comes with seven different variants, all so you can have the best experience. Further, it is also the only brush set which comes with a pocket brush – absolutely perfect for when a random idea pops into your head or if you are going plein air.

7 Piston Filler Waterbrush & Water Brush Fountain Pens Value...
  • The piston filler comes with a screw knob for easy loading;
  • Rervoir in the handle to store water or ink when treval;
  • Design for kanji calligraphy and sumi painting, drawing and...
  • May also used for half pans, watercolor pencils,...

Experience

This particular brush set also has one other standout feature – natural fibers. This is a big deal because in general, you will be able to exercise a larger degree of control over detailing as well as washes as compared to synthetic brushes. The animal fibers in use are derived from rabbits, weasels and sheep. You also get a much higher rate of water retentivity with these brushes.

The water filling chamber and mechanism are akin to the Caran d’Arche’s piston design. This makes the process of filling up inks and water very accessible and easy. Be careful, however – natural fibers have a much smaller shelf life than synthetic ones. We mentioned seven brushes earlier, and they are:

  • Small, Medium and Large: Animal fibres
  • Medium and Large: Synthetic fibres
  • Pocket brushes: Synthetic and Animal fibres

With this in mind, also remember that all of this comes at a price. If you’re willing to shell out the few extra bucks, this will give you one of the most comprehensive painting experiences on the market today.

Pros
  • Variety of brushes is astounding
  • Painting experience is beyond reproach
  • Animal fibres are a wonderful addition 
Cons
  • More expensive than other synthetic brushes
  1. Yasutomo Water Brush

The last item on our list comes with artistic pedigree: since the mid 1950s, Yasutomo has been associated with the highest quality of ink wash painting tools and items. Another Japanese name comes into the picture, this one all the way from Southern California (appearances are indeed deceptive).  Their product designs are, however, as close to Japan as it gets.

Yasutomo Niji Water Brush with 12mm Tip, Medium
  • Say goodbye to spills and messy clean-ups with this...
  • Great for travel the cap keeps water contained and the brush...
  • Use with water or any water washable ink

Experience

With this brush, you get four different brush tips and two sizes of brushes – the brushes can be had in either a Mini or a standard size, and the standard size further has small, medium, large and flat brush tips for better control over your art. The Mini size holds around 5.5 mL of water while the regular one holds around 7 mL of water.

There is little to no bleeding, and the spring is considerably better than most other brushes on the market. To release water, you can simply press on the sides – it’s a very gentle brush, and as such deserves good treatment. The water flow on these is good enough for a relatively effortless painting experience. This product is geared more towards experienced artists and professionals.

The only detrimental factor while considering the brush is the price. It’s pricier than other offerings, but you do get a much better all-round experience in return.

Pros
  • High quality of brushes and tips
  • Mini brush is very useful for painting plein air
  • Reservoirs are quite large – even the mini reservoir is larger than average
Cons
  • Expensive

Bringing it all together

With this, we wrap up our reviews of the nine best water brushes on the market today. Each of them comes with their own set of value propositions, and it’s up to you to decide which mix of economy, efficiency and painting experience suits your particular applications in the best possible manner.

The nine brushes are in no way an exhaustive list, but our review methodology should be good enough to be extended to other brushes on sale. This new and exciting method of painting is making waves worldwide – and we hope you have fun using it to the best possible extent.

Have fun painting!

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