This review will be specifically on the Yasutomo Niji Waterbrush, but most watercolor brush pens are pretty similar so I’m sure my opinions will apply to other brands. I purchased the small, 8mm brush on Amazon for $7.47 with free two day shipping (with Amazon Prime). I’ve seen similar brush pens for sale at some of my favorite online cookie supply stores. Here is a very similar one for $10.
Essentially, this brush is meant to be filled with water and then dipped in a dry watercolor paint. I purchased it with the intent to fill it with food color for writing and painting.
To make my “watercolor”, I dissolved gel food color into Everclear. This probably seems strange to anyone unfamiliar with cookie/cake decorating but it’s completely safe because all of the alcohol evaporates. I did a 2 drops/capful ratio and the color opacity was perfect. I also tried using liquid food color (like the kind you use to dye eggs) with Everclear and the color was much brighter and had less of a “watercolor” effect.
To get the food color mixture in the tube, you unscrew the top of the pen and squeeze the bottom part to suck in the color. Of course, make sure you wipe it off really well or you’ll end up with food color all over your hands. Then, just put the brush top back on and squeeze until the color comes to the tip. You’ll want to do this over a towel because it drips if you squeeze too much out at once.
First, I used it to paint some flowers. I honestly wasn’t too impressed with the outcome and I would suggest using a paint brush for something like that. The flowers came out splotchy and it was hard to achieve dimension. When you use a regular paint brush, you can change the opacity as you go to add darker or lighter areas on the flowers, making them look realistic. When you use the brush pen, the only way to make other areas darker is to layer the color, which resulted in splotchy, uneven colors.
I also found it really hard to transition from one color to the next. Keep in mind, this brush pen was intended to be filled with water, so it wasn’t intended to be easily cleaned. The brush tip never seemed to be completely clean/colorless, no matter how many times I flushed water through it. This resulted in muddy colors as I switched from one color to the next.
Next, I tried to write with the brush pen in a calligraphy style. *Disclaimer*: I’ve only written with a brush twice before so it’s not my strong suit to begin with. With that being said, I was really happy with the results. The flexibility of the brush provided just enough give that the brush strokes had naturally varying dimensions. I found that the letters looked better when written one by one, rather than writing the whole word in one stroke. The color was smooth and the color transition was beautiful.
All in all, I would say these brushes are amazing for writing, but for actual painting, just stick to a paint brush for more color control!
*Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored. All opinions are my own.*