Sakura water brush review

Sakura Waterbrush Nibs

The best thing about the Sakura water brush is that it’s very portable, and you can easily take it anywhere. It’s shape is like a pen. In this Sakura water brush review, I’ll cover as many aspects as possible, so that you can decide if it’s the product for you. To use the brush, you simply fill it with water, and you’re ready to go. This makes it easy to paint outdoors without carrying long brushes, and containers of water.

If you like to paint to in public with unobtrusive equipment, the Sakura Water brush is an excellent item to have. The bristles are made from a nylon, synthetic material, and keep their shape well even after extended use. The brushes are available in 3 sizes, small, medium and large. For this review I used the medium brush, which overall was very adaptable to most styles of painting.

Sakura Waterbrush parts - Sakura water brush review
Waterbrush parts


The nib is quite precise, and will easily paint high detail areas with the tip, and still manage to do fills and larger areas. Although it doesn’t hold much water, for most situations it’s ample, especially if you’re working with a small size pad.  To paint in the field you’ll also need paint, and I found that by using a business card holder converted into a homemade palette, everything would fit in a pocket.

You might prefer to have something a bit larger, and carry it around in a backpack or handbag. If I was going to use a bag, I’d probably prefer to take a larger kit with water, full size brushes and a watercolour block or pad. The water brush solution is ideal for a coat or jacket pocket, but of course everyone is different.

Sakura waterbrush wrapper - Sakura water brush review
Medium Sakura water brush with packaging

For quick sketches, I found this brush was perfect for spontaneous moments when you hadn’t really planned to paint. Getting used to the brush took some time, mainly because it works quite differently to a regular brush. I found that it really is a tool for a specific purpose, rather than a replacement for a traditional brush.

San Francisco Cable Car - Sakura water brush review
San Francisco Cable Car painted with Sakura water brush

Water Flow

The water flow is controlled by a small valve inside the brush. It doesn’t offer the same level of water saturation that you get from using a container of water. The best method I found was to squeeze water onto the palette and mix the colour to the required strength. Extracting water from the brush requires a decent amount of pressure, and this was my biggest gripe with using it. By applying constant and firm pressure, the brush would flow at a reasonable rate. Making the water flow directly onto the paper gave very mixed results, and caused a loss of control of the strength of the paint. This caused the coverage of light and dark areas to be somewhat patchy .

Plein air - Sakura water brush review
Plein air water brush sketch


The brush wasn’t able to produce the smooth washes that you would get with a large brush, but on a small piece of paper, by using the side of the brush, it’s still possible to obtain some nice wash like effects. If you like urban sketching, this brush should work very well, as you will get most of the definition by using a pen, and you can use the water brush to fill in various colours. One of the greatest attributes of this brush, is its price. If you’re on a budget, it won’t break the bank as it costs less than $10. Have you used a water brush? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on social media.

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