Hello friends! Today I wanted to do a little review on an item I’ve been using a lot lately – the Pentel Aquash Water Brush.
Water brushes have become very popular in the art supply world lately, and if you’re not sure what they are, well, they’re basically a portable watercolor system of a watercolor brush with a hollow handle that holds clean water in it. No jars of water are necessary, the water runs right into the bristles of the brush, so you just dip it into your paint and go!
They’re usually marketed as a portable watercolor solution, suggesting to carry them along with a small travel watercolor pan palette. Take it with you on your travels, or use it for your Plein Air painting sessions without having to worry about transporting a source of water.
I, however, have discovered another use for this pen – pure convenience.
I received my Pental brush pen in an art subscription box. I can’t quite remember which one, as I believe I was subscribed to a couple at the time. When I opened it I was intrigued and interested in how smart the idea was, but then I placed it aside and avoided using it for a long time. I was concerned that I wouldn’t have the control over the water that I do with simply dipping my brush, so I never reached for the Pentel in my usual watercolor work.
Then one day I was playing around in my art journal, and instead of grabbing a jar of water to start using some watercolours, I reached for the brush pen and used it for the first time.
All I had to say after that first moment was…where have you been all my life Pentel Aquash!?
Seriously. I immediately felt dumb for avoiding the wonderful thing for so long. The pure ease of using it is awesome! Now when I’m working on a drawing and I think that adding a splash of watercolour to it would be a good idea, I just grab the brush pen, open my watercolour palette, and go right to it. No more stopping my workflow and getting up to fill a jar of water. I know it’s such a simple thing, but to me it’s like removing a mental barrier of stopping what I’m doing to set up my painting station. Now I just reach for the brush and carry on without a pause in my flow or mental state.
So let’s talk a little bit about this brush!
The Pentel Aquash Water Brush comes in three sizes: small, medium, or large. I have the medium, and while it’s large enough to cover a decent area, it has such a fine point on it that I can also easily get into smaller details. The water is stored in the handle, which is plastic. The water naturally drips though the bristles a bit, but if you want more water, just give the handle a little squeeze, and more water will flow through.
Here’s a few pros and cons:
- Easy setup – your brush has the water in it, so it’s literally grab and paint.
- Easy to refill – the top screws off easily, and the opening is wide enough that the handle can be filled by simply holding it under a running tap.
- Great gradient effects – the brush is continually providing water, so if you dip your brush in your paint once and start at the point where you want your darkest spot to be, if you keep working away from that spot, the colour will get thinner and thinner. If you continue you can get it all the way to pure water, creating lovely gradients with ease.
- Fine tip – as I stated before, the tip on my medium sized brush is so fine that I can use this one brush for larger and smaller areas.
- Easy to clean – just give the handle a squeeze and wipe the brush against some paper towel. Done!
- Portable – well, yeah!
- It can be easy to use too much water by squeezing the handle too hard, then you have to soak up the excess with a paper towel and try again.
- Because the brush is continually adding water, it can be tricky to maintain a certain saturation. It can take a bit of getting used to, and can be a bit frustrating in the beginning when you’re trying to spread out your paint and it’s constantly getting lighter on you.
I would advocate that this brush is not for the absolute watercolor beginner. Water control is the number one thing newbies struggle with when learning to use watercolours, and this brush can really make it harder. But for an experienced painter, this brush can really be a game changer! I’ve personally switched to using this brush in 90% of my watercolors and illustrations for the shear convenience of being able to paint paint paint without re-dipping my brush or interrupting my painting session to change a dirty jar of water.
So that’s my thoughts on the Pentel Aquash Water Brush! If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, you can click here to see it on Dick Blick (it even comes in a set of all 3 sizes).
Thanks so much for stopping by, and till next time, keep creating!
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