How to Use a Water Brush

Hello friends! Today I am sharing a few different examples in which I use a Water Brush for my water coloring.

What is a Water Brush?

A Water Brush is a kind of paintbrush that comes with its own refillable water barrel and also has a cap. They have a cap covering the bristles and have a reservoir of water which makes them perfect to use while painting on the go.

Water Brushes are also commonly called Aqua Brush, Refillable brush or Portable paintbrush.

Since they are generally the size of a pen they can be carried around in your pencil pouch. And you don’t need a bowl of water to paint using these.

what is a water brush

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Tombow USA Design Team and I love using their products! Affiliate links have been used throughout this post. Read more here.

The best way to understand how these Water Brushes work is to see them in action!

Watch this video:

Different sizes of Water Brush

Water Brushes come in various sizes- and the Water Brush Set I have comes in 3 sizes- a small round, a medium round, and a chisel/flat brush. Different tips are useful for different illustrations.

different sizes of water brush

How are Water Brushes different from Paintbrushes?

Since a Water Brush has a reservoir of water attached, you only need to gently press the barrel of the Water Brush to drop water onto the paper. The amount of pressure you apply determines whether you create a small drop of water or a flood of water. This completely eliminates having a water bowl on the side like when using a paintbrush.

To clean off these Water Brushes, simply press the barrel to release water and then wipe the bristles clean with a paper towel or cloth.


You can easily squeeze droplets of water using the Water Brush and then blend colors on the paper itself.

Blending Markers:

The smaller size brush has a brush tip that is really thin and that makes it useful to color in tiny areas.

The chisel/flat tip is my least used brush, I mainly reach for it while creating color swatches. They can also be used for chisel lettering, drawing flat lines or stripes, and creating watercolor washes.

chisel flat waterbrush

Pros and cons of a Water Brush:

  • They are portable, I use them while sitting at coffee shops, libraries, and airports.
  • Easy to use and clean up. No need to go and empty a water bowl once done. Just cap the brush and pack it.
  • You can fill the water barrel with ink or liquid watercolor and then create beautiful art.
  • While opening the cap, sometimes there might be a little water trapped in the bristles that will drop out. So make sure you open your cap on the side and not on top of your painting/sketch
  • The bristles tend to stain easily, but that doesn’t affect how they work.
  • The tips do fray quicker than regular paintbrushes. Make sure to clean your these after each use.
  • The sizes of the brushes are limited, and so I still use my larger-size paintbrushes and fine paintbrushes.

More Tutorials using a water brush:

Smitha Katti creativespace e1577349763159

Hi I’m Smitha! I live in Minnesota with my husband and two daughters. You’ll always find me painting florals in my sketchbook. And I love the sheer joy of making something with just my hands! But my bigger love is capturing it all on camera Read more.

Thanks for stopping by today! If you learnt something from this tutorial, do share this post with a friend or on social media! Tag me @smithakatti #smithakatti I’d love to see what you create!


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