New Art Tools!

4:13 PM

Is there anything better than new art toys tools to play with? I think not!! ;•) This week is going to be Tool Week here at Painted Thoughts as I seem to have acquired a number of new tools to share !

First up:
As some of you may know, I strongly advocate the use of waterbrushes for painting on location during the Imaginary Trips. They will change the  way you work and the ease with which you work. You'll be more likely to sketch in the moment with a waterbrush as it is as easy to make a mark with one of these as it is with a pen or pencil. 

So it comes as no surprise that when I spied a waterbrush at  JoAnn's Etc. craft store, I just had to purchase it because it was one I had not seen before. Despite the $8.99 price tag, I decided to do it in the name of research. ;•)  (Yes, I had a coupon, but I still think that's a ridiculously high price for a waterbrush, IMO!) It is a Zig® BrusH2O or Brush H2O, depending on where you're looking.....

This is the detailer brush. The brush tip is about equivalent to a size 2 in a round watercolor brush. If you enlarge the image you can see all the tiny, precise marks I was able to make with this brush. As nearly all complaints I hear about the waterbrush is "I can't do any details," this would seem to be a great answer. 

CAUTION: This is a double-sided blessing. Yes, you will be able to get the nitty-gritty details into your sketch, but I would NOT take this out on location. Why? A) When sketching on location, you need speed, speed, and more speed. B) Details are not your friend (on location). Instead, I would rather leave this in the hotel room or at home then in the heat of the moment. C) See reason below.

I looked online to see the availability of this brush and was pleased to learn that Zig is part of Kuretake® and they are a company out of England. This means worldwide availability. The other thing I learned is there are other sizes....

Again, in the name of research, I ordered the other sizes. If you enlarge the image you can see the various marks made with these brushes. I just received them and have not yet created a painting with them, but I can tell you that I like them. And here is reason C) from above - the large point made almost as precise a mark as the detailer yet still gave me the ability to create a wash. The detailer does not have that versatility.

So here are the pros...nice, sharp tips • large water reservoir • plastic barrels are easy to squeeze without being too soft or too hard • good water control • option of different sizes • great availability • great price.

Now, of course, there are cons....the large could be larger. It is not quite the same as my large Holbein • the detailer will trip up the detail lovers among us • the barrel has a black "stopper/dam" and you are suppose to expel the air while holding the barrel under water so that is fills with water. I took the dam out (using my fingernail), filled the barrel under the faucet and replaced the dam. The problem with this is that if you lose that dam, the brush is useless.

I found the brushes at Marker Supply for $3.95 USD each. Shipping was nominal. I received them within 2 days of ordering. Unfortunately, this company only ships to the US and Canada, and I have not found a source online for international artists. Yet. (If someone finds one/know of a reliable online resource, please let me know.) See the update below!!

I am always on the lookout for replacement waterbrushes as the brush tips do wear out. I have been very dissatisfied with the ones on the market today. I have recently learned that Kuretake also makes the Niji waterbrush line. I have a set of Niji's, but they are different from these. My Niji's are also several years old. That may explain the differences.

UPDATE!: If you look down in the comments, Molly from stopped by and said that yes, they do ship internationally!! YAY! Thanks, Molly!

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13 Creative Thought(s)

  1. I enjoy hearing about new toys, oh I mean tools - lol. Thanks for the tips and links.

  2. Wonderful info Laure. Great to know how these work from someone who has tried them out. Thanks for the detailed sharing. Can't wait to go to JoAnn's with my coupon and see if they have them.

  3. sounds great, thanks for all the info. i have all four sizes of the niji's. of course i prefer my w&n sable's, but water brushes do have their place. i'll have to try these!

  4. Cool tools Laure, thanks for sharing! I showed them to my husband with hopes you will inspire HIS artistic side! "wink, wink"!

  5. Oh boy, now I get to order new brushes. They look great and your review was VERY helpful!! Thanks!!!

  6. These look like lots of fun. I like the broad brush. I have several other sizes but I don't know who made them. I have had them for awhile. Fun fun.

  7. I find Zig H20 brushes at Michael's - thought they must be related to Niji in some way as they looked too much alike. Thanks for clearing this up :)
    Also, many, many thanks for info on Marker Supply. I'm with you on paying 8.99 for this little brush!

    I'll vouch for the ease of use when in the field. Whether working with wc pencils or pan wc's. These brushes rock!

  8. Always love to get information on new art toys!!!! Very informative!

  9. How fun, I found the large and medium at a shop in Germany where I also ordered the uniball signo pen. They did not have (and still don't) the flat one. Here in Austria I can get the Derwent (Pentel) waterbrush. I recently bought a new one which has a much smaller and finer brush than the one I use now.

  10. These new brushes look and sound a lot like my Niji brushes...and now I know why. It's nice to have a local store to go to to actually see the brush if we want to, and then we can either buy or order online to save a little $. New tools/toys are so much fun!

  11. Oooh..."large Holbein"?? Do you talk about that somewhere, Laure? Is it a waterbrush? WANT. I need larger than this large (by the way these look just like my Niji Waterbrushes, I wonder if it's the same company?

    I got a different kind of water brush from Blue Heron, but don't much like how it delivers the water, it is a piston rather than a squeezie thing. The brush itself ROCKS, though.

  12. Laure,

    On behalf of I wanted to let you know we do ship internationally. We can also ship orders via the Postal Service which is a lot cheaper than UPS in most cases. Just select First Class Mail during checking out.

    I really liked your blog. Great tips for crafters and artists! Keep it up. I'll be back :)


    Molly Povolny
    Product Specialist

  13. Hi, Molly, thanks so much for stopping by and letting us know about international shipping!


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