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Brea Reese Watercolor Inks – Water Brush Review

Brea Reese mixed media line is new and making a big splash on the scene. Their line includes:

  • pure pigment acrylic paints
  • paint writer pens
  • water brushes
  • watercolor inks
  • glitter inks
  • texture mediums
  • alcohol markers
  • mixed media tools
  • fineliner pens
  • metallic pens
  • dual tip water-based markers

That’s a pretty big variety of art supplies! Today, I am going to be focusing on the watercolor inks, and water brushes. As far as retailers go, you can purchase Brea Reese products from Hobby Lobby, and

I am using :

To review, and test, the watercolor inks I decided to treat them as I would typical watercolor paints. This test determined they perform more like traditional watercolor, rather than for speciality techniques only, like my Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated Watercolors have been relegated to.

First Impressions

The watercolor inks come in these cute bottles with a built in dropper for each disbursement of ink. They are .68oz per bottle or 20ml.  The lid includes a stopper inside that fits into the eye drop portion to prevent spilling and leakage. This has mostly worked out for me, I did have a little bit of excitement when my magenta squirted out at first opening. The price is comparable to what I normally pay for liquid watercolors; however, they were slightly more affordable, and the amount of ink in the bottle is more than typical.

I emailed the company to find out if these were pigment based or dye based. Most liquid watercolors are in the dye based camp. I never got a response, but I will update you when they respond.

To give you an idea of how they compare with other brands, I’ve swatched similar colors from Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated line here. Dr. Ph. Martins is dye based, and the colors are very similar. You would find similarities with Ecoline as well.


I’ve proceeded to test the inks with standard criteria. I’ve tested transparency, granulation, staining, blending, and if the paint rewets from a palette.  I did not test dispersion or mixing with other brands.

As you can see above, the top grouping is a swatch to test transparency. The line marked with the triangle was drawn under the paint. There is virtually no difference between the two lines. These are extremely transparent.

As far as lifting, or staining, is concerned, some colors lift more than others. Magenta was pretty much impossible to lift. That color stained the paper super fast as did cadmium yellow. Lake Blue did provide some lifting, which wasn’t very surprising as this color was less intense compared to Cad. Yellow and Med. Magenta.

Color Blending and Mixing

First I attempted to blend two colors by applying them each to dry paper and working them toward each other. As you can see they do blend, although the blending is a little less smooth in places, most likely due to the staining aspect. Next, I blended wet ink into already wet ink, working my way out. The blend was nearly seamless and had an amazing transition of color.  Finally, I blended the two colors on my palette and applied them to the paper with a wet on wet technique using a swatch of water. As you can see the color blended quite well, with a little separation around the edges.

Just these three colors created all of what you see above. I love color theory, so for me, the mark of a good paint is its ability to mix and create many other colors. I chose the three inks based on a CMY color wheel. That’s cyan, magenta, and yellow just like your printer uses. A few of the colors separated a bit in the violet range, but the effect is still quite pretty.


I’ve used the inks a few times to get a feel for them before doing this test. I had a palette, I like to use for liquid watercolor, already loaded with some inks left from the last session about two weeks ago. One thing I note about Dr. Ph Martin’s Radiant Concentrated Watercolor, is that when it dries it flakes and doesn’t rewet well. This was going to be an interesting test for me. Immediately, I noticed that several colors were still wet, in fact, they were almost thicker and more ink like than ever. Adding a little water worked perfectly. I was amazed. I would definitely use a palette that you can cover and store since these little beauties keep on kicking.

Water Brush

I chose the small, or fine, water brush as it was a similar size to my current favorite, the Yasutomo Niji small. That is my favorite lettering brush by far. First, I appreciate that the logo is on the clip of the lid, where the oils from my hands will not rub it off. Second, I opened the brush, and immediately something went awry. The plunger stuck into the brush portion.

I decided to proceed with caution and attempt to dislodge it. It did pop free with some encouragement. After filling the bladder, and replacing the plunger, I set to work lettering a small piece. It worked well. I don’t think it will replace my Niji brush, but I would definitely say that these are good little brushes. I had a second incident, I’m willing to write off as a fluke with mine. A nylon bristle came free on my first use while lettering. It just fell right out of the brush. No other bristles dislodged, and I managed to finish the piece without issue. If further shedding occurs I’ll be sure to update.

Final thoughts

I believe the watercolor inks from Brea Reese to be an excellent purchase. For sure I will be getting the whole line. I’ll also test the glitter inks in the near future. I would recommend you check them out. You can find more information at or check out their social media.

What do you think? Have you used them yet? Are you thinking about buying them? Did this review, and test help you to make your decision? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for being here, you are awesome!

The thoughts and opinions in this article are my own. I purchased the reviewed products. This post is not sponsored.  If you would like me to review your product, please shoot me an email hello AT paintandletters DOT com. This post contains affiliate links. If you are interested in my full disclosure policy, please read it here.