Cleaning Your Niji Waterbrush Pen

If you’ve read enough of my posts you’ll know that my #1 favorite sketching/inking tool is the fabulous Niji waterbrush pen (thank you Satoshi for introducing us over a year ago. Our feelings for one another grow deeper with each passing sketch). I currently have 3: My original which is my watercolor workhorse, #2 which is filled with Rapidograph Black India waterproof ink, and #3 which has yet to be put into use (#1 is getting worn out due to using it on some unkind paper so it may become my texture/fill in brush).

Since the ink tends to eventually build up (splaying the bristles like any brush and ruining the point), I decided one day to see if I could disassemble the thing and give it a good cleaning. I was a bit nervous because the 3 brushes I have were hard to come by (I know I could order them online but where’s the fun in hunting?) and I didn’t want to damage my much loved Nijis.

Happily the operation has been successful on both active brushpens and each time (especially with #2 ) I’ve noticed a clear improvement in performance, for example the worriesome ink flow increase diminished and I no longer had to worry about wrecking a nice line with a pool of black). Here is a photo showing how the brush comes apart and a few bits of advice.

  1. Remove Cap
  2. Unscrew reservoir from tip sleeve
  3. With your thumbnail, apply pressure at “A” to push brush tip out of sleeve
  4. Rinse assembly, use q-tip to clean inside of sleeve
  5. With fingernail remove the black buffer (at far left of photo)
  6. Gently pinch the brush tip and carefully slide it out of its housing
  7. Rinse with soapy water very, very gently (The synthetic bristles I believe are heat-bonded to the circular base “B”. Pretty durable which is great because no ferrule means deeper cleaning, but be cautious).
  8. Once clean, shape the brush tip to a point with your fingers. Slowly reinsert the tip into its housing. This is the trickiest part, if you rush this bristles will splay and get permanently tweaked. If a few bristles on the edge get damaged, you can neatly snip them off at the base, no worries.
  9. Reverse the process to reassemble.

Happy cleaning.



8 Responses to “Cleaning Your Niji Waterbrush Pen”

  1. Shirley E Ross Says:

    All I can say is thank you so much. I love my Nijis, but some were becoming clogged and I need to see this. Thanks again.

    • labsquad Says:

      You’re very welcome. I’ve benefited from the generosity of other bloggers so it’s gratifying that this post was helpful to you. I’m giving Pentel’s Aquabrushes a try too. So far I’m undecided which product I like better but I’m leaning toward Niji for several reasons: 1) Because they have a “stopper” mechanism at the opening of the reservoir, you can have several handles loaded and ready to use with a single tip, 2) I like the feel of the handle better (this could be just because I’m more used to the Niji brushes), 3) I’ve been able to find a range of brush sizes much easier for the Niji. I haven’t dissected the Aquabrushes yet but when I do I’ll be sure to post.

  2. Shirley E Ross Says:

    Just to let you know I have referred to your post on my blog, I did a couple of things a little different, but I could never have done it at all without your post as an encouragement. Thanks again!!

  3. Wateseilt Says:

    Amazing, I did not heard about this topic up to the present. Thankz!!

  4. Power PC « Labsquad Says:

    […] with my small Niji waterbrush pen then scanned into Photoshop for coloring and […]

  5. Cynthia Says:

    Is it ok if your waterbrush is still stained after cleaning?

  6. More Niji Waterbrush Mods | Labsquad Says:

    […] a previous post, I demonstrated how to disassemble and clean the water brush […]

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