Coloring with Sakura Koi Brush Pens

It’s been snowing the entire Easter weekend, perfect coloring weather. Good time to try out the set of Sakura Koi watercolor brush pens that has been patiently waiting for me. I landed on this lovely page in Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden coloring book as I seriously needed some Spring inspirations.

The Sakura Koi pens are flexible brush markers meaning it can achieve fine, medium or bold brush strokes by changing the nib pressure. I especially love the fine point that make it easy to go into all those little detailed areas.


picture of a 24-color Sakura koi brush pen set and my water brush

My Sakura Koi brush pens set has 24 beautiful colors with enough blues and greens to fit my vision for colors of this watering can page. I decided to focus on the “water” part first and hopefully by the time I finished with that, I will have a better idea what to do with the flowers. Sometimes when I color, I really don’t have the whole page planned out. It just kind of fall into place as I go. I do have a general feel of what kind of mood I want the page to convey. It’s magical what’s coming out of the watering can. I wanted it to feel like a beautiful water dance. What about you? Do you plan everything ahead?

After the water part was done, I decided that I don’t want colorful flowers to compete with my water background, hence all my flowers were colored pink. I think though it could have been pretty too if the flowers were more colorful. What do you think?

Blending Challenge

According to the note at the back of the package, the dye-based inks blend easily to create a multitude of color hues.

These pens have brilliant colors. I do find that blending might not be as seamless. For ink to blend, the medium has to remain wet during the blending process. In my case, I found that it dried too fast for blending to take place. I didn’t want to brush too hard to avoid bleed through or paper pilling. Sakura has a special “blender” pen sold separately, I can’t comment on how it works to create seamless washes and color gradations since I don’t have one.

I enlisted the help of my water brush. Instead of blending after I laid the color down on paper, I brushed off the color from the pen onto my water brush. The water brush should be just damp so as not to create water puddles. The intensity of the color was controlled by how much ink the water brush picked up. I also tried to wet/damp the paper first before laying down the colors which gave some interesting effects but I still liked the water brush method better as I had more control.


Close up look of using pointillism technique with Sakura Koi brush pens

I used the technique of dots (pointillism) to create a water splashing effect. In this case, I also used the water brush technique described above to pick up color from the pens and created coarse dots.  I love this dots technique for fading out the picture especially when I want to keep the background blank like in this example.

If you want to know more about this method of coloring, you can click here to read my previous blog on pointillism technique.

Happy Coloring!

I have a lot of fun with these Sakura Koi brush pens. They are also lovely pens for brush lettering. Just be mindful that they are not waterproof just like watercolor rather than ink.

Lastly, in case you’re wondering, the white “sparkles” were done with Sakura white gelly roll pen, softened with a bit of water on the edge.


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