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Watercolor Brushes Watercolor Brushes
Watercolor Brushes Cyprus Mop Brushes Series 2000
Watercolor Brushes Cyprus Teijin Synthetic Brushes
Watercolor Brushes Escoda Aquario Mop Round Squirrel Hair Brushes Series 1130
Watercolor Brushes Escoda Giant Badger Blender Brush Series 6835
Watercolor Brushes Escoda Optimo Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brushes
Watercolor Brushes Escoda Ultimo Synthetic Hair Mop Round Brushes Series 1530
Watercolor Brushes Fine Art Golden Taklon Brushes
Watercolor Brushes Himalaya Golden Sable Series 16
Watercolor Brushes Himalaya Golden Taklon Economy
Watercolor Brushes Jack Richeson Long Handle Domed Sash Brush
Watercolor Brushes Raphael Cats Tongue Pointed Oval Wash S 903
Watercolor Brushes Raphael Kolinsky Extra Long Rigger 8802
Watercolor Brushes Raphael Kolinsky Medium Rigger Sable 8826
Watercolor Brushes Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable Fine Pointed Round Series 8402
Watercolor Brushes Raphael Pure Squirrel Mop Brush Series 803
Watercolor Brushes Raphael Sepia Bright Brush Series 8530
Watercolor Brushes SAI Watercolor Brush Pens
Watercolor Brushes Sakura Koi Water Brush
Watercolor Brushes Sakura Pigma Brush Tip Pens
Watercolor Brushes Winsor and Newton Kolinsky Sable Series 7
Watercolor Brushes Winsor and Newton Mop and Wash Brushes


Watercolor Artist Paintbrushes

Art supply catalogs contain a tremendous variety of brush types. With the many choices available, what should be considered when selecting a watercolor brush? 

Every water color brush in the world should do three important things. Its how well these things are done that separates the best from the rest. Here are the three benchmarks that every water color brush aspires to:

  • A great point - The brush should come to a crisp point, an excellent brush will hold that point during use allowing the artist to create edges and fine detail.
  • Perfect snap or spring - The brush should spring crisply back into shape during use. The right degree of spring allows the artist to have control with an element of ‘give and take between the brush and the surface.
  • Even flow control - The color should flow evenly and consistently from the point of the brush and there should be capacity within the belly of the brush to allow the artist to lay down flowing, gestured strokes of color.

First is the type of hair or filament used. Generally, watercolor brushes are made from soft hairs and not bristles that can be broadly categorized into two types:


Natural Hair

Natural fibers include sable, squirrel, ox hair, pony and goat.  The kinds of materials used will, of course, determine the prices.

Of all natural fibers, brushes made from sable hair are universally recognized to be the best for watercolor painting. Qualities which make sable hair ideal are its needle-like point, its resilience, and its fine taper from the thicker central part of the hair to the tip, which serves to hold a reservoir of color. No other fiber offers this combination of assets. There are different grades of sable hair, but the very best are the Kolinsky sable from Siberia. The finest Kolinsky is a soft, golden-brown color that darkens at the tip.

The finest hairs come from the tip of the tail of the male Kolinsky, hairs from other parts of the sable pelt are used in lesser quality brushes. Second quality hairs are much shorter and less "springy" than their counterparts, however they are a little more affordable and still provide a high quality brush. 


Synthetic Hair

Synthetic fiber brushes and synthetic/natural hair blended brushes have recently gained acceptance.

 The advantage of these brushes is their affordability, however our many years experience in brush-making mean that we have been able to source synthetic fibers with excellent color carrying capacity and much improved spring.


Brush Shapes

In addition to the choice of brush fibers, you must select from a variety of brush shapes and understand the intended purpose of each. The round watercolor brush is the most common style and also the most versatile. Its sharp, tapered point can trace the finest line, while the full body can carry a large amount of color to the painting surface for general brush work. Of round brushes, the Series 7 sable brush by Winsor & Newton is considered by many to be the best of premium brushes. It is manufactured under rigorous standards, using only hand-selected premium grade sable hair.

Designer "pencils," very small brushes, are slimmer than the conventional round brushes and are ideal for precise work in tightly confined spaces. Flat wash brushes are generally used for covering broad areas and for applying fluid washes. They are available in sizes up to three inches wide with the brush head built in a flat, square style. Smaller sizes are useful for cutting a hard line of color. Aquarelle flat wash brushes are a variation on traditional flat wash brushes, but have a plastic handle with a beveled tip which is used to scrape away color for highlighting effects.

Round or oval mop brushes are used to lay down large areas of color, particularly for a wet-on-wet technique. They are commonly used to moisten paper prior to painting. One-stroke brushes are designed for lettering and poster work, but are also useful for painting in tempera, gouache and casein. Shape is similar to the flat wash brush, but the hair is longer out of the ferrule, allowing for excellent color-holding capacity.


Caring for your Brushes
To care for watercolor brushes, rinse off paint residue under clear running water. The, using a mild soap (not a detergent), work up a lather in the palm of the hand and use to thoroughly clean brushes until all traces of color have disappeared. Rinse again and arrange brush hairs into correct shape. To dry, always store flat or vertically on the end of the handle, never on the hairs. Brushes stored for longer than a week or two should be kept in an airtight container, which should not be sealed until the brushes are completely dry. A small amount of moth repellent such as naphthalene may be added to the container.


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