DOODLEWASH REVIEW: Miller’s Pseudo Sable Travel Watercolor Brushes

Since it’s the most wonderful time of the year, my plan for this month is to have wonderfully short posts because it’s also a busy time of year.  I’ve got a lot of knitting to get done 😉



I reviewed another set of Cheap Joe’s (CJ) travel brushes- American Journey here.  After the post for that set, the nice folks over at CJ, sent me this brush set and a little travel palette. I like this Pseudo Sable travel set better than the American Journey travel set. They did not specifically ask me to review these, just sort of sent them for me to try. This is the first time I’ve been sent a product that I didn’t pay for. If it happens again for anything I review- I will definitely state that. 

The palette is nice and compact.  It’s made out of stainless steel with 12 fixed plastic wells, comes with a size 2 round travel brush, and is $13.  There’s a little slot with a white sponge, which could be removed to fill that spot with paint.  This is the palette that Charlie uses.  He loves it, and it is also the palette he painted, and used on the World Watercolor Group swag. He fitted more pans in the bottom row.  Click the links in bold for pics of his palette and what he had to say.

It’s tough to take good pics this time of year.  I always use natural light, and it’s a bit more scarce these days.  Sorry for the slight glare and shadows.  There are holes in the bottoms of the caps so that air can get through for drying.  Click to enlarge.


With the exception of a tiny 10/0 brush that I’m fond of, I’ve been using these brushes exclusively for a few weeks.  If I didn’t like them, I would have quit using them after the first couple of tries.  Life is too short to keep on with stuff that you don’t like.

They hold a lot of water and paint, and for synthetic, they have soft and springy fibers with good snap.  I was impressed by this.  I paint a lot in my Hobonichi Techo, and they are actually too wet for that.  Great with Arches and Bockingford watercolor paper and I also used them with a Global Arts Travelogue Watercolor Book, and a Stillman & Birn Gamma Series.  I find these to be pointy, which is great- given that they are a pointed round.  The only issue I’ve had, is that the point sometimes leans over- this has only been on the size 6.  The size 6 in the photos below looks a different color because I used some dark blue Mission Gold watercolors and it stained the brush. I should have tried some brush cleaner on it.


In this photo I purposefully left paint on the size 6 so that you could see the tip.


From the Cheap Joe’s site:

Miller’s Pseudo Sable Brushes have a tuft that perfectly mimics the characteristics of real sable, with a variety of diameters of nylon hair which has been molded and shaped to hold tons of color.

Miller’s Pseudo Sable Brush handles are crafted from wood of responsibly managed forests and no animals were harmed in the making of these brushes. The traditional watercolor handle is painted black with a silver tip and coated in a high gloss lacquer. A seamless nickel ferrule houses the Synthetic Sable bristle filaments.”

This set of 4 brushes comes with sizes 4, 6, 8, and 12, a nice size range.  Retails for $46.29, a very good deal compared to prices of other similar sets. In my opinion, these are nicer to paint with than Davinci Comotop Spin travel brushes- which I don’t have a fondness for, and I think they are overpriced.  These aren’t as stiff, feel more similar to real fibers and have better fluid retention. They fit very snug in the slots in the travel case. They are also sold singly, and in a short handle version.  After the first post about CJ brushes, I received a lot of positive comments from folks telling me how much they like CJ’s brushes.  In general, fellow artists seem to like what Cheap Joe’s offers.

Because I’m fond of adding something extra.  A quick, easy and super compact travel tin idea. This is a Velamints gum tin that I got in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s grocery store. Those are the actual pieces of gum below it. It’s really sleek. There’s a little depression in the lid, but it can be turned over for a small amount of mixing, or mix on top and wipe it off when done. I like that a pan other than rectangle fits, a lot of configuration possibilities.  Nice to have something to just throw a few pans in and go, and change it around with different stuff when needed- very non committal. I bought it just to see if it would work for this purpose, but the gum’s not bad either. More ideas on homemade travel palettes here, and metal travel tins here, and a plastic travel carry here. Now that I look, there’s quite a few reviews with small and travel type palettes.  If you are interested, browse under “Reviews.”

Velamints gum tin watercolor travel palette.

I can be found on Instagram- @jessicaseacrest, where all my creative outlets are entertained, and sometimes telling signs of what will be reviewed next can be found.

Christmas Tree Sketch by Jessica SeacrestAll previous review posts can be found under “Reviews” on the menu or click here.   Doodlewash has a Facebook group called World Watercolor Group.  Huge variety of folks from all over, and a wide variety of painting styles and skill levels. The group is large and growing every day! We have a lot of fun over there, and there are many kind and helpful people in the group. There are also monthly themed daily painting prompts for those interested.  If you haven’t already, please join in and share your watercolor creations!


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
  1. Ellie 6 years ago

    So happy to see a review of these brushes! I use synthetic brushes and really appreciate that these seem to be even more eco-friendly. Nice to get an idea of how they hold water.

    And, Jessica, you knit! I just started this fall – made a hat as an intro project and now I’m moving on to cables. Just need to learn how to get more hours in the day to fit in knitting and painting….along with all that other stuff, like work. ( :

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      So many fun things to create! My sister sometimes refers to me as the Shizknitter, hehe! I took a break from the knitting for a while to learn how to paint and create in different way, but now I’m back at it. Happy painting and knitting Ellie! And good luck with the cables 🙂

  2. circadianreflections 6 years ago

    I love that tin! I appreciate the brush review too. I bought a travel DiVinci brush but, it wouldn’t hold a point so sent it back. Then I purchased two Escoda Reserva travel brushes ( #2 & 6 rds) which I really like and use all the time. It’s nice to know there are other options I can purchase to round out my travel set.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      I hear good things about the Escoda. I have one short handle Versatil rigger. People seem to like those too and I had to try one out. The travel set is so pretty in the photos that I’ve seen. Maybe one day I’ll get to try them 🙂 Happy painting and thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  3. YesterdayAfter 6 years ago

    Great review Jessica as always! These brush looks good is a nice set! And see you on Instagram where I follow all your bravery with your beautiful knitting activity and lovely watercolors! <3

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      Thanks Carolina! XO

  4. Schokohund 6 years ago


    Nice description of the brush set , sadly there are no colored swatches of the brush marks .

    I´m wih this set over 4 years , sold as No Name Brand Askia in Austria and Germany and still happy with them .

    Funny this brushes set look all the same world wide 😉 after a long research i came to my decision it´s could be
    a product from Da Vincis as low budget brand .

    Anyway over the year´s with this brushes for Urban Sketching see on Doodlewash as on they stay fine and what i like is the magnetic bag button..
    So this fits perfect to my DIY Palette Partagas with 10 slots filled with Mijello G.M. in same size as the brushbag.

    This set covers a paper work spectrum easy to A4 size larger i would not go cause the #12 carrys not that much water as a #10 Da Vinci Cosmotop Mix B which is fine for 1/2 sheets and larger.

    Cheers Schokohund

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Schokohund, I probably should have included a painting done with the brushes so the marks can be seen. I’ll keep this in mind for next time. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

  5. Rob 6 years ago

    Now wondering if these are sold separately. I already have a 6 travel brush, 4 and 8would be a nice compliment to my colorit pencil/pen case.

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      Yes they are sold singly.

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Thank you, Jessica, for the info about travel brushes. I’ve never considered using them but maybe I will, What I found super fun in this post was the tin of mints converted to a travel paint set. How creative that such a small container could be adapted to be so useful but not demand much space – just a pocket full of paint. The magic of the season?

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      Thanks Sharon. I have fun looking for tins! I bought another Velamints that has orange mints in it, but that one doesn’t work as well. “Pocket full of paint”, I love it!

  7. Teri C 6 years ago

    I almost missed this review! I like that little palette and nice case for the brushes
    Knit on!

    • Author
      Jessica Seacrest 6 years ago

      You got to see them in action, and will again this Saturday 🙂 <3

  8. […] an Italian set in a wooden box, that might also be on my holiday list this season. Jessica reviewed another great travel brush option from Cheap Joe’s here. There are many technical aspects that others are better explaining with brushes, but I can say […]

  9. […] & Newton artist watercolors. I mostly use handmade brushes, and for special purposes, I use other brushes, like synthetic. Palette knives, plastic cards, and combs are also used to get specific effects and textures. A […]

  10. […] Plus since these tiny sketches use minimal supplies you can do one just about anywhere. A water brush, a 2-color palette and paper. When I first started out I just held the paper in my hand, but now I use a nifty piece of coroplast. And I have a handy clip-on water cup when I use my regular travel brushes. […]

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