Best Synthetic Brushes

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to use animal hair brushes, so I tried a couple of lines of synthetic. A have a number of American Journey (Cheap Joe’s) brushes, but I have a hard time getting them to hold water. I also have a set of Stephen Quiller brushes ( I think from Jerry’s Artarama) which I like better. For those of you who use synthetic, what brands do your prefer? Has anyone had experience with the lines I mentioned? Thanks in advance for all input.

    While I don’t care that much for the Da Vinci Cosmotop (too stiff), I’ve just started using their Casaneo.  They are a tad softer than I’m  used to, but I’m adjusting easily enough.  They aren’t nearly as soft as the Raphael.  They are synthetic but hold a lot of water and paint.  I’ve been using the Silver Black Velvet, which is a synthetic blend. They were a gift, and they are my favorites, but I wanted both a smaller and a larger round, and like you, I like the idea of using synthetic so I decided not to add to my Black Velvet stash.

    You’ll find that you have a definite preference in the stiffness, so what one person likes may not help you all that much.


    Thanks for your reply.

    I haven’t tried toooo many brushes but from within my narrow experience: If you like the Black Velvet, I would recommend Princeton’s Neptune line (synthetic squirrel). Soft but more responsive than the Raphael Soft Aqua brushes. I really like them. For sable synthetic, I’ve tried the Escoda Versatil that Charlie uses (more like sable, but still relatively expensive for a synthetic) or Princeton’s Velvetouch line (not as thirsty, but more economical and have more snap, if you prefer that.)

    For reference, I have paintings in my gallery that have used both of these. The lily painting was only done with a no.4 Long Round from Velvetouch. (It’s a smaller brush, so I wasn’t looking to hold a ton of water.) and the clouds over the lake was done mostly with a no.12 Neptune.

    Definitely following for more recommendations! 😉


    Thanks for the information, Jill.

    Mostly I use Princeton and Richeson they are affordable, hold a good point and can easily be replaced every few years without breaking the bank to do so. Deb Watson pointed this out in one of her tutorials and I have to say, I agree.



    Thanks, Rebecca. I have been thinking of trying Princeton.

    Ah Sandra, I love Cosmotop Spins — my favorite of the new ones I’ve tried.  Maybe we can trade…

    I had a favorite brush which just bit the big one.  And the name wore off long ago.  *sigh*  I always have very cheap brushes around because I buy them to do detail work on furniture in oils, they are easily ruined, so I will not spend money.  Occasionally  one finds its way ito my watercolor stash.  And I don’t like mops.  I know that.  Too hard to clean.  I had what gets down into the little bit of plastic!

    Okay, commentary which is early, I intend to do a post after I fully test these.

    Princeton Neptune.  You can keep them — I have two to trade at some point, a mop and a 1/2-inch dagger.  They are very soft… Too soft for me.

    I bought a set of the Da Vinci Travel brushes and am trying them out.  They are fine, but the number 10’s handle is HUGE for my hands.  A mascara tube?  Lip Gloss tube?

    I am playing with the Escoda Prado and Versatil.The ersatil is nto as soft as the Neptune, and I may like it as I get used to it.  Holds water nicely.  The prado is in a flat and filbert, and is a bit stiffer, so I may end up liking a round in that instead.

    I wanted to top out a cart for free shipping and btw Jerry’s Art-arama, not my favorite store… I  bought two Creative Inspiration rounds for a few bucks each and they are nto bad cheap brushes.  They are nto using hair.  I think eventually they will live in the oil paints, though… We will see.

    Some of my favorite cheap brushes are Leow-Cornell… they hairs stay in place, and I’ve tried them in watercolors and think I like them.


    Kate, interesting about the Loew-Cornell.

    Kate,  I’ll round up my Cosmotops and when we get together we can look at trading.  I like the Prado but lent it out and haven’t seen it since.  I have the Versatil travel set and I like the brush, but I don’t like the feel of them in my hand.  They’re okay for occasional use, but that’s all.  The size 20 is really too large for my hand, but it’s light enough that I’m okay with it after I get used to it.

    I use a lot of the cheapest Princeton brushes (packages of four) for our business, and they hold up well.  I’ve not found them to hold water well, and I am using them more for oil or shellac detailing.

    We have a plan!  It might be antoehr week as I am crazy busy!

    I’ve got family coming at the end of this week so maybe we can get together on the 14th or 16th?  Are you free during the day?

    I recently used Versatil series from Escoda, it performs perfectly if you are seeking a synthetic brush.

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