Watercolor Painting & Sketching Group, Community, and Blog › Forums › Art Supply Reviews › Review-Aquanaut Series 997 Brushes #Watercolor #BrushReview #ArtForTheLunchBag
January 30, 2018 at 8:38 am
I’m terribly hard on my brushes. I dry brush and scrub too much and wear the bristles down. Who can afford to treat good (read, expensive) brushes that way?
So, about a month ago, I bought a 5-piece set of Aquanaut Series 997 Brushes (pictured on the right). I was impressed enough that when I discovered there was a 7-piece set (left), I bought those too.
I was impressed enough that I thought you need to know about them if you paint. The online blurb says these brushes are good for watercolor, acrylic and oil. I’ve only used them for watercolor, but I suspect they would work well for the other mediums, too.
Contents of 5-piece set: 1” One stroke, 1” Large angle shader, 1/2” Medium angle shader, 12 Large round, 8 Medium Round. Currently $15.97 on Amazon.
Contents of 7-piece set: 3/4” Action Flat, 8 Filbert, 1/4” Angle Shader, 1/4” Action Flat, 7 Medium Round, 4 Long Liner, 3 Small Round. Currently $12.97 on Amazon.
Bristles: white synthetic
Handles: Solid acrylic beveled handles, which are on average 7.5 inches (19 cm) long in length.
Look & Feel
The Aquanaut Series 997 brushes have a white synthetic bristle with a metal ferrule.
Although it is easy to get leftover watercolor paint out of the bristles, they stain easily and are going to look ugly over time. They actually clean easily though, and you aren’t likely to contaminate one color with another.
The brushes have acrylic beveled handles, which are very durable – maybe too much so. They’ll still be around when the bristles are nothing but a memory. They can be repurposed for stirring though. Or, one of these days I may glue them together to make some kind of storage box.
If you use masking fluid, you can dip the beveled edge in and use it to draw thin lines with the fluid.
The 5-piece set has the larger brushes that come in handy if you work large, or do lots of washes or wet-into-wet techniques. The 1” One stroke and 1” Large angle shader give nice, juicy washes. The 1/2” Medium angle shader is great for curves. I use the 8″ and 12″ rounds the most. Used on the side they give nice sweeping strokes, but snap back into shape so you can use the tip for crisp, fine lines.
The 7-piece set has a 3/4” Action Flat, 8 Filbert, 1/4” Angle Shader, 1/4” Action Flat, 7 Medium Round, 4 Long Liner, 3 Small Round – all smaller brushes that allow you to paint in great detail.
Nothing’s perfect, of course. I’ve mentioned the staining. I haven’t had any shedding yet, but the ferrules don’t look too secure. I’m hoping I’m wrong about that. And, as of this time, you can only buy the sets. I use some of the brushes more often than others, so when I need to replace one, I’d like to buy just the one I need.
Some cheap brushes splay, especially with the larger sizes, the bristles clumping into sections so that you get gaps and streaks in your washes. I’ve yet to have that happen with these brushes. The rounds spread enough with light pressure so you get a solid broad stroke, but you can switch to the pointed tip and get fine lines.
These brushes are great for the daily postcard paintings that I’ve been doing to put in my hubby’s lunch bag. The larger brushes allow me to do quick, loose backgrounds and I can use even the larger round and still get a great amount of detail. The smaller brushes let me get even the smallest detail that I want.
So, should you toss all your other brushes and replace them with the Aquanaut? Nah. But if you are looking for a good, basic set of brushes that pick up and release water and paint evenly, hold their shape and do a job of making marks, all at a low price, then these are definitely a brush you should try.
I doubt they’ll last a long time, especially since I am very hard on my brushes. But at these prices I can afford to replace them as needed. Here’s hoping that ProArtist Supply will start offering them as single brushes as well as sets.
If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve already seen several paintings done with these brushes. This is the one hubby took in his lunch bag today.
Drawn: Zebra Pen Zensations Brush Pen
Paint: XanaduArtStudio Handmade watercolors
Surface: Hahnemühle Watercolor Postcard.
Brushes: Aquanaut Series 997 brushes 1” One stroke, Sizes 3 & 8 round.
Adapted from a photo on Pixabay.January 30, 2018 at 6:58 pm
I really appreciate this review. Thank you, Sandra! I tend to always reach for cheap synthetic small round brushes for the majority of my work (I don’t use much water and work a lot with layering). Unfortunately, these particular ones don’t ship to Canada and on amazon.ca they want $75 for the same set. Ha! There are similar cheapo types like these brushes in art stores here though. Curry’s carries some inexpensive synthetic all-use brushes with short acrylic handles. I love that they’re cheap enough that they are easy to replace when needed.
I love your kitty painting. <3February 2, 2018 at 10:56 am
Great review… I am always looking for cheap brushes for detail work in the studio, oil and shellac — Did you get them locally?February 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm
No, I haven’t seen them in any stores. I bought them off of Amazon because they had the best price by quite a bit. I’m not sure why there aren’t more places carrying them. They are a ProArtist Supply brand, and that’s who sells them on Amazon. If you go to the ProArtist Supply website they want almost $5 more and don’t have the 7-piece set. The only other place I found them was on Ebay where the sets all ran over $20.March 12, 2018 at 11:29 am
Love this review Sandra – thank you! Your kitty is awesome! What does hubby do with his lunchbox art collection – it’s such a loving and clever idea. ❤️March 12, 2018 at 3:15 pm
Thank you, Yvonne! Hubby puts some of the artwork up at work – he says it helps him get people to come to his desk, lol. He rotates the work, and they all eventually end up in a photo album. We have about 5 1/2 full at the moment.
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