Travel Brush opinions?

This topic contains 55 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Kate Powell 1 month ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #84555
     Halina Veratsennik 
    Participant

    I want to get travel brush but can’t decide weather to get synthetic or “real” kolinski.
    And then there is a choice between Da Vinci and Escoda… and what size? 6? 4?

    I want something versatile that can be used at home and on location, I don’t paint too often, but when I do – I stay within  A5 size or smaller. I also do some miniatures …

    HalinaV - mini - san francisco

    what do you guys use? recommend?

  • #84999
     Tonya L 
    Participant

    I really don’t care for water brushes (though I use them occasionally) so I have amassed a decent stash of travel brushes and reviewed several here: https://www.scratchmadejournal.com/blog/reviews-of-travel-pocket-brushes-for-watercolor

    (Be sure to read the post comments… I think there’s some good advice there!)

    Since I wrote that review, I splurged and bought the Cheap Joe’s travel brush in the 100-percent sable. I love, love, love it! But I will also say that their Pseudo Sable works like a dream and is excellent quality for the price.

    • #86323
       Halina Veratsennik 
      Participant

      Thank you for the reply and link to the blog post Tonya! a lot of useful ideas there !

      I recently discovered your blog (<3)

  • #85379
     Jill Gustavis 
    Participant

    Not sure where you would be shipping to, but if international shipping is an option for you, also take a look at Rosemary & Co. I really enjoy the 2 travel brushes I have from them. The medium squirrel mop is lovely, holds a LOT of water and has the tiniest tip, but I do have trouble fitting the big belly back into the sleeve without either crimping a stray hair or two, or resleeving it soaking wet. The R9 sable is wonderful though. I have a no6 which may be a bit large for your miniatures, but good for general ‘small’ work. I too don’t work that large. I’ll be looking at their site again when I can add a few more.

    I also have an Escoda Reserva no4. which is good for small, but you may have to work very carefully to do the miniatures. The tip was good for it, but I had to make sure I didn’t put any pressure on it and start to spread out the belly.

    As for synthetics, I have a few Prado brushes from Escoda, and they behave a lot like the Da Vinci Cosmotop line, if you’ve ever used them. Very springy, not as thirsty as a natural. I prefer them when I do lettering or folk style pieces and I want crisp edges versus any soft blending. If you want a softer edge, there’s also the Escoda Versatil line, I have a regular brush in a no8 which I enjoy and I’m sure the smaller sizes are just as nice.

    Hope any of my experience can help, although I still switch up which I prefer based on my mood/work, so there may not be a clear answer until you’ve tried a few. Haven’t tried the Cheap Joes or DaVinci travels yet. Because of the cost and ethical concern associated with naturals, I’d love to find a synthetic to effectively replace them eventually. I’ll definitely be following along to the other replies!

    • #86324
       Halina Veratsennik 
      Participant

      wow, a lot of useful info Jill! Thank you!  How I wish my budget was unlimited so I can try all of them 🙂 I have yet to acquire natural hair brush, so I need to give it a try

  • #86087
     Peggy Berk 
    Participant

    If you want really small travel brushes (that will fit in the small Altoid tin!) Whiskey Painters and Winsor and Newton both make natural hair reversible travel brushes.  Both are rounds size 2 – I find the Whiskey Painter brush holds a lot of paint but is very soft. The W& brush doesn’t hold as much but is firm enough to give me a good fine line.

    My favorites are my Silver Brush Black Velvet Voyager reversible pocket brushes.  They are a blend of  squirrel hair and a black synthetic filament.  I love these brushes – in addition to some Escoda kolinsky sables I have and some miniature W&N Series 7 brushes, the full size versions of the Black Velvet brushes are the ones I use most frequently indoors. (The travel brushes are the exact same… had I bought the Voyagers initially, I definitely wouldn’t have had to invest in their standard sized round brushes as well.).  The Voyager brushes are abut 1-¼” longer than the others when closed, but the upside is that when you open them up, you’ve got a really comfortable full sized brush in your hands.

    I just ordered some travel brushes from Rosemary & Co., primarily because they are the only company I’ve found that had more than just rounds in their travel brush line.  They haven’t arrived yet (and I have no idea how long it will take as there are no retail outlets in the US and I had to order form the UK) – but if you’re still deciding when they get here, I’ll be happy to give them a test run for you.

    [Photo:  The gold metal case is #2 Whiskey Painters, silver case is the #2 Winsor and Newton,  the blue brush is a Cotman synthetic….came in one of their field kits… has medium tip control but holds less paint than the others…  Black brushes are the Black Velvet Voyagers.

     

    Hope this is helpful!

    travel brushes

  • #86834
     Peggy Berk 
    Participant

    My Rosemary & Co brushes finally arrived yesterday….  I didn’t order the pocket rounds because I already have so many of them, but I got an assortment of their other sable travel brushes and the R9 Squirrel mop.  I’m pretty impressed with the brushes.  They have better loading and are easier to control than my other natural hair travel brushes and its nice to have the option of a one stroke, rigger and small filbert in the travel size.  The mop represents the first time I’ve used a pure squirrel brush and I’m a convert now.  It gave me a perfect, even wash  in its first pass (see photo).   If you were going to add just one more brush to your travel rounds,  I would definitely recommend this mop. Perfect wash with Rosemary & Co. R9 Squirrel Mop

    • #89889
       Tonya L 
      Participant

      Gosh, that’s a pretty wash! Thanks for posting the photo. Very helpful!

  • #87229
     Cindy C 
    Participant

    A note on fitting the travel brush back into the case without crimping any of those “expensive” hairs….  I carry a small compact of “The Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver” – .25 oz travel size (comes in many useful sizes), which many of you already use.   Clean your brush in water, roll your brush around in the brush cleaner and leave it on the brush to dry.  This will hold the bristles together so you can put the cap on the brush.  Masters Brush Cleaner is safe to use and is beneficial to your brush head.  When you are ready to use your brush again, just rinse in water and you are ready to go!

  • #87236
     Peggy Berk 
    Participant

    Thats a great tip, Cindy.  I use  Masters to clean  all my brushes and always leave a coating of it on the brush after it’s clean (haven’t done the “roll around” thing… usually just coat my thumb and forefinger and lightly apply while shaping the brush).  I found that little travel size in a kit that also had the bar soap and a Kiss-Off stick (both of which I didn’t really need), but haven’t found the .25 oz size independently.  Do you know where that size  can be bought by itself?

  • #87550
     EK O’Connor 
    Participant

    I have some from all over (Rosemary & Co, Cheap Joes, etc.) but my favorite is a set from Zecchi.it:  Pocket case of wood containing 4 travel Marten Kolinsky brushes n. 2-4-6-8.  The case is a beautiful little wooden one that fits in your hand and feels good (like a smooth rock feels good to hold), but it’s not as small or as thin as metal or plastic cases.  I also like the way the brushes stand up in the case.  Though I often prefer to work with synthetics in larger work, for travel, I love the Zecchi brushes.  For something smaller, pocket or mini palette size, the tips in comments above are excellent.

    • #89893
       Tonya L 
      Participant

      The Zecchi set sounds lovely. I tried to visit their website, but my Italian is a little rusty. I checked Jackson’s and they don’t carry this brand. If you have time to share a link to the product, I’d love to know more about this set. I don’t think I can get my hands on one, but I sure would like to see it! Thanks.

  • #89881
     Kate Powell 
    Participant

    Wow great info thanks for the feed and comments!  I’ve not bought any yet, not happy with the WN that came with some kit… I take a couple of my favorites in a toothrush holder!

    • #90027
       Peggy Berk 
      Participant

      Tonya L – Zecchi has an English version of the web site (just click on the UK flag icon in the upper left corner)…  but alas no UK retail source for their brushes… which now I’m totally coveting (Confession: I think I have a brush fetish ;(.  )

      E.K. –  are the brushes retractable as the site implies or are the cases reversible as is common with travel brushes?

      • #90047
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        Thanks for letting me know about the English version of their site. I didn’t even notice that until you pointed it out to me. I’m actually in the States, but if they aren’t available in the U.K., I’m quite certain that I can’t find them here. It’s probably for my own protection. ha! I’m totally raising my hand along with you with that brush covet fetish issue. Though I probably have a slight addiction problem with every watercolor supply, especially those pretty, high-quality finds like these brushes!

      • #90103
         Peggy Berk 
        Participant

        Tonya – I am in the states too (NY) but have been able to order supplies here and there from the UK without issue…  Anyway, I succumbed… emailed them this afternoon about whether they ship here and what the total costs would be….. 😉

      • #90119
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        Let me know what you find out, Peggy. I’m with Charlie… these would look great on my Christmas list.

      • #90106
         EK O’Connor 
        Participant

        Hi Peggy, I’m glad you emailed them!  They are more reversible rather than retractable (translation issue).  I think that, like many Mediterranean coastal cities, they close for August, but maybe you will reach them in time!  I also have some of their charcoal.  I can’t speak of their materials highly enough.  I’d love to buy their pigments sometime…but of course, these items are very dear…  I hope you’re able to give the brush set a try 🙂  -Erin

  • #89888
     Tonya L 
    Participant

    This is  great feed, and I found the wash photo of the Rosemary squirrel mop very helpful. What a pretty wash! I wish squirrels worked in my hand, but I push too much when I paint to use a mop. Their lack of snap causes so much frustration with me, but I see other artists use them with masterly results.

    EK, if you have time to post a photo, I’d really like a peek at that Zecchi set. Unfortunately, I don’t know anywhere in the States to find that brand, but it sure sounds lovely!

     

     

    • #90105
       EK O’Connor 
      Participant

      I see Jill already posted the link (thank you, Jill!).  They are lovely.  The little box feels so nice in one’s hand.  If you contact them, they reply nearly immediately and ship it very well packed.  One can never have too many travel brush sets 😉

      • #90118
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        Oh Erin, you’re not supposed to be encouraging the addict to acquire! ha ha! These travel brushes really are a treat. Thanks for sharing this amazing company with us.

  • #89959
     Jill Gustavis 
    Participant

    Tonya, this is the link I looked up when I was curious about the Zecchi brushes mentioned. I don’t know for sure if it’s the same set, but it’s awfully beautiful none the less. Don’t know if they ship to US, but like you said, I just wanted to see it and drool a little, lol. 🙂

     

    http://zecchi.it/products.php?category=20

    • #89986
       Tonya L 
      Participant

      Oh my, those are smashingly pretty, aren’t they? Definitely drool worthy and probably excellent quality to boot. Right now, I’m repeatedly thinking to myself… “Tonya, you do NOT need any more brushes.”

      Thanks for the link, Jill! I’ll bookmark it, just in case. ha!

      • #90107
         EK O’Connor 
        Participant

        Hi Jill, they do ship to the US – they’ve shipped several (ahem, lol) packages to me! The link  you so kindly provided is indeed the set I have.  Just got a 10-wk-old puppy and have been a little slow replying 🙂  – Erin

      • #90117
         Charlie O’Shields 
        Keymaster

        Oh wow!! Those brushes are gorgeous!! Looks like I’ve just started my Christmas list!! 😊hehe Yay!

  • #90120
     Peggy Berk 
    Participant

    Tonya / Erin – Well not only do they ship to the US but are very fast about it… they emailed me back as soon as they opened today with pricing including shipping and had checked inventory (they had 2-3 sets left) and as soon as I responded that I wanted a set, they sent me a link to pay by credit card on an Italian e-commerce site… within minutes, they notified me that my order was shipping tomorrow!

    [Score another one for the #brushfetish 😉 ]

    • #90121
       Tonya L 
      Participant

      Amazing! Not to open up Pandora’s box… but did anyone else notice that their handmade watercolor paper. My budget may take a massive hit with this order. 🙂 Do you mind sharing how much shipping cost for the brushes, Peggy?

      • #90124
         Peggy Berk 
        Participant

        Tonya – not at all… the charge just came through on my Amex  … the whole thing with shipping came to US$125.72 (the e-commerce site was in Euros so I don’t really have a good idea of the breakdown ;).  They ship DHL… I have no idea what the transit timeframe from Italy is, but I asked them in my email to ship before they went on August break and they said “no problem”…

        I did notice those papers…. AND their lapis lazuli pigment….  has anyone tried their watercolors ?

         

         

      • #90125
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        Thank you so much, Peggy. That’s actually a pretty fair price for quality Kolinsky sable. I’m a sable person. It’s nearly all I use to paint, so after you have time to try them out, please come back and share your opinion about them.

        Ooch, I saw those watercolors also. Covet covet covet. 😀 Have fun painting!

      • #90205
         Peggy Berk 
        Participant

        Charlie – I think you need to open a #BrushFetish forum here. I think Tonya and I could easily keep it going 😉

        Seriously though I’ve always wondered why art supply stores never have brush events.  There are many paint events during the year (where you can go to a specific retailer to demo paints on a given day), but I’ve yet to see any of the major art stores host a brush event where you get to try out some brushes.  When I was younger I only worked in oils and just started working in watercolor about 18 months ago.  It was all new to me and I bought nearly 3 dozen brushes, trial and error one or two at a time,  before I “found” my brushes.

        [Photo: My watercolor brush collection]

      • #91512
         Charlie O’Shields 
        Keymaster

        LOL… brush fetish, eh?! Love it! What an incredible collection of brushes! And you’re so right… brush in-store demos would be amazing. You never really know until you try them if they’ll work. I have a bin of brushes that I no longer use.

      • #91515
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        I agree with you that places need to make it easier to test brushes. Cheap Joe’s HQ and outlet store (in Boone NC) allows customers to test brushes on a waterboard with water, but I really can’t tell much from that. Still, it’s better than nothing.

        And there is NO way I need to be in a brush fetish group. This art supply group is dangerous enough! ha! 🙂

      • #91589
         Peggy Berk 
        Participant

        Tonya – Turns out Zecchi sent them DHL second day for that price!!! Just got a text from DHL that they will be delivered today…..

  • #90122
     Peggy Berk 
    Participant

    Erin – How did you happen to find Zecchi’s?  Did you paint in Florence?

    • #90255
       Kate Powell 
      Participant

      LOVE the brush fetish idea!  If I had spending money I’d be trouble.  I wish the pis would make itself better!

      • #91995
         EK O’Connor 
        Participant

        Peggy – I spent a few months in Italy on two different occasions, and fell in love with their store when I ran into it while wandering around in Florence 🙂

  • #91896
     EK O’Connor 
    Participant

    Hi everybody, sorry late in replying, puppy has been in the ER lately. She’s fine now. I get my orders from Zecchi via FedEx. I think it depends where you live in the States on how they ship it.  I spent a few months in Italy on two different occasions, and fell in love with their store. I have their Silverpoint materials,  a set of their watercolors,  and some of the rough charcoal of the type that Michelangelo used. I’m not a professional artist, just a hobbyist and collector of unusual and fine art materials. I ordered from Zecchi to be reminded of the times I spent in Italy and especially in Florence. Also, like one of Florence’s perfumeries (Santa Maria Novella), the store has been there for centuries and that gives me a smile. It’s like a connection, a camaraderie, if you will, through the ages, with artists 🙂

  • #91897
     EK O’Connor 
    Participant

    PS if you ever visit Cortona, there was a lovely little art supplies shop with a wonderful, kind elderly gentleman who will help you find whatever you need. It is a tiny little shop, and even though it was a couple of years in between my visits, he remembered me. It’s the kind of place that you remember all of your life.

  • #92576
     Peggy Berk 
    Participant

    Zecchi Travel BrushesTonya – The Zecchi brushes are just beautiful. They load a lot of paint though I have found that the largest (*size 8) tends to release a bit too much of a bead immediately upon touching dry paper.  In general I’m finding them a bit softer than my other sables and there seems to be a much greater variance from one size to the next than I’m used to seeing in other lines. [I don’t know how well you can see this in the photo??]

    Overall, they are pretty nice to paint with – especially the two smaller ones. The #4 will definitely become one of my favorites.

    Craftsmanship is outstanding. The brushes are very well made – as is the beautiful wood case.  I especially like that the case incorporates a stand.  I often paint spontaneously on site and have a habit of just using a single brush – even when another would work better – because there’s no where to easily rest a second brush.  I think I will find the incorporated stand very helpful.

    Tonya, I hate to do this to you knowing what a battle the  #brushfetish thing can be,  but you being a sable person and loving high quality supplies,  I should think you are going to have to get one of these sets 😉

    • #92625
       Tonya L 
      Participant

      Peggy, thank you so much for this information! I really appreciate your honest input. Those brushes look absolutely lovely in the photo! I do the same thing with brushes in the field… hesitate to get another out because I have to dig for them in my pack and then find somewhere to keep them all where they won’t roll away from me.

      I love a large-sized round (I paint mostly with size 8-12 rounds) and wonder if I would be too frustrated by the release on the size 8. That’s what made me give up the Rosemary sables… the softness kept resulting in a pigment dump.

      Hmmm, I will certainly give these some thought. Your comment was extremely helpful!

      • #92636
         Peggy Berk 
        Participant

        I was just getting a feel for them working wet into dry on some practice paper (a Strathmore watercolor journal) when I got that bead.  My tests were nowhere near as scientific or exacting as yours… and I rarely use a brush as large as the #8 (which is the same size as two of my other #10’s!!) so I’m not really sure how much was “operator” fault and how much was the brush.  I saw your great video on how to test a brush today…if you think it would be useful too you to see those tests on #8 I will do that and post the photo for you.

        [Hey, if you haven’t seen it, check out Tonya’s instructive video on how to test a brush! https://www.scratchmadejournal.com/blog/watercolor-brushes-how-to-test-a-brush]

  • #94686
     John 
    Participant

    Wow what a brilliant thread! Loved reading through these (yep – another brush fetishist!) I’ve just been doing some more sketching whilst on holiday and had forgotten how much I love my Escoda travel brushes. I have the Optimo sable range in a 12, 10, 8, 6 and a Perla Synthetic sized 10. Really beautiful. I rarely use the 6, and usually find that the 12 and 10 are ideal for working A5 and A4. Had never heard of the Zechi brand before but shall definitely be checking them out! Oh, I keep my brushes tidy in an old leather cigar case (cheap on eBay) that has a lovely feel to it!

  • #94708
     Kate Powell 
    Participant

    So how about great travel brushes that are not made from hair?

  • #94878
     John 
    Participant

    Hi Kate – I can vouch for the Perla synthetic but it’s not got particularly good water holding capabilities for washes / covering larger areas. Tonya’s suggestion sounds like more of an all rounder!

  • #94886
     Kate Powell 
    Participant

    Thanks y’all!  Checking it out!

  • #94965
     Beverly Kleinjan 
    Participant

    I think it also depends on what your painting style is. When I want to do loose style with lots of water (mainly landscapes), I love a bigger round sable brush and use my Rosemary&Co’s Pocket pure Kolinsky sable as well as the squirrel mop, as they hold so much water. They are *very* difficult to get back into their caps dry without damaging them though, so I tend to put them away slightly damp and they dry in the cap thanks to the small hole in the bottom of the cap.

    However, my personal favourite painting style is realistic, and for that I need a good point, a brush that’s not too soft and a lot of snap – a smaller synthetic usually. In this case, I think my favourites are the DaVinci Cosmo Top Spin (synthetic) travel brush 1573 series. I have a size 4, 6, 10 set that I use almost every day. They may not hold as much water as the sables, but they have served me well and are my favourite travel brushes by far. I also really appreciate the fact that the top cap’s hole is bigger than some of the travel brushes I’ve tried, making it easier to insert the brush without messing up the hairs (I just wipe the bristles gently with a paper towel and they insert easily, keeping their shape).

     

     

    • #95129
       Kate Powell 
      Participant

      I did not know Cosmotops came as Travel brushes.   So far they are my favorite brushes, period.  There is an amazing offer on Amazon if you check the coupon box — a 4,10 and 6 for $40.  Thanks you!

      • #95158
         Peggy Berk 
        Participant

        Kate, this is definitely tickling my brush fetish ;(. Never used those – are they synthetics or a blend.  how do they paint?

      • #95227
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        These are extremely popular brushes and though I love many synthetics, the Cosmotop was too stiff for my taste. It’s all just personal preference!

        I love to use a variety of natural & synthetics, and I try to be careful to not categorize either as “good” or “bad.” Synthetics don’t use animal hair and are typically more affordable, but they are horrendous for our environment.

        I prefer the Miller (Cheap Joe’s) Pseudo Sable or the Loew-Cornell Golden Taklons (series 7020 & 7000) for my synthetics and find they work better in my hand than the Cosmotop. Only the Pseudo Sables come in a travel size. Somewhere up above, there’s a link to my review of the Pseudo Sable. I also have a review of the LCs on my blog.

      • #95238
         Kate Powell 
        Participant

        Hi Peggy, was replying and the internet ate it!

        Yes, synthetic, and I like their oval wash best because it holds a good amount of water — not the very best but to have one brush with me — and yet has enough point/stiffness for precision.  I have two of these and love them.  No travel size of this, though I might cut one for the toothbrush holder I carry. 

    • #95226
       Tonya L 
      Participant

      Beverly, this is excellent, spot-on advice. I use a variety of natural and synthetic. What I’m using at the moment usually depends on what I’m painting. Thanks for mentioning this!

      • #95234
         Kate Powell 
        Participant

        I am not categorizing any choice as good or bad, and frankly, the only way to not harm the environment is to do sit meditation all day!  Cleansers, pigments (in our water supply), iridescent paints (also bad for aquatic life), and even paper company’s manufacturing practices have poor environmental impact (not Hahnemuhle, a big plus for me.)  For myself, I choose to use animal products where the entire animal is used, and so avoid certain brushes.  I have synthetics which are still good for artist painting after many years, and then move to the conservation business where they are used for restoration of antiquities in everything from glues to historic paint applications — a long life.  Recycle, recyle, recycle!

        I loved the older Leow-Cornells but am so-so about the Golden Taklon series, too soft, though I have two rounds I haven’t sent on to their second life.  It is so nice to be able to try a brush out, and wish more stores would allow it!  I have Joe’s on my list to try.

         

      • #95235
         Tonya L 
        Participant

        Totally get what you are saying, Kate! So sorry if my comment came across as if I was referring to you. Just a general comment about categorizing things as good or bad based on one factor, not as a reaction to your question. I like the way you have found a nice balance and laughed at your ecofriendly meditation remark. 😄 Anyway, wouldn’t things be so much easier if we could sit down over tea and compare brushes? Again, many apologies if I sounded preachy.

        Its really great to hear your input about how you think the LC brushes are too soft. You may not like the Pseudo sables then. I think they may be a touch softer than the LC brushes.

        Fascinating how we all enjoy different things! Love that about this world… our glorious differences. Thanks for opening up.

      • #95236
         Kate Powell 
        Participant

        No problem… and yes, tea and paint!

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

CONTACT US

Want to say hi and connect? Do you make lovely things with watercolor and want to be featured in the next Guest Artist post?! Great! Not sure, just feel the need to say something? Awesome! Just fill out the form below!

Sending

©2015-2017 Doodlewash® | Privacy & Cookie Policy | Disclosure

 
X
- Enter Your Location -
- or -
or

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

or

Create Account