REVIEW: Princeton Velvetouch Mixed Media Brushes

It started twenty-five years ago, in a basement, in Princeton, New Jersey. From this small beginning, Howard Kaufman launched the Princeton Artists Brush company and today, it is one of the largest brush suppliers in North America. Dedicated to creating the finest in synthetic brushes, their NextGen brushes include the Neptune, Catalyst, Polytip and Princeton Velvetouch. 

I was given a 4-brush package of the Princeton Velvetouch – Series 3950 to try out, along with a size 6 Round and Long Round, so that I could explore the differences between the two.

Princeton Velvetouch – Series 3950 brushes - Doodlewash

The first questions that popped into my head were “What makes these brushes different from others?” and “Why are they called Velvetouch?”

Princeton Velvetouch First Impressions

The answer was apparent as soon as I picked one up. You know how some pens have rubber grips – they’re easy to hold, and more comfortable? Princeton Velvetouch brushes have that feel. They aren’t rubber and are more velvety, but they’re light and easy to hold on to.

They are escape artists though. They roll easily and right off the table if you aren’t careful (guess who wasn’t careful – good thing they’re sturdy brushes).

The Princeton Velvetouch bristles are a multiple-filament synthetic blend. The bristles are firm enough to have good spring, holding their point, and snapping back quickly. They are mixed media brushes, so you could also use them for acrylics, inks or oils. I don’t think I’d want to switch back and forth between media though, just because I’d worry about contamination.

They hold a moderate amount of water and pigment with a good even release. I was impressed and these will be daily-use brushes for me. I need a brush that I can use for small detail, but also broad sweeps of color. The rounds size 4 and 6, and the long round size 6 will be perfect for the daily postcards that I paint to put in my hubby’s lunch bag.

Princeton Velvetouch Review - Cougar painting example Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

The brushes that came in the 4-brush set were the:

  • Round – size 4
  • Long Round – size 8
  • Angle Shader – 3/8″
  • Wash – 3/4″
Princeton Velvetouch Brushes Detail - Doodlewash

I’ve been using these brushes extensively over the last couple of weeks and feel this is a great basic set for smaller paintings. I would want a larger wash brush and round if I was painting larger than 8 x 10. The angle shader is a good size for painting grasses or items that need similar long, angled strokes. The round 4 is wonderful for small details, and the larger long round is a good general brush, flexible enough for fine lines to broad strokes.

I was asked to compare the Round and Long Round brushes, and the best way I can think to sum it up is to say that the Long Round is a little more. It’s a little longer, it tapers a little more, and the tip is a little finer. It has a little more spring and creates both a finer line with the tip and a broader sweep when used on the side.

Princeton Velvetouch Round vs. Long Round - Doodlewash

It costs a little more – about $1 USD. Is it worth the extra buck? That’s going to depend on your style and what you like to paint. It might be worth investing in a long round if:

  • you’ve been using a round, and can’t get the detail, the line work or broad sweeps you want
  • you like to use a brush for lettering
  • you like to use a brush to tangle, doodle or illustrate

One warning – because the brush has longer bristles it does handle … you guessed it … a little differently. If you are used to a round, the long round may take some practice. It shouldn’t be long though (pun intended) before you’re swiping that brush across the page with flair.

Long Round vs Round

To get the feel of the long round brush, I did a painting to test the variety of line and brush work I could get – everything from down-right drawing with it to sweeping ripples across the page.

Princeton Velvetouch Brushes - Watercolor painting example Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

As you can see, this is a flexible brush that provides a wide range of strokes.

I spent less time with the round because I was more comfortable with it, since it is the type of brush I’ve used most often. It did everything I expected of it, in a controlled and responsive manner.

Princeton Velvetouch Brush Watercolor Painting Example Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

For the next painting, I used all six brushes. Most of the fine line work was done with the long rounds, size 6 and 8, the ripples with the angle brush, and the background with the wash brush.

Tangles Steampunk Example Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

I’m painting a garden in an Accordion book as a birthday present, so I thought I’d end this review with a video showing you one of the two-page spreads I painted using all of the Princeton Velvetouch brushes.

Watercolor flowers with Princeton Velvetouch Brushes by Sandra Strait - Doodlewash

Overall Impressions of Princeton Velvetouch

The Princeton Velvetouch brushes are made with multiple-filament synthetic blend and a soft, easy to grip handle that feels velvety to the touch. They hold a good amount of water and pigment, with a nice, even release.

The long round is a little more than the round – a longer, more tapered, more spring and about a dollar more in cost. It would be a good brush for someone who needs just a little more versatility in their strokes, or who wants to use a brush for lettering, tangling or fine detail.

You can also click here to learn more about all of the available Princeton Watercolor Brushes. 

The Tools Used: Princeton Velvetouch Brushes, Hahnemühle Cold-Pressed Watercolor Postcards and Watercolor Paper.


I was given the Princeton Velvetouch 4 brush set and size 6 round and long round brushes for purposes of this review. I received no other considerations, though this post may contain affiliate links which help support Doodlewash. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Art Supply Reviews
  1. LoriCtoo 5 years ago

    Thank you Sandra for this demo! Time to break out some different style brushes and do some experimenting. Do you have any suggestions for those of us who paint on the go? Right now I am using waterbrushes for their portability.

  2. Julia Proulx 5 years ago

    Awesome review Sandra, and I love your art, both the steampunk and animal works!

  3. Mary Roff 5 years ago

    Thanks for the review and the demo. I really like the way that long round brush works…going to add it to my “needs” 🙂 list.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Mary! The long round is becoming my most used brush!

  4. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    What a great review, Sandra. I have a fair selection of Princeton brushes as I find them dependable, but I’ll look into a Velvetouch. I like how you paint without drawing first – your paintings are fresh and immediate.

  5. Beverly Dyer 5 years ago

    Good brushes are worth the cost! I once paid $25 for one tiny brush. It lasted a long time. Thanks for the review Sandra!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Beverly! I agree – a good brush can make painting with watercolor so much easier!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Nice review. Love the addition of videos in your newer reviews.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Sharon! These were actually among my first – the reviews haven’t been posted in the order I wrote them. It’s definitely been a learning experience!

  7. Fantine Ponter 5 years ago

    Love, love your art! That cheetah is awesome!. Thanks for the review and the videos. Always help us beginners to watch artists do their thing!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Fantine! I glad my videos are helpful. It’s been a learning experience for me doing them.

  8. Jean Marmo 5 years ago

    Thank you for the information. As one new to watercolor, I have been using whatever brushes I have and I do not know how to use them. I think I need better brushes and lessons how to use them:) Love your postcards!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Jean! The right brush can definitely make a difference!

  9. Les Grindey 5 years ago

    Great write up most enjoyable and the leopard is amazing your art work skillful

  10. Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

    Oh how marvelous to see the variety of ways you’ve used these brushes – thank you, Sandra!! I LOVE everything but that Tangles Doodle with the intricate semi Mandala is a stunning page! And the garden!!! Swoon-worthy work there … do you need my Birthday too? LOL What type of journal did you paint that in?

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Yvonne! I used a Pentalic Accordion Journal. It’s interesting to paint in because the pages have so much spring and I couldn’t find a clip large enough to hold it down, lol.

      • Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

        Oh yes, I’ve seen those little journals – good to hear about the wee challenges you had with it. It surely didn’t look like it was giving you a fuss so “well done!” you on keeping that looking so easy in the video. 👏🏻❣️👏🏻

        • Author
          Sandra Strait 5 years ago

          That’s the nice thing about the speeding up the video! I makes everything you do look better than real life, lol!

          • Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

            Hey – “whatever works” is my policy! Papa always says he “has a rigid policy of flexibility”! lol

  11. Patsy 5 years ago

    Thanks Sandra for the review, I think I have a couple of Princeton brushes but sure did like the fine lines you got with those, on my way to check my stash!

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Patsy! The long round is becoming one of my most used brushes because I do like being able to create those fine lines.

  12. June Hadaway 5 years ago

    Good review. Thank you. This was posted on the same day I received my order for the Princeton Snap brushes that Charlie recommends in his shop. I am sure all their brushes are good since the company has been around for a long time.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      The Snap brushes are good for holding their point. I don’t think they hold quite as much water or color. That can be good or bad depending on your style.

  13. June Hadaway 5 years ago

    Thank you Sandra. I may
    find myself exchanging them.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      If you want to do small detail, the Velvetouch are definitely better.

  14. Karen Howard 5 years ago

    Hi Sandra, great review! I’ll get this brand brush to try.

    • Author
      Sandra Strait 5 years ago

      Thank you, Karen! I look forward to seeing what you’ll do with this brush!

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