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

31 thoughts on “REVIEW: Princeton Velvetouch Mixed Media Brushes

  1. 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.

    1. It’s hard to beat waterbrushes for their portability because of the built-in water tank, but I hate painting with them. The Escoda Versatil travel set is wonderful but on the medium expensive side. Those are what Charlie uses (
      If looking for something cheaper, Cheap Joe’s has some Golden fleece that are a nice size.
      Definitely not the brushes I’d want for everyday – Golden Taklon flats of any kind have a tendency to splay – but better than waterbrushes.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 👏🏻❣️👏🏻

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

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