15 Best Watercolor Brushes For Artists Of All Levels In 2021

Various watercolor brushes

Watercolor painting is a great way to express your creativity and get in touch with your artistic side. It's also an enjoyable medium for beginners! It can be hard to know which brushes are best for watercolors if you're just starting. That's why we put together this list of the 15 best watercolor brushes that both beginner and professional artists love using!

Our Top Picks

Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099
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Best Overall - Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099

Excellent capacity
Good spring and snap
Elegant black and silver design

Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950
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Most Versatile - Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950

High-quality synthetic bristles
Good spring on the brushes
• Animal-friendly construction

Best Beginner Set - Benicci Professional Artist Paint Brush Set

Soft and durable nylon bristles
Easy to clean
100% money-back guarantee

1. Escoda 1548 Versatil Series

Escoda 1548 Versatil Series
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 Pros Cons
  • High-quality synthetic Kolinsky sable brushes
  • Genuine leather travel case
  • Triple-crimp ferrules
  • Short metal handles
  • 5 brushes in one set
  • Metal handles feel too cold to touch



What Customers Have to Say

This set has a near-perfect review from the users, citing the quality of Kolinsky sable synthetic hair used in the brushes. Though they are a bit expensive to the liking of newbies and intermediate artists, they also last long, giving your money better than cheaper brands.

Why We Think It's Great

The Escoda 1548 Versatil Series Artist Watercolor 6 Travel Brush Set is perfect for any artist looking to paint in the open air for inspiration. The genuine leather travel case turns out to be a handy feature when organizing your painting tools. The short metal handles make these brushes easy to hold onto while painting. 

Some users complain that it may seem too cold to touch when you first use it, especially when the artist is more familiar with wooden or acrylic handles. The brushes have triple-crimped ferrules to ensure that the bristles will never fall out of place when using them. 

The set comes with five high-quality synthetic Kolinsky sable brushes that will never lose their shape or softness no matter how many times you use them. They have an excellent capacity, flow, spring, and snap, so you'll enjoy using these brushes. If you ever need a genuine Kolinsky sable brush, you may want to opt for the Escoda 1200 Reserva Series.

Who Should Buy It

This set is perfect for artists who demand premium watercolor brushes for their work.

2. Da Vinci 5382-1503 Watercolor Brushes

Da Vinci 5382-1503 Watercolor Brushes
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 Pros Cons
  • Portable design
  • High-quality PU leather casing
  • 3 sizes of brushes in 1 set
  • Synthetic sable bristles
  • May be used for various medium
  • Some brushes have loose bristles
  • Fine tips may not hold for long

What Customers Have to Say

The Da Vinci watercolor brushes are very nice and compact. The travel brush set comes in 3 sizes. The removable ferrule and head are not easily damaged, but be sure to wash and dry the brush heads after each use and put them back in their case.

Da Vinci 5382-1503 Watercolor Brushes

Why We Think It's Great

The PU leather casing is very durable and protects the travel brushes from damage, especially during long travels. These brushes are of very high quality and have synthetic sable bristles, which can hold a lot of water or paint so that you can paint without delays.

Da Vinci brushes are very easy to clean. The company also adheres to green manufacturing practices, particularly with environmental issues on their art supplies. The only drawback is that the bristles fall off often, but you can use these brushes with watercolors, gouache, and acrylics.

Who Should Buy It

The Da Vinci brushes are among the best watercolor brushes for traveling watercolor artists and those who want to minimize their art tools.

3. Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099 - Best Overall

Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099
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 Pros Cons
  • Blend of squirrel and black synthetic bristles
  • Excellent capacity
  • Good spring and snap
  • Elegant black and silver design
  • With 3 various round brushes
  • Smaller brushes fray easily
  • Bristles don't stay stiff

What Customers Have to Say

One professional watercolor artist and teacher is always looking for high-quality but affordable watercolor brushes to recommend to her students and found this set to her preference. Other artists have tried more expensive sets but found this brand better in many aspects.

Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099

Why We Think It's Great

The Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099 Basic Watercolor Brush Set uses a combination bristle of squirrel hair and synthetic bristles to have a good spring and snap. The belly is of decent size to hold a good quantity of water and paint. The set includes #4, 8, and 12 round brushes.

Their elegant black and silver design makes them look beautiful on your desk. The acrylic handle sets well on your hand and is short for easier manipulation. The ferrule is nickel-plated brass with a triple-crimped epoxy barrier, which helps maintain the life of your brush by reducing water damage.

You may also want to try the Silver Brush Limited WC 3000S set to complete your brushes. It includes an oval wash for filling large areas and a script liner for your fine details.

Who Should Buy It

The Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099 Basic Watercolor Brush Set is the perfect brush set for beginners and intermediate artists, though many professional artists swear by their quality too.

4. Artbrushes Sable Hair Watercolor Brush Set

Artbrushes Sable Hair Watercolor Brush Set
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 Pros Cons
  • High-quality synthetic sable-hair bristles
  • High-grade chrome-plated brass ferrule
  • Long birchwood handle
  • Use on various mediums
  • Decent belly size of the brush head
  • Bristles fray easily
  • Bristles shed a lot


What Customers Have to Say

Though these are synthetic brushes, many newbie users think they're authentic because of their quality. The price is the only giveaway. They are smooth to use and hold water and paint well, which is a big plus for even professional artists.

Why We Think It's Great

Artbrushes Sable Hair Watercolor Brush Set is the perfect brush set for any artist. It comes with a variety of brushes that are great for watercolors, acrylics, and oils. The bristles are high-quality synthetic sable hair, making them soft enough to use on various mediums and strong enough to last a long time. 

This round brush set comes with a decent belly size, so it has a decent capacity for its price. The handles are long, made from polished birchwood, and lacquered for your comfort. They also have a luxurious feel and don't cause much fatigue because of their size.

Who Should Buy It

Those who want quality sable round brushes at an affordable cost will love this watercolor brush set.

5. Arteza Watercolor Paint Brushes

Arteza Watercolor Paint Brushes
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 Pros Cons
  • High-quality synthetic brushes
  • Durable
  • Artist-designed and approved
  • Good selection of sizes
  • Easy to clean
  • Won't stay in shape after a year of use
  • Bristles may fray and shed


What Customers Have to Say

Many artists who have tried them claim that they stay in shape after months of continuous use. It also helps that the brushes have individual plastic covers. Other companies omit the bristle guard for flat brushes. Some artists who posted their finished artwork as a review showed excellent details. You won't guess that they're using these very affordable brushes.

Arteza Watercolor Paint Brushes

Why We Think It's Great

You can use the Arteza watercolor brushes with watercolors or acrylics. However, remember not to switch to watercolors and acrylics since acrylics have harsher chemical components than watercolors that may harm the brushes. We simply mean that you don't have to buy this set solely for watercolor since you can use the other brushes in the set for different paint types.

The bristles are soft but firm enough to hold their shape when wet, so your paintbrush won't lose shape quickly, especially when using the wet-on-wet technique. They may fray and shed, though if you use harsh soap and warm water to clean them. The set includes 6 round brushes (#1, 16, 8, 12, 16, and 20), 3 flat brushes (#6, 14, 24), #2 angle, 1/4 dagger's stripper, and #12 cat's tongue.

Who Should Buy It

Arteza Watercolor Paint Brushes are high-quality synthetic brushes that are durable and are a perfect set for beginners.

6. Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950 - Best Multi-Purpose 

Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950
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 Pros Cons
  • High-quality synthetic bristles
  • FSC-certified wooden handle
  • Good spring on the brushes
  • Animal-friendly construction
  • Multi-use
  • Pigment carrying capacity is barely decent
  • Round brushes don't keep their shape well

What Customers Have to Say

Many newbie and intermediate artists prefer this set over sets with more brushes but use poor-quality bristles. The brushes have good absorbency and hold their shape well.

Why We Think It's Great

The bristles are soft, hold their shape well, and don't fray and shed quickly. The ferrules are double-crimped, and the heel is tight so that the bristles won't fall off easily.

The set includes a long round #8, round #4, 3/8-inch angle shader, and 3/4-inch wash. Only the round brushes have bristle guards because they need more protection, so they keep their shape.

Who Should Buy It

The Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950 Watercolor Brush is an excellent set for newbie artists looking for affordable but quality brushes for adding details, washing, and lining.

7. Transon Round Watercolor Detail Paint Brushes

Transon Round Watercolor Detail Paint Brushes
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 Pros Cons
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Double-crimped ferrule
  • Combined nylon and goat hair bristles
  • 8 pieces in one set
  • Very affordable
  • Does not last very long
  • Some brushes have stiff bristles

What Customers Have to Say

The Transon watercolor brushes hold water and pigment well, and though they are very affordable, it is still a good investment for any newbie artist.

Transon Round Watercolor Detail Paint Brushes

Why We Think It's Great

Transon round watercolor brushes are also suitable for acrylics, inks, and gouache. They work best for creating detailed drawings or paintings with washes that go on thin and thicker lines. Natural goat hairs hold water and pigment well, making them perfect for blending with high-grade nylon bristles. The bristles are soft, easy to work with, and hold the fine tip well.

The nickel-plated copper ferrule is more durable and double-crimped to the handle, so the brush is very stable and won't wobble even after prolonged use. The handle has an ergonomic design with a high-quality varnish that won't chip.

The brushes included in the set are #0-#7 and range from 207mm-242mm long. You can use it on watercolors, acrylics, gouache, oil, tempera, and inks. However, don't use it on more than one medium. If you use it for watercolor, don't use it on other paints as the chemicals may damage the brush.

Who Should Buy It

The Transon Round Watercolor Brushes is an excellent starter set for newbie watercolor artists.

8. Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush

Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush
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 Pros Cons
  • Strong, blended synthetic fibers
  • Excellent spring
  • Durable brushes
  • Various brush types in one pack
  • Easy to clean
  • Bristles shed and fray
  • Some brushes may be wobbly


What Customers Have to Say

Beginner artists love the stiff bristles since they don't have enough skills in using softer brushes. The small brushes are best for detailing, while the fan brush adds dimension and texture to their abstract watercolor paintings.

Winsor & Newton Cotman Short Handle Brush

Why We Think It's Great

The Winsor & Newton Cotman brushes are the perfect addition to your art collection. The high-quality synthetic bristles have an excellent color-carrying capacity. Color-carrying capacity means fewer strokes needed to achieve an even coat on your project's surface, saving time and effort while ensuring no streaks or blotches ruin your finished artwork.

The wood used for the handles is of good quality, painted with chip-free enamel for comfortable handling. The brushes are also easy to clean with water and mild brush soap. The set includes #0, #2, and #6 round brushes, a #1 rigger, and a ½-inch one-stroke brush for adding textures to your traditional or negative watercolor painting.

Who Should Buy It

The Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolor brushes are an excellent choice for artists who are just starting. You can make a good variety of brushes in one affordable set.

9. Benicci Professional Artist Paint Brush Set ​- Best Beginner Set

Benicci Professional Artist Paint Brush Set
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 Pros Cons
  • Works with various mediums
  • Soft and durable nylon bristles
  • Easy to clean
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Bristles shed and fray
  • Loose assembly

What Customers Have to Say

Many artists posted their work, showing their extraordinary work. The brushes are excellent with a good spring and snap, have a good capacity, and are very affordable.

Benicci Professional Artist Paint Brush Set

Why We Think It's Great

This 12-piece paint brush set comes with soft and durable watercolor brushes that will not easily fall out or lose shape. The set includes 4 round brushes (#2, 3, 4), a #8 Filbert brush, a 2-inch fan brush, and 6 flat brushes. The ferrule is nickel bronze-plated and double-crimped so that it won't wobble on its black wooden handle. 

The heel is also firm to limit fraying and shedding. The set is affordable and best for beginners and young artists who want to practice using different brush types without breaking the bank. The company also offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with your purchase.

Who Should Buy It

This watercolor brush set is very affordable but still works well for beginner and intermediate artists. You'll get various types of brushes so you can practice with them before you move on to more expensive ones.

10. Fuumuui Sable Watercolor Brush Set

Fuumuui Sable Watercolor Brush Set
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 Pros Cons
  • Synthetic sable bristles
  • May be used on other mediums
  • Good spring and capacity
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
  • 2-year warranty
  • Sheds easily
  • Bristles get splayed

What Customers Have to Say

Some artists have used these brushes, and they said that the brushes hold their shape well. The zippered canvas is also helpful for the artists on the go.

Fuumuui Sable Watercolor Brush Set

Why We Think It's Great

The round brushes come in sizes #0, 2, 4,6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16, so you have enough small brushes for details and large brushes for filling your watercolor artwork. The fine brushes do not hold their shape for a long time, but the larger brushes do well for their price. It also has a zippered canvas carrying bag for portability and more accessible storage.

The rust-free copper ferrules are durable and have a double crimp. The birchwood handle is smooth to touch with a high-quality enamel that won't chip. The product description says natural sable brushes, but the price and the feel say otherwise. Nonetheless, the quality is good, and the belly has a decent width to hold a good amount of water and paint.

The set has a 2-year warranty, a 90-day money-back guarantee, and 24-hour online customer service, which is unusually good for this cheap art supply. It simply means that the company believes in the quality of their product to offer such premium customer service and warranty.

Who Should Buy It

These are the best watercolor brushes for all artists looking for affordable but quality art tools.

11. Dugato Watercolor Brushes

Dugato Watercolor Brushes
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 Pros Cons
  • Excellent spring and snap
  • Good capacity
  • High-quality enamel on handle
  • Works on various paint types
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Too stiff for some artists
  • Large brushes tend to shed more bristles


What Customers Have to Say

According to many users, this set is excellent for starters and has a good value for your money. The brushes have a remarkable capacity, good spring and snap, and are very comfortable to use. One artist even bought ten more sets of these brushes for fear of going out of stock soon.

Dugato Watercolor Brushes

Why We Think It's Great

The Dugato Watercolor Brushes are excellent with their good pigment and water-holding capacity and a good spring. This set of round brushes comes in the following sizes: #0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 , 18, 20, 22, and 24. The bristles are durable and stay in shape for a fair amount of time. They don't shed a lot, and the nylon makeup helps prevent fraying.

The handle is made from durable birchwood, comfortable to hold and the rustic design of these brushes makes them look unique and stylish. The double-crimped aluminum ferrules keep the brush from wriggling and going wobbly when used.

Aside from watercolors, you can also use them on various paint types, including oil, gouache, and acrylics. You can also use it for painting on canvas, paper, and other surfaces. With the company's 100% money-back guarantee, there's no risk in trying out this fantastic product.

Who Should Buy It

This brush set is best for young and beginner artists who want cheap but quality watercolor brushes.

12. Nicpro Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes

Nicpro Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes
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 Pros Cons
  • Varying round and flat brushes
  • Synthetic squirrel hair
  • Set includes brush holder and dust bag
  • Elegant construction
  • 100% refund or replace policy
  • Chipped/cracked enamel on handle
  • Shallow crimp on the ferrules


What Customers Have to Say

Many first-time watercolor enthusiasts found these brushes to their liking. Even experienced artists couldn't believe they were using synthetic squirrel hair as the brushes are excellent.

Why We Think It's Great

Nicpro 15 PCS Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes Set is a great choice. This set includes a brush holder and dust bag, making it easy to store your brushes when not in use. A plastic wrap covers each brush before packing them in the cylindrical brush holder. You can paint like an expert with these high-quality brushes that come from synthetic squirrel hair. 

They come in varying round and flat shapes, so they're versatile enough for any project. Whether you want to create detailed works of art or just need some new tools for your hobby, this is the perfect kit for anyone who loves painting. With the company's 100% refund or replace policy, nothing stops you from trying this product.

Who Should Buy It

The Nicpro set is one of the best watercolor brushes you can get for a very affordable price. Though the bristles are synthetic squirrel hair, they also have a good spring and hold water and pigment well. They're better than cheap natural hair brushes you can get from your local art shop.

13. Dainayw Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes

Dainayw Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes
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 Pros Cons
  • Natural squirrel hair
  • Excellent capacity
  • Professional-grade mop brushes
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Breakthrough design on ferrules
  • Some bristles may fall off after some time
  • Doesn't hold shape


What Customers Have to Say

Many artists were impressed with these natural hair brushes and recommended them to newbies and professionals alike. They are large, perfect for large areas to cover quickly, and the wide belly holds a good amount of watercolor paint.

Dainayw Professional Watercolor Paint Brushes

Why We Think It's Great

Dainayw Professional Watercolor Brushes are the perfect tools to help you create your next masterpiece. They're made of natural squirrel hair and have an ergonomic handle that makes them comfortable to hold, even for long periods.

The breakthrough design on ferrules ensures they won't come apart while painting, so you can focus on creating beautiful artwork without worrying about your brushes breaking or falling out. Instead of the usual metal ferrule and double crimps, these brushes use transparent plastic, locked onto the head and brush handle with brass metal rings.

With their high-quality materials and excellent capacity, they make it easy to complete any project with ease. These brushes will last a lifetime if properly cared for. Just wash them in cold water and lay them flat to let them dry naturally.

Who Should Buy It

The Dainayw brushes are the best watercolor brushes for artists looking for an excellent mop brush for rendering and washing out large areas of canvas or paper.

14. Artegria Watercolor Brush Set

Artegria Watercolor Brush Set
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 Pros Cons
  • Synthetic squirrel bristles
  • Different types and sizes in one set
  • Does not easily shed and fray
  • Consistent flow, good capacity
  • Set also includes storage tube and velvet travel bag
  • Sheds easily
  • Stiff brushes

What Customers Have to Say

Some users say the brushes don't mar the paper, even though they are synthetic watercolor brushes. Others prefer them because they're "thirsty," meaning they have an excellent capacity, so they don't need to pick up paint often.

Why We Think It's Great

The Artegria Watercolor Brush Set is a great tool to help you create beautiful watercolor abstract paintings. It includes different types and sizes of brushes that are easy to use, perfect for beginners or experienced artists.

The bristles are from synthetic squirrel hair, which means they don't easily shed and fray like other brushes do. They have excellent water and color capacity, except for the two perfect brushes used for detailing.

This set also comes with a storage tube and velvet travel bag, so everything stays organized when not in use. You can even take your paints with you without worrying about them spilling everywhere or ruining them. Also in the set are a mini guide and an ebook tutorial on using the brushes and techniques you should try.

Who Should Buy It

Here is another excellent choice for starter watercolor brushes. The set includes a mop brush, 2 flat brushes, a dagger brush, 6 round brushes, 2 of which are the perfect size as detail brushes.

15. Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750

Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750
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 Pros Cons
  • Synthetic squirrel bristles
  • Excellent capacity
  • FSC wood handles with chip-free lacquer
  • Good spring and flow
  • Elegant design
  • Bristles may fall out after some use
  • Fine-tip brushes don't hold their shape well

What Customers Have to Say

The Princeton Artist Brush Neptune Series 4750 is a premium synthetic squirrel bristle brush with an excellent capacity and elegant design. The brushes also have good spring and consistent flow., according to recent buyers.

Princeton Artist Brush, Neptune Series 4750

Why We Think It's Great

The set includes a 3/4-inch flat brush that you can use with watercolor pencils, #4 and #12 round brushes, and a 1/2-inch oval brush. The handles use durable, and environment-friendly FSC wood handles with chip-free lacquer. 

This brush set is the perfect tool to help you create your next masterpiece. The elegant design doesn't hurt you at all, allowing you to enjoy your work better. Use a good brush soap to clean the brushes and let them air dry to avoid damage to the synthetic bristles.

Who Should Buy It

This set includes different brush shapes so you can practice with your watercolor techniques and perfect them before you move on to professional-grade watercolor brushes.

Types of Watercolor Brushes

Different types of watercolor brushes are available, and each one has its unique purpose.

Round Brushes

For instance, round brushes have a slight belly but have excellent tips. They create fine strokes and are great for details such as leaves or trees in backgrounds. A mop brush, sometimes also called a wash brush, covers big areas quickly, holds more water and pigment, and does not necessarily have a very fine tip.

Flat Brushes

A flat brush is great for smoothing out backgrounds or painting large shapes like the sky. It comes in four shapes - regular, bright, angular, and dagger. A regular flat brush has long bristles with a flat ferrule and heel, thus spreading the bristles on a thin, flat surface. 

Bright brushes have shorter bristles and therefore hold less water and pigment than the regular flat brush. As its name implies, the angular brush has short, angled bristles set on a flat ferrule and heel. On the other hand, the dagger brush has a longer bristle and a softer angle than the angular brush.

Special Brushes

Filbert brushes are intermediate between the round and flat brushes. The ferrule is round, but the heel is flat. It is best for creating fine lines and rounded shapes. Another special brush is the cut tongue with a rounded ferrule, flat heel, and delicate, oval tip.

The liner, rigger, or scripter is best for adding fine lines and details and has a longer bristle than round brushes. Rigger brushes hold more water and pigment, so it has a more even finish than round brushes when making long lines. It is more challenging to maneuver, though.

A fan brush is an essential kind of brush that adds texture and details to your even, fine-tipped brushes. A variation of the fan brush is the rake brush, with its uneven tips best for creating components and textures. You can find it in flat or fan form.

Parts of a Watercolor Brush

Handle

The handle is vital since this is the part you hold. It is best to choose a watercolor brush with a high-quality handle. If it is wooden, look for one with a suitable varnish so it doesn't crack or peel, resulting in ruined watercolor painting if the chipped paint or varnish falls on your painting.

The handle also carries information about your watercolor brush. Along with the brand, you can also find information on brush size and other information the manufacturer may deem necessary. Some handles are tapering, while some have a wider part where the artist rests his fingers on.

Ferrule

The ferrule connects the bristles to the handle. It is usually metal and maybe flattened or round. A crimp locks the ferrule to the handle while the heel helps hold the bristles in place. Make sure that the crimp and the heel hold the handle and the bristles in place.

Head

The head is an essential part of the brush. It has two features - the belly and the tip or toe. 

The belly of the brush is the largest part of the bristles and holds water and pigment. The wider belly holds more water and pigment. The tip should be fine to make fine lines. Stay away from cheap brushes with wide tips.

Best Watercolor Brushes Buying Guide

Bristles

Watercolor brushes may come in natural and synthetic bristles. Under the category of natural bristles, you can also choose which type works best for you. Natural hair bristles are very expensive and are not best for newbies and intermediate artists.

Each natural bristle has its particular nuances, including the cuticle and shingle pattern. These are natural characteristics of natural hairs that even the best technology cannot duplicate.

That said, don't stay in one source, say squirrel, so you can find the best natural bristles that work for you. On the other hand, you should not discredit synthetic brushes since they also have good characteristics.

Look for high-quality synthetic bristles that can hold as much water and pigment as the natural-hair bristles. They have better spring and snap and keep their point if appropriately shaped. However, they don't stay good for a long time, even if you take extra care of them.

Size

Have a good selection of sizes in your collection. However, stay away from small brushes since they don't have a good capacity and work only on a small portion unless you're going for details. 

Unless you're into much detailing, a #4 round brush is good enough for this task. Don't go lower than this size for better coverage and capacity. The best sizes for round brushes range from #8-#12.

Capacity

Capacity refers to the amount of pigment or water that the brush can hold. The shape of the brush determines the capacity of the brush. For example, the bigger mop brush with a bigger belly holds more paint and water than the thin rigger brush.

Spring

Spring on a good watercolor brush refers to the action of the belly of the brush when applied to paper. A good brush with an excellent spring maintains its shape.

Too little spring on your brush means brush splayed out on paper, creating a wider stroke than you intend based on the brush size.

It is harder to manipulate if it has too much spring since it may dump all their load at once instead of spreading evenly across a page as they work.

Snap

Snap refers to the time it takes for the brush to return to its original position after being bent at an angle. Some natural bristles have very little snap, especially the fine ones, like squirrel and goat hairs. Bigger fibers like high hair or synthetic bristles have a strong snap.

You should not confuse snap with spring. For example, squirrel hairs have very little snap but a good spring. It means that though it does not straighten quickly, it holds its shape well. Every artist prefers how snappy their brush is, but between the two, we prefer a brush with an excellent spring than one with a good snap. Having both, of course, is very helpful.

Price

Price is probably the biggest deterrent when it comes to buying watercolor brushes. High-quality natural bristles are more expensive than coarse natural bristles and synthetic bristles.

However, the price of the brushes doesn't mean they will work for you. In choosing a good brush, think of it as an investment, and you should give enough thought to it as you would choose watercolor paint. If you're a beginner, stay away from cheap brushes. Opt for a mid-level brush and build on your stash as you improve your skills.

Watercolor Brush FAQ

How are the different watercolor brushes used?

The watercolor brushes have their specific purpose for the watercolor artist. The primary purpose of a watercolor brush is to transfer watercolor from the pan or tube to the paper to create designs. However, for an artist to create a lovely design, he needs different brushes to add contour, create effects, and add details to his artwork.

While the watercolor painting is flat and non-dimensional, a good watercolor artist knows how to manipulate his brush to add minute details so that the viewer may perceive a flat drawing of a teardrop into something that feels like you can touch it.

Dry brushing, either with a fan brush, a flat brush, or a round brush, gives a different effect on your watercolor painting. Lastly, combining a mop brush for large strokes, a round brush for details, and a liner for finer details result in a lovely watercolor art that you cannot achieve using a single type of watercolor brush.

Can you use any brushes for watercolor?

You can use natural hair and synthetic brushes for watercolor, but we recommend using a separate set of brushes for your watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints. Watercolors are the least harsh of the three but demanding of the type of brushes to use. 

The bristles should be soft enough to manipulate them better while maintaining good shape and preventing shedding. Synthetic brushes are best for acrylics, while natural and synthetic brushes work well for oil paints. These paints require a stiffer type of brush to pick up these paints.

Can you use watercolor brushes on other paints? 

No, especially if you're using expensive synthetic and natural watercolor brushes as acrylic or oil paint components will damage the bristles. Some tutorials would say yes to using your watercolor brushes to gouache or acrylic, but we'd rather stay on the safe side of caution, especially in repeat cases.

The quality of the bristles deteriorates with the more rigorous cleaning needed even for water-based paints, and you don't want that for expensive watercolor brushes. It is best to keep your brushes separate for each medium you use.

Why are Kolinsky brushes so expensive?

Kolinsky brushes are very expensive because of the rarity of the male Siberian weasels specific in some areas of Russia and northern China. Weight by weight, Kolinsky fur is more costly than gold and. Manufacturers only use the tail fur for brush-making.

To make the harvest more sustainable, the hunters sedate the Siberian weasel to harvest their tail hairs. Those targeting fur, though, must kill the animal. Many professional artists prefer them because of their great texture and longevity. A Kolinsky brush can last up to three years, but a single Series 7 brush can fetch over $300.

Makers of Kolinsky brushes assure that the yearly hunting does not hurt the Siberian weasel population. Still, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has put this animal on their monitored list.

An excellent alternative to Kolinsky brushes is squirrel hair, ox hair, goat hair, hog bristle, Escoda Versatil synthetic brushes, camel hair, a combination of squirrel, ox, and goat or goat pony hair. We strongly urge you to stay away from pony watercolor brushes, though, because of their inferior quality.

How do I clean my watercolor brushes?

Cleaning a watercolor brush depends on the bristle. Natural-hair bristle requires mild soap or brush soap to keep the pristine condition of your watercolor brushes. Also, use only cold water to remove all traces of paint from your watercolor brush.

Synthetic brushes are more resilient, so you can use regular soap, though we also recommend using vegetable oil-based soaps, if possible.

To keep your watercolor brushes healthy, always use the suitable watercolor palettes. Look for one that is smooth, but not shiny like a ceramic palette that will keep the watercolors from beading while mixing them. 

Conclusion

With the Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099 Watercolor Brush Set, you can paint like a pro! The set features an elegant black and silver design that is perfect for any artist. With good spring, snap, and excellent capacity, you're done with your painting in no time. No wonder we gave it the best overall vote as the best watercolor brushes. 

The best multi-purpose watercolor brush set is the Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950 Watercolor Brush. The synthetic bristles are of high quality and have a good spring. They also feature animal-friendly construction, so you don't feel guilty about your art tools. 

The best beginner paintbrush set is the Benicci Professional Artist Brush Set. If you're a complete newbie with no idea where to start, check out the complete list of watercolor art supplies. You'll also appreciate the article on the best online painting classes to help you get started.

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