Last month I treated myself to a nice boxed set of watercolour brushes from Da Vinci. I’d heard a lot about these brushes with some people saying they use them as a good alternative to pure sable brushes or just as an economical way to make their more expensive brushes last longer.

 

There are four brushes in this set, a #12 round a #10 flat a #6 round (synthetic and mix) and a real #2 Kolinsky sable brush. They come in a stylish box that is lined with foam and contains a small bar of brush soap too.

 

They have hexagonal barrels and they are longer than what I’m used to.

 

I stripped the foam out and lined it with masking tape so now I keep all my Series 7s in the box too.

I decided to just do a quick demo here as I’m lazy. This is 140lb HP aquafine by Daler Rowney with artists grade Olive Green from Winsor and Newton. I do not like this #12 round. It loads nicely but there is little give in the fibres and once it dries a little it’s like painting with a felt tip pen. The #10 flat is a good stiff brush that I hope will soften over time. Again in holds a lot of water and gives an even layer of paint. Once it dries out, it stays firm but flexible. The #6 is by far my favourite from this set, it acts like a tiny mop brush, holding a lot of water and releasing it evenly across the page and also comes to a point nicely for fine detail. That brings me to the #2 Kolinsky. Compared to a Series 7 brush the Da Vinci #2 is actually the same size as a #1. My prefered size of Series 7 is a #3, using smaller brushes for detail stuff if needed.

The set cost me £34 but I probably wouldn’t buy it again. I’d by the #6 brush in the set and some more individual brushes from somewhere like Pro Arte. That being said, I’m an art supply whore and I’ll paint with the nearest brush to my hand so I’ll no doubt end up using these brushes at some point. As I have a large amount of brushes, I can live with a set not living up to expectations as I have others to fall back on but I remember a time when I didn’t have that option and if you’re looking for you’re first expensive brushes I probably wouldn’t start with this set. Of course this is just my opinion and I’m sure there are people out there who love these brushes as much as I don’t.