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Are SILVER BLACK VELVET BRUSHES Still BEST for Mixed Media Painting & Watercolor?
Silver Black Velvet brushes have been a part of my mixed media painting world for YEARS! They are high end, professional watercolor brushes that work like a charm, but unfortunately come with a hefty price tag.
Even though I love them, I'm always on the lookout for alternatives to recommend for my students over at Awesome Art School in case they're on a budget. Join me for a battle of the watercolor brushes today as I compare my Silver Black Velvets against the competition from Polina Bright, Creative Mark and ZenART Supplies.
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Over the years I've developed a few qualities I look for in a watercolor brush.
The first feature I look for in a watercolor brush is shape. When you're talking watercolor brushes, this often means the "round" brush shape (you'll likely recognize it as the brush most watercolor artists using).
This is what my round Silver Black Velvet brush looks like. See how the taper comes to a point?
For years, this taper is one of the things I loved about this brand and didn't think I'd find from another brand. Since the price is not budget friendly for my students, I've occasionally tried other brands looking for alternatives. If you're not super concerned about cost, I recommend the Silver Black Velvet set of 3 brushes for $47 on Amazon.
While looking for an alternative, I kinda fell in love with another pricey brand made by Polina Bright. If you haven't see her work before, you HAVE to check her out. Polina's brushes are a little pricey because they ship from Australia, but SHE SPECIFICALLY CREATED A COUPON for my followers so you can save 10%. Simply enter my name in all caps (KARENCAMPMBELL) at checkout. if you can afford a splurge or drop them on your wish list for the holidays - you might fall in love with them too!
For the students at Awesome Art School looking for value in their watercolorbrush set, I highly recommend the $17, 5-pack watercolor brush set by Creative Mark. They perform beuatifully for the money and are synthetic like Polina's.
Brands shown below from left to right:
Silver Black Velvet, Creative Mark, Polina Bright
The second feature I look for in a watercolor brush is it's ability to hold water. Ideally you want it capable of holding tons of water over to the palatte, and tons of pigment from palette to your paper. All three brands performed well here, but I felt Polina's long/lean brush did best (simply my own personal perference).
The third thing to look for in a watercolor brush is the "spring," or the brush's ability to glide naturally in the water, and across your page. The spring in Silver Black Velvets is pretty amazing becuase the brush tip is made from squirrel hair, so naturally it will do well in water. Typically this is where a synthetic brush will struggle to keep up and feel a bit stiff in comparison. I don't find the synthetic hair to be a problem in Polina's brushes or Creative Mark's.
I was recently sent a watercolor brush set by ZenArt Supplies to review (shown below, 6-pack of brushes for $28 on Amazon). I thought today's video would be the perfect opportunity to give these a try.
Right outta the package, I love the assortment of brushes ZenART sent -especially the fact that they've included "flats" in the set because I LOVE working with flat watercolor brushes (these are the ones that have a straight, flat edge across the bristles).
When I unwrap the brushes, they feel a little synthetic, but it's hard to tell how a brush is going to perform until you get it wet. I feel like the best way to really test out a product that's new to me, is to create a full project with it.
Click over to the video to watch as I do a little whimsical face shading in watercolor to give the ZenArts watercolor brush set a test run.
Stick around till the end of the demo for my final thoughts on the ZenARTs when compared to my other three favorite watercolor brush brands!
Thanks for hanging out with me today!
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Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
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