5 Watercolor Brushes I Love

I tend to paint small, 4"x6" was my largest size for awhile.  For the past few months I've been breaking out of my shell and I'm now at a full 8"x10" painting.  As a result I am painting with bigger brushes along with my ittybittys and I'm obsessed.  

Here are my top 5 and a bonus:

  1. 00 Winsor & Newton Cotman - teeny tiny for little details

  2. 2 Round Princeton - rounds are very versatile and you can use them for just about anything

  3. 2 Da Vinci Maestro - another round that is a great one for washes on smaller paintings or details on larger ones

  4. 2 Grumbacher - Flat edge brush for any sharp edges, a beak on my birds or squares, etc.

  5. 8 Princeton Elite - a larger round brush for bigger washes

  6. Bonus* - 3/4 Grumbacher 680 Mop (can’t link to exact one, this one goes to a nylon bristle version) - versatile because of the rounded shape and the size holds so much water, can get a lot out of it without re-wetting the brush

Little tip, the bigger the brush, the more water and then more time for color play in the washes.

Do you paint big or small?  I posted a YouTube video showing these brushes as well as some of the swatches/marks they make as well.  

Here's a list of my favorite supplies.  Whatever your preference, I encourage you to try something new and see what happens.

If this was helpful and you are interested in learning more about watercolor, take my online instant access watercolor course right here. Can’t wait to paint with you!


I would love it if you joined my list, the Creative Conversation, to hear more about the supplies I use, exclusive studio sneak peeks and more.

P.P.S. If you are a busy illustrator who needs help with success in your practice and goals, this printable worksheet helps you prioritize your day. You can organize your day, list your goals, make notes, track your habits and sketch daily. An awesome recipe for success, baby steps count. Get yours here!

Why Watercolor?

I'm a glutton for punishment and I love a challenge.  Those are two of the reasons why I decided to go ahead and dive into watercolor when I had been using nothing but digital (Illustrator) after I finished college.  I have admired painters for as long as I can remember, all types, and I was intimidated but curious.  I always heard it was one of the hardest mediums and so unpredictable.  Mostly I would see landscape and watercolor married together which isn't really my thing.  But when I started to see more and more illustrators have different styles with watercolor, that intrigued me even more.

One day I was talking with my friend Christie about our art loves and we found that were both curious about watercolor so we took a class together, four years ago.  Our assignment was to paint our birth month flower (I didn't even know this was a thing), and from there the curiosity grew.  What are the best brushes?  Sable or synthetic?  I have a couple Isabey squirrel brushes but the ones I am drawn to over and over are my cheaper Princeton synthetics.  What papers do I choose?  I prefer cold-press Fabriano when I can find it.

Although I love digital still, I was turning into a tinker-er and me and the Undo button were a little too close.  You can correct to a point with watercolor but not as much as digital.  The fiddling was affecting when I would call something done on my computer and when I work traditional, it is much easier to have an end point.  I don't zoom in trying to fix pixels that no one can see with the naked eye.  Watercolor has pretty strict rules and rule number one is not to overwork it.  You have to embrace the unpredictability because that is what makes it special and what people usually love about it.

These are some of my favorite watercolor supplies and resources that have worked for me so far.