If you are like Parka and me, you probably also like to draw and paint while on the move or go out to the streets for sketch walks/crawls. And it is a high chance that you also own a waterbrush. It is convenient, It has a cap that keeps the bristles safe from bending. And the water supply just comes from a simple squeeze. So why would an artist consider these travel brushes? It seems like a step back.
Well, here are my reasons:
1.They look great! And they feel great. Having a brush that looks and feels good makes a big difference in your drawing because your mood and emotions are tied up with how your express yourself, in my opinion! Sure, a water brush gets the job done. But it doesn't make you relish every paint stroke.
2. The brush hairs on these brushes are made of Kolinsky sable hairs which absorb paint way way better than a waterbrush. They also hold a nice sharp point with a nice spring when wet so you can get those very fine lines. Kolinsky hairs are highly regarded as one of the best hairs you can use for watercolour. WIth these hairs, it's very likely that your lines will look more lively and your colours stronger. Synthetic hairs just can't measure up to these brush hairs. No way!
3. They will last longer than synthetic hairs. Synthetic hairs malfunction after some time. But Kolinsky hairs are known to last a long time (if you wash and keep your brushes safely after use.)
In its storage form, the brushes are small golden metel capsules. They feel solid and well-made. In this form, the precious bristles are kept safe while bouncing around in your bag or pencil box.
When it's ready for use, just pull out the brush end, flip it over, and join the two halves. They fit nicely and firmly together.
For variation, I got the #2, #4 and #8. As you can see, when fitted together, the brushes becomes full-length brushes. (As long as a standard non-travel brush.)
The brand name is smartly printed on the side on what looks to be a wood grain pattern. But the surface is glossed so I can't tell if it's real wood inside or just a print. But never mind that, it still looks and feels great. If the name Escoda is new to you, you can find out more here: https://www.escoda.com/?lang=en Escoda is a reputable maker of brushes in Barcelona. They pride themselves in making high quality brushes.
Now, if you are going to be keeping these brushes in capsule form after using them outdoors, they will still be slightly damp. But these holes on top will dry them while you travel home. It is recommended that you dry the brushes with a tissue or cloth to some degree before you store them. The holes will dry the brushes but it would take much longer if your brushes are dripping wet.
This is what I carry with me when step out of the house with these brushes. I bring along a medicine pill box with watercolour squeezed in from tubes. (it's lighter than carrying a metal watercolour case). I also bring along a small bottle of water (with a waterproof lid) for dipping and washing my brush while I paint. Yep, these brushes are not as convenient as a waterbrush. But after trying it out, having a tiny bottle of water to dip in really isn't that much of a hassle. And after the water gets dirty, I just wash it at a nearby restroom. I find that dipping a brush allows me to control my colours better than a waterbrush. I guess it's like using a stick-shift vehicle compared to an automatic-geared vehicle. Having that added control makes you feel a bit more connected to the whole process of drawing.
As you can see, everything is small enough to fit into my pencil case. And everything is lightweight.
These are what I've drawn with the brushes.
When I was drawing this at the hawker centre, a little girl was peering at me. Ok maybe the reflective gold attracts too much attention. But I can easily overlook it.
People on the train.
People at the library cafe.
All in all, I highly recommend these brushes. They beg me to take them with me whenever I'm about to step out of the house. And i also use them at home. I might still use a waterbrush from time to time for the sake of convenience and if I just want to capture something quick and dirty. But if I'm going to spend a relaxing time drawing at cafe or sketching on the streets with friends, and I want to produce a more delicate standard of drawing, I'd choose these brushes over a waterbrush.
Find more reviews at Dick Blick Art Materials (US) | Jackson's Art Supplies (UK)