Friday, 20 March 2015

Da Vinci Brushes Review

Da Vinci are a German company providing high quality Kolinsky Sable brushes for artists. They have produced a range aimed at miniature painters.
I took delivery of these brushes a few weeks ago and as I have documented my life has been very busy. However I have been using these since the beginning of February and feel I am now in a position to offer a valid review having given them a thorough testing.

As you can see below, they arrived nicely packaged.

What hit me first is how thin the brush heads were. I am used to W&N Series 7 which have a thick head, but that was not the case here.
To start with, the brushes are made from pure Kolinsky Red Sable hair from selected male winter tails. The wooden handles are nicely shaped, not overly long or too short and sit comfortably in the hand. 
My initial thoughts were, wow, excellent for spot detail like eyes but will the brush have the strength for things like glazing were the side of the brush is used more.

So to the brushes themselves. I think this picture gives you an idea of how thin they are. The point is so tight you could almost stab yourself with it.
From left to right the sizes are
10/0 - brilliant for detail, fine lines and pupils
0 - Workhorse brush, slightly larger areas
0 Short - Stippling
00 - Detail brush
1- Work horse and brilliant all rounder

As you can see there are two I regard as work horse brushes. To be honest there is very little difference between them and if budget was an issue I would opt for Size 1

I took this as a comparison to W&N Series 7 Size 0 which is the one on the right. On the left is the Da Vince Size 1
The difference is clear.

So how did these brushes fair up under usage.
Now bear with me here while I explain some of my techniques. 
I like to apply glazes, something I am using more and more, gone are the days of using washes to fill in colour, I glaze, glaze and glaze. This involves tiny quantities of paint on the brush and slow building up the layers and the contrast.
With that in mind, here is the first advantage I found over the famous W&N Series 7
To glaze you need very little paint on the brush and I tended to struggle with Series 7. I cannot say that I have the same issue here. You cannot have loads of paint on the brushes anyway, they do not have enough sable but I have found my glazing work is progressing since using these brushes.
My second thing is the strength of the brush, does it hold up to using the side of the brush ?
In a nutshell yes it does. They work wonderful, not quiet the strength of Series 7 but certainly more than good enough for the task in hand.
Lets face it, a brush should only kiss the surface of the figure, so you should never use pressure.

Several weeks later and how are they holding up.
Very nicely if I sat so myself. I always was my brush at the end of a session and roll the tip in some brush soap to hold the tip in place.
I can honestly say I have not had an issue.

Time will tell if they have the longevity of Series 7 but these brushes are a serious contender to their crown and deserve a chance. I have given them some use, particularly the work horse brushes and both and standing strong.


  1. Interesting review, i have never tried this brand but will now give them a go, can you recommend an online supplier?
    I used to use Series 7 but had so many "bad" ones i found Rosemary & Co, series 33, which are great brushes and good value for money.

  2. I have bought these through Ebay, I can't recall the supplier and I have checked my history but can't see it. If you do a search there are plenty of UK suppliers.