I watch a few art channels on YouTube, and several of the watercolour artists use Silver Black Velvet brushes. While I know that practice is at least as important as the tools you use (ie. there’s no magic brush that will make you paint better) I did like the look of the brushes, and at the time the only non-synthetic brushes I owned were a Jackson’s Squirrel Mop and a Creative Mark Rhapsody Kolinsky sable I got free with an order from Jerry’s Artarama years ago, so I decided to get one.
The first Silver Black Velvet brush I got was the size 10 round (top brush in the above photo). I liked it so much I later bought the 3/4 inch wash, and then, when I started doing bigger watercolour pieces than the postcard sized works I usually did, I bought a 1.5 inch wash brush as well.
The bristles are a blend of natural squirrel hair and black synthetic fibre, and the combination produces a perfect balance – at least to my mind – between soft and springy. The softness means it’s easy to get subtle, delicate blending, especially wet in wet, and the springiness helps it snap back and keep their shape, so achieving fine controlled marks presents no real challenge. It’s firm enough that you can use it to scrub at dried watercolour for lifting techniques, but soft enough that it won’t damage the surface of the paper. The bristles hold a lot of water or paint, which allows you to paint for longer without having to dip the brush in the water or palette again.
In addition to being wonderful to paint with, these brushes are just really nicely made, and they look good, too. The wooden handles feel sturdy in the hand and the black finish with silver accents makes them look like the high quality painting tools they are.
Unfortunately, buying these brushes will be difficult if you don’t live in America. So far I’ve been unable to find anywhere that sells them in either the UK or Australia, and postage costs from the few US art supply retailers push them into the ‘too expensive’ category. The only way I was able to buy any was from a single seller on eBay. They were still expensive when purchased that way, but no more so than natural bristle brushes purchased from local retailers.
Silver Black Velvet brushes are difficult (and expensive) to find outside of America, but if you can get your hands on them, they are worth every cent. If you’re a watercolour artist and you have some money to spare, you owe it to yourself to at least try one Silver Black Velvet brush.
Thanks for posting this! I live in South Africa and I have a jam jar full of cheap but frustrating-to-use brushes. I have decided that I want to invest in some decent brushes with nice, pointed tips. I noticed that a South African online shop I usually buy from has started carrying these very brushes you have reviewed. However, there is a catch: they retail at almost R1000 for a set of 3 (#4; #8 and #12) which is, if my conversion is correct and up to date, approximately $300 AUD. Yikes! Beans on toast for the rest of the month…
Ouch 😦 That is expensive. Any chance you can order them from the US and get them posted to you? It’s too expensive to do that in Australia but maybe postage to South Africa might be cheaper. Definitely have a look around 🙂
I’m also in South Africa. Which online shop here stocks silver black velvet?
I got my set from Importitall … expensive but very efficient courier delivery and no extras like customs duty etc. Try Silver Brush Limited SLM 3099 Susan Louise Moyer Basic Watercolor Brush Set, Set of 3 Black Velvet Round Brushes, Sizes 4, 8, and 12
I’m in Germany, and recently bought some from Amazon US and Jacksons Art (based in the UK), so at least here in Europe it’s not too difficult. They are really amazing brushes!
In Belgium, you can find them on http://www.isaro.be and have then sent to other European countries.
I live in Spain and have managed to find a store here that is online and sells them, you might want to check if they have international postage, I am sure it would still be cheaper than ordering from America: https://www.artemiranda.es/pinceles-silver-brush/3046 Thanks a lot for the review, I bought a couple after reading you and several other bloggers and I really love the brushes.