Cheap Joes Pointed Round Nylon
Watercolor Brush Review



First, my disclaimer. I've used Cheap Joe's Golden Fleece Watercolor Brushes for years. I usually buy a #38 and a #14 every year. I've recommended them to my students. Their #38 round is an excellent deal for a huge round and has saved many a student from getting overwhelmed in detail. But let's see how this brush really performs against competition! Just because it was the best deal for years doesn't mean it still is!

Cheap Joe's Golden Fleece brushes are made from 100% Toray Nylon. Toray nylon is arguably the best synthetic brush hair out there. It's used by many companies in a variety or colors and hair shapes.

The really great thing about synthetics is each hair can be optimally molded for a brush. Toray is a Japanese company that patented the type of nylon. It's also used for fishing line! But don't try to make a brush from fishing line. The hairs really are tagged (or frayed) to microscopically pick up water droplets. Synthetic brush hairs are some pretty great technology that makes watercolor affordable to everyone, not just people who can afford kolinskys!

The Golden Fleece brush handle is laquered hardwood. The website states the brush hairs are made from varying sizes of nylon for optimal shape. It feels nice, but a little heavy in my hand.


A video lesson comparing 4 different brush hairs in a #14 round brush.

Positives

This is an inexpensive and durable brush. It holds a nice point and a reasonable amount of water for a nylon brush. It creates very smooth washes.

Negatives

The point is not perfect and easily damaged. It doesn't hold a big reservoir of water, so it dries out quickly. You need to work with very soupy paint. Dry brush really doesn't work with nylon.
Sizes Reviewed Materials Handle Materials Durability Value (MSRP not sale) Level Overall Rating
38, 14, 6 Tokay Nylon Lacquered Hardwood A $ 21.15(#14) Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced
B

Point
B

Control
B

Even Brush Stroke
B

Circle
B

Zigzag
C

Overall Feel
B


Conclusion

I've used Cheap Joes Golden Fleece brushes for years. Many of my paintings are painted with them. They're a good brush that you don't have to treat with caution. The point, reservoir and brush control are not as good as an excellent natural hair brush, but the durability and price are very good.

I highly recommend the #38 for artists that are having trouble "loosening up." It's one of the first suggestions I make!

Disclaimer

I bought all of the supplies reviewed on this page with my own money.
These reviews are to simplify the confusing world of non standard artist materials.
They are supported by the ads shown, Amazon affiliate links and selling my paintings.

Testing Criteria

Durability
Can I scrub the brush?
Is the sizing immediately gone?
Will it pull up on multiple washes?
Will masking come off easily?

Saturation
Will it resist or soak up water?
How quickly can I do another wash?

Overall Feel
This is my personal viewpoint on the brush. Do I like to paint on this brush?

How does the brush feel to work on? Does it respond well to the brush or seem to resist it? Can I work quickly and easily or do I have to keep in mind the brush's quirks as I go?

Brush feel is difficult to quantify but very important to the artist. Sometimes I work with difficult brushes just because I love how they respond to the paint and the overall affect.

Individual artists will have as many different opinions as painting styles!

Value
First, is this meant for students or professional artists?
Does the price reflect this?

In these days of super sales and discounts of 50% expected off a artifically high MSRP, it's impossible to give accurate prices. I'm using MSRP for comparative cost. Please realize that 50% off the list price is very common! These are certainly NOT the prices I paid with a coupon!