Sign up for my email list!

Isabey Pointed Round Sable
Watercolor Brush Review



The Isabey Red Sable Round watercolor brush is the best brush I've ever used.

The hairs are lovely with a fabulous point. It holds water perfectly and dispenses smoothly. What really sets this brush apart form all the others is the perfect balance. It's a joy to use!

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

The Isabey company has been making brushes since 1895. All Isabey brushes are handmade by skilled artisans. Each artisan must spend 7 years training before they can make an Isabey brush. It's a full 10 years before the artisan can make a red sable brush. The entire process, from sorting to handle making to hair insertion and trimming, is done in the Isabey factory. There are not many brush manufacturers who still do this. As I was saying, all in quality control!

Positives

Balance
Point
Reservoir
Perfectly crafted brush

Negatives

The price. Ouch!
Sizes Reviewed Materials Handle Materials Durability Value (MSRP not sale) Level Overall Rating
8, 14 Red Sable Lacquered Hardwood A $ 88.30

Advanced
A+

Point
A

Control
A+

Even Brush Stroke
A

Circle
A

Zigzag
A

Overall Feel
A+


Conclusion

If you've been painting for long enough to know a pointed round is your ideal brush, this is the one for you! It's definitely the one for me!

I have never used their Kolinsky sable, but I just don't see how it could be twice the price better. I could be wrong of course!

This is a wonderful brush. It will not magically improve your paintings, but it will be a joy to paint with!

If you said I had to limit my brushes to one, this would be it.

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!

Sign up for my email list!