Da Vinci Colineo Brushes Reviewed After 6 Months of Painting

Da Vinci Colineo Brushes Reviewed After 6 Months of Painting

Last year we published a review of the new Da Vinci Colineo Watercolour Brushes and we were asked to provide a follow up review, to give feedback on their condition after a few months use in the studio. Lisa Takahashi and Julie Caves tested the Da Vinci Colineo brushes for use with watercolour, oil and acrylic and here are their thoughts now.


Left: Lisa Takahashi’s Da Vinci Colineo Brushes
Right: Julie Caves’ Da Vinci Colineo Brushes


Lisa Takahashi

I’ve owned a Da Vinci Colineo Round Size 8, Flat Size 12 and Flat Size 4 since last August, and have used them on a near-weekly basis for watercolour painting. For much of this time I was running a weekly watercolour class and doing the occasional demo, and found myself reaching for these brushes with increasing frequency, especially the flats.


Top: Da Vinci Colineo Flat Size 12
Bottom: Da Vinci Colineo Round Size 8


I am prone to working with brushes long after they have lost their crisp shape, so these brushes have held huge appeal, because of their really sharp edges which help to create a painted surface full of energy and dynamism. I love layering square ended brush marks and seeing all the crisp shapes conversing and intermingling with one another.

As with all my watercolour brushes, I tend to rinse them in a jar of water throughout a painting session (never leaving the brush in the jar), then at the end of each week I’ll take them to a tap and give them a good wash with a brush soap. Looking at them a little closer now I see some of the outer hairs are starting to splay out a bit on the larger flat, but I have used it heavily (not just for light strokes but also for more vigorous ‘scrubby’ marks across a sheet of rough watercolour paper) so I would have expected them to have looked more worn to be honest. The round is still in immaculate condition, with regular but not heavy use after 6 or so months.



The Flat Size 4 is in the worst condition, and this is because I used it for an oil painting commission, and I needed to complete the painting to meet a deadline but didn’t quite have the right size oil painting brush! I was rinsing the brush in Gamsol in a metal brush washer, and the brush head may have made some contact with the base of the metal pot when rinsing. Consequently the shape of the brush was lost in an hour or so of using it with oils.

So I’ve learnt my lesson; these brushes are best kept for watercolour only and need to be treated with gentle care. I am a convert though and when I had the oil painting incident I did feel compelled to buy another brush in exactly the same make and size. I love them not only because of the crisp marks they are capable of but also because the handle is very comfortable in the hand and looks beautiful. It is undoubtedly a quality made brush.


Read more by Lisa Takahashi on Jackson’s Blog



Julie Caves

Last year I spent about 60 hours painting a 120 x 150 cm acrylic painting on stretched canvas, over a 3 week period. I used a brush for the painting that I had never used before.

If I’m painting in acrylics thickly like oil, I often use oil brushes like Jackson’s Akoya. Sometimes I use a brush for acrylic paint like Jackson’s Shinku, Jackson’s Onyx, or Pro Arte Acrylix. If I’m painting in a more fluid way, using water and matt medium to make the paint fluid, so a bit more like watercolour, then I usually use watercolour brushes. My two favourite brushes for this are Jackson’s Icon and Pro Arte Prolene Plus. For this large painting I tried a new brush, the Da Vinci Colineo. I used a Round Size 8 and a Flat Size 12.


Top: Da Vinci Colineo Flat Size 12
Bottom: Da Vinci Colineo Round Size 8


All of the brushes I have mentioned here are made with all synthetic bristles except the Icon which is a blend of special synthetic fibres with sable. The Colineo brush is designed as a synthetic replacement for a sable brush. I think it’s a bit too springy to feel completely like a sable, but it is soft and an excellent watercolour brush. A quick note about the size: the Flat Size 12 is 12 mm wide, which is a Size 6 in some flat brushes and a ½ inch in some flat brushes. I think of a 12 as large and this isn’t, so be aware.



The Colineo brushes were a pleasure to paint with, holding lots of creamy, fluid acrylic paint, allowing me to paint long lines. The flat held its shape well and allowed me to paint along edges cleanly.

After 60 hours of painting on a fine/medium textured, acrylic gesso primed canvas, being left in water during each painting session, and being thoroughly washed at the end of each session, the brushes looked fluffy and less shapely then they did when they were new. But that was how they looked when they were dry, I was pleased to see that they reshaped well when wet and I can still get a good crisp line and a smooth finish. They have held up well and much better than some other brushes have done in similar circumstances. The flat has not curled outward at the tips or splayed into a wider shape. The varnish on the handles didn’t split after being left in water.

Though not intended specifically for acrylic painting, the DaVinci Colineo brushes worked well with fluid acrylic paint and have kept their shape and spring after many hours of painting and many washings. They are good quality brushes.


Read more by Julie Caves on Jackson’s Blog



Further Reading

Introducing Da Vinci Colineo: Vegan Brushes for Watercolour

How Da Vinci Watercolour Brushes Are Made

Why is a Da Vinci Brush a Great Watercolour Travel Brush?

Testing Jackson’s Kite Brushes: How Synthetic Kolinsky Fibre Compares With Natural Sable Hair


Shop Da Vinci Colineo Brushes on jacksonsart.com


Clare McNamara

As Blog Editor, Clare oversees content for the blog, manages the publishing schedule and contributes regularly with features, reviews and interviews. With a background in fine arts, her practices are illustration, graphic design, video and music.