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Comparing Mop and Travel Brushes

Isabey Mop brushes Raphael Travel brushes watercolor brushes

There is a wide variety of meticulously crafted brushes in the market today. It is important to know about the uses and characteristics of a brush to further understand its value and how it can be useful to us. Many reviews are available online and you may browse through our selection of brushes too but you might wonder about differences in size. So, let's learn more and discuss about the characteristics and sizes of some of the most popular brushes among professional and starting watercolor artists. 

Let's talk about mop and travel brushes!

Mop Brushes:

Travel Brushes:

Mop Brushes

Raphael Series 805 - Soft Aqua - Pointed Mop Brush

The Raphael Series 805 or the "Soft Aqua" mop brush is a synthetic mop that has been develop to be like no other. Its fibers are unlike the conventional straight synthetic hairs that don't hold paint and water well. Common synthetic hair is straight and lets paint slip easily. On the other hand, the hair of the Soft Aqua mop is are wavy- creating pseudo pockets to hold more water load, surpassing any stiff synthetic mop. This brush has a sleek black wooden handle with four nickel bands keeping everything in place. 

The Soft Aqua mop, in particular, is great as a budget-friendly mop brush for any starting artist. 

Raphael Series 803 - Lavis Pointed Mop Brush

The second mop on our list is the Raphael Series 803 Lavis Pointed Mop brush. It is made of pure Kazan squirrel hair which is widely used for mop brushes for its resiliency and suppleness. Each fiber has natural pockets for maximum water and paint load. Kazan is claimed to be one of the best fibers for watercolor brushes. It is extremely soft and great for creating smooth, even washes. The tuft has a full belly that tapers to a fine point for details and line work.

Mop brushes that use squirrel hair do not "snap"  back into original form unlike synthetic or stiffer brushes. This characteristic gives an entirely different experience. They are perfect for fluid strokes and layering because their softness reduces the risk of over scrubbing the paper surface in painting layers.

Isabey Series 6234 - Pointed Round Wash Brush

The Isabey mop is a popular brush for professional artists. It is known best for its Siberian Blue Squirrel hair. This hair, compared to the Kazan Squirrel hair, is longer. It is also very soft and offers great water retention. It works very well for laying down even washes and blending colors on paper. It is flexible and can be used for thin strokes and detail work too. The hairs are kept together by hand-tied genuine goose inside the transparent ferrule that is kept together by 4 brass wires.

Travel Brushes

Isabey Series 6202 Pure Squirrel Travel Mop Brush

Isabey has taken its Series 6234 and transformed it into a collapsible brush, ensured that its hairs are well protected so you can take it anywhere when you travel. This travel mop is traditionally made with the same Siberian blue squirrel hair, transparent ferrule, and lightly colored wooden body but with a brass gold case that also serves as its handle's extension. 

It is only available in one size, size 0, which is great for small to medium paintings.

Isabey Series 6201 Kolinsky Sable, Extra Fine Watercolor Travel Brush

The Series 6201 travel brush is a round brush made of pure red sable. This type of fiber is springy and snaps back to original form easily. Such a brush offers great control for your strokes and handles paint fluidly. If you are into detail painting and are looking for a versatile travel brush with top-quality fibers, this brush is for you.

Raphael 1793 Kolinsky Red Sable Travel Brush 

 The Raphael 1793 travel brush is exactly like the Series 8404 brush with red sable hair. This round travel brush is able to hold exceptional water and paint load. Compared to other brands, this lightweight brush does not strain the wrist. The long gold cap serves as a removable cover and handle to balance the whole brush. Collapsed, it fits perfectly in any small, standard metal tin paint box. 

 Sizes

 To give you a good idea of how all these brushes find a middle ground, see the picture below. 

From left to right the measurements of the brushes are: 

Size Diameter Hair Length
Raphael Series 803 Mop 
0 7mm 23mm
Isabey Series 6234 Mop  0 6.8mm 24mm
Raphael Series 805 Soft Aqua Mop 0 7mm 19mm
Isabey Series 6202 Travel Mop Brush
0 4.5mm 20mm
Raphael 1793 Travel Brush
unspecified 4mm 20mm
Isabey Series 6201 Travel Brush
6 3.3mm 20mm
The three mop brushes are almost all the same except that the Isabey Series 6234 is slightly thinner in diameter but with a longer hairs. You can also see below that the hairs of the bottom two  create a pointier tip than the synthetic brush (top). The handles are almost identical too. 
For a closer comparison, the Isabey tavel mop brush size 0 is a lot closer to the size 3/0 of the Raphael Series 803 Mop. This is an approximately great size for travel brushes used to create small to medium sized works when you are outside painting on the spot.
 
Comparing all three featured travel brushes, all have the same sophisticated golden casing. The  Isabey Series 6201 Travel Brush (top) is slightly longer when expanded like so and when stored. All three fit in standard metal cases. Each gold cover has a hole at the tip to let air circulate inside. This helps moisture dry up if your brush has been stored right after painting. The brushes are all very lightweight and are indispensable for the traveling artist. 
If you still have unanswered questions about sizes and differences of brushes, message us at  info@artnebulaph.com. Join and meet us at our pop-up shops around Manila to see and test the brushes yourself! Check this page to see our upcoming pop-up shop dates:
Share with us what you find comparing different brands and hues by tagging us on your Facebook or Instagram post with the hashtag #DiscoveringWatercolors


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