In Pursuit Of Imperfection 5 : Artists Sable Watercolour Brushes

Artists Sable Watercolour Brushes

We have just bought a small handful of very expensive sable brushes for the art class. We need to give students at rowden a sense of what good tools can do. then we expect them to buy their own equipment  paper and brushes. The brush shown here was £37 for what is a very small brush . However I believe that having a few good tools is very important. it is almost impossible to do good work without at least decent tools.  There are cheap nylon brushes that look the same and would cost a tenth of the price. Sable is a natural hair and as such it holds water in the brush in a way that nylon will not . A well made sable brush will come to a needle point when filled with water or colour so a good sized brush will still work a fine line.


I have always bought my tools from either Rowneys or Windsor and Newton. They have been artists suppliers for all my life. There was however a notable exception . When I was a student at the Royal Academy Schools in London I wanted a large watercolour brush, this was when i found Mr Fentiman. he was a brush maker he had a shop in an arcade off Charing Cross rd. He taught me about brushes. The best sables are made from the winter tail of the male Kolinsky sable, these are the longest strongest hairs. The construction of the brush is critical and his brushes have been with me for over 45 years as a testament to his skill.  These are some of my small collection


Another brush brought back from China is this beast. i believe that it is horse hair and made for Chinese calligraphy I love it A brush like this will make wonderful bold marks but can also do delicate fine lines


like this





David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

Looking for our woodworking courses? is the new home of Rowden Atelier Fine Woodworking School.

It is where you will now find all the information about our renowned fine woodworking courses, our ethos, and why our students go on to do so many great things. This site remains dedicated to the designs and work, of Rowden’s Founder; David Savage. If you are looking for our woodworking courses, please click here.