Thursday 1 July 2021

Rosemary & Co Travel Brushes (full range) updated July 2021

Some of my collection of Rosemary & Co travel brushes in their roll.

I've written about Rosemary&Co brushes before here, but wanted to update the Travel brushes (affiliate link), also called Reversible or Pocket brushes. 

This is the largest range of travel brush sizes and styles currently available and being a direct-to-artist manufacturer, the prices are very reasonable.

I caught up with Rosemary at the Amsterdam Urban Sketchers Symposium in July 2019, where, once again, she was one of the sponsors. I was able to see some of the new brushes they had created, as well as some that had changed a bit. Here is the complete range at that time, including the old and new versions of a couple of them. The full range was mostly natural hair, with some a mix and one a full synthetic. As I love natural hair brushes I hadn't actually tried the synthetic, but I recently bought it so I had it for my students to try!

As you can see, most of these are well loved. I've been using them a long time! The sables are Kolinsky sable, the mixes are a mix of sable and synthetic and there are a few squirrel brushes as well.

Rosemary&Co Travel (or Pocket or Reversible) brushes - R0, R1, R2, R3, R3 (new larger case version), R4, R5, R6, R7, R8 (new larger case version), R8, R9 (ferrule version), R9, R10, R11, R12, R13, R14, R15, R16 (new).

Here is a closer view for a comparison of the brush head shapes and sizes.
Close up of Rosemary&Co Travel brushes - R0, R1, R2, R3, R3 (new larger case version), R4, R5, R6, R7,
R8 (new larger case version), R8, R9 (ferrule version), R9, R10, R11, R12, R13, R14, R15, R16 (new).

And now a bit more detail. The links below are affiliate links.

This first photo shows the Kolinsky Sable Pointed Rounds. From top to bottom you can see - 
R0 - pointed sable round size 4 - this is a lovely delicate brush, great for fine detail.
R1 - pointed sable round size 6 - suitable for smaller sketches or details.
R2 - pointed sable round size 8 - a great size for up to A4 sketches.
R3- the original pointed sable round, size 10. This brush was too large for its case.
R3  - the new larger case version of the R3 pointed round sable. The larger case is a great improvement :-) This brush will easily be used for A4 and above sizes.
These equate approximately to a size 4, 6, 8 and 10. They are great sable brushes with a good point. If you just want one travel brush, I'd recommend considering the R2 (size 8) for smaller sketchbooks or the new R3 (size 10) if you work larger. Add the R1 if you want a smaller brush for detail.

From the top you can see -
R4 - ¼" sable flat is shown. This brush is now made with the 'red dot' synthetic sable hair developed in 2020. 
R5 - sable rigger size 6
R6 - sable filbert size 6
R7 - ¼" sable comber - an interesting brush for special effects in sketches.
R8 - the old version of the sable quill size 2/0 
R8 - the new larger case version of the sable mop size 2/0. This is one of my favourite brushes.
R9 - original quill version of the medium squirrel mop, also seen as a ferrule brush (next photo). 

From the top you can see -
R9 - ferrule version of the R9. The R9 is another excellent choice if you just want to get one brush, and the ferrule version may feel more familiar in your hands. Squirrel brushes are very soft and great for larger washes.
R9 - Previous quill version of the R9. 
R10 - Golden synthetic pointed round in size 8. 
R11 - Red Sable blend designer in size 10. 

From the top - 
R12 - ¼" red sable dagger. This is the brush I requested be added to the range many years ago.
R13 - Red sable blend size 8 round
R14 - Small squirrel mop now made with a ferrule
R15 - Squirrel hair oval point size ¼"
R16 - ⅜" red sable dagger in the new larger case, introduced in 2019. I really like this brush, even though I do most of my paintings using rounds. Some of my students use only the dagger brushes - they also work as a single brush to use for everything.

I've used Rosemary & Co travel brushes a lot over the years. It's quite a remarkable range and as a company they are prepared to listen to feedback and improve the brushes or add to the range, which is terrific.

They are exploring different ways to add labels, different handle types, different hair shapes. Getting the larger cases took some research and effort but was requested by the artists who are using the brushes. I'm particularly enjoying the larger dagger and the new larger case R8. My previous old version was almost worn out!

Update - June 2021 - the range has expanded further.

The new 2020 catalogue includes all the brushes, as seen here, and a new website is about to be launched. I'll add the links to each brush once they are available.

It is well worth getting the 100 page Rosemary & Co brush catalogue as the brushes are shown actual size - something that is difficult to do in digital media.

For a little while, there were three round sable mix brushes designed for students but these have been replaced. These are the newest brushes in the range.

R17 - Pointed Cat's Tongue size 4. This is a golden synthetic hair.
R18 - Triangular point golden sable size 8. This is a three-dimensional dagger brush!
R19 - (not shown) Red Dot pointed Round, size 12, added since the catalogue was produced.
R20 - Red Dot short flat size 6. This replaces the original Kolinsky sable version of this brush, but they look the same.
R21 - Pocket Pure Kolinsky Mop 3/0 size I am really enjoying this as I love the 2/0 sable mop - this is a smaller option.
R22 - (there is no R22)
P23 - Pocket Snowdrop Pointed Rond size 8 (synthetic)
R24 - Pocket Eradicator small (a synthetic brush for erasing and lifting - a watercolour essential!)

There were also a couple of limited edition brushes available for a little while, and more may come up from time to time. One was a ¼" kolinsky sable short flat that is just perfect for my colour charts and another was a limited edition Kolinsky sable mop. 

Happy painting.


  1. I'm so happy they are now using the larger cases allowing for larger brushes. I see I am going to have to go back and order some newer versions with the large cases.

    And look at me! I can post again. It was a Safari thing. Apparently Google account no longer works with Safari but I can post just fine using Firefox.

    1. Yes we've been asking for larger cases for a long time - took some finding I guess but much better than trying to squeeze the brush into a tight spot. Gives the hair a chance to dry and breathe a bit.

      Google+ and the changes have been a real pain. I have lost my Google+ followers but they may not know it - maybe they think I am not posting. I lost all their comments and discussions too. Frustrating. Good that you found a way back though :-)

    2. I went to Rosemary's site and I found all but the R16 brush. It's not listed. Did you get an advanced model, not ready for sale, already discontinued? I was really interested in the R16. I've sent them an inquiry but haven't heard anything yet.

    3. I hope I haven't put the cat among the pigeons showing that brush but I ordered it directly from Rosemary & co. along with a bunch of other brushes. (I stock some for my students so place orders all the time.) It can take a little while for the new ones to show up on the website. They are listed on the Australian site, who sell the full range of pocket brushes, for pre-order, so maybe they are just making more! Here is the link.

    4. Ah, that explains it. It says "pre-order" and delivery is revised to September. I did send Rosemary an inquiry so I suspect I'll eventually get a reply when the brush is up and available from the website.

  2. I'm so happy they are now using the larger cases allowing for larger brushes. I see I am going to have to go back and order some newer versions with the large cases.

  3. Google+ and the changes have been a real pain. I have lost my Google+ followers but they may not know it - maybe they think I am not posting. I lost all their comments and discussions too. Frustrating. Good that you found a way back though :-)

  4. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. amo travel

  5. Hi Jane! I would love to know how is Rosemary's spring back level versus the brands? I might need to get these as I can't find good synthetic traveling brushes. I have recently purchased a Isabey's travel brush, and would love to know what I might have missed. :) I discovered strong spring is what seems to be important for me.

    Also I had taken your advice last time on trying out their synthetic brushes and they work great! I have also gotten Escoda synthetic and Da Vinci Casaneo. I started with Casaneo, they are really great, except the tip curled within a month, perhaps due to my daily usage. I also want to add that Proarte is also a great brand to try, and all of these brands can be found easily in Europe, but Jackson's art carries them all, and has free shipping worldwide over 20 pounds.

    Thank you again for your help, and the endless knowledge you have shared on your blog, it has been really really instrumental to a semi-beginner like me!

    1. High quality sable brushes will have the spring you are talking about. The Rosemary & Co R0, R1, R2 and R3 are all lovely sable pointed rounds with excellent spring. Look after them and they will last a long time. That includes drying them as much as you can before putting them away in their cap and not 'drilling' into your paint with the point of the brush. Wipe it over the surface of the watercolour pan for best results. (I show that in my YouTube videos)

      I know Isabey make a lovely travel squirrel quill - not sure if that is what you bought - which will be softer than sable but excellent for 'drawing with paint'. Caseneo is a synthetic squirrel so softer than a real sable would be.

  6. I love travelling, good to know this useful information. It may help me.

  7. As for the travel brushes, if one can only afford 2-3, which ones would you recommend? Thank you for being a font of watercolor wisdom!

  8. There isn't really a one answer fits all, but consider the R9 as a soft general purpose pointed round, the R2 as a sable general purpose pointed round.
    For the third there are a few options depending what you paint - the R2 for finer detail if you like that; the R12 dagger - one brush that does a lot once you get to know it; or the R24 eradicator, which is a fantastic detailed lifting brush.

  9. Trying to leave a comment. Now it seems it's a Chrome thing too. Trying to see if I can post using Firefox.

    Managed to get the R16 and a few others. I now have the range except for the R0, R1, R2, R3 and R5 because the U.S. doesn't allow the importation of Kolinsky Sable any more without a very strict and extensive provenance and tons of paperwork. I guess Escoda are the only ones willing to jump through the hoops or there is just a very large stockpile of them already in the U.S.

    Have you looked at the Tintoretto brushes at all? They have both synthetic and natural hair series. I am starting to look at those brushes through the A. Gallo website and purchase a few in types that Rosemary doesn't carry or a size she doesn't carry. I am especially intrigued by the 1338 series.

    I also have a few Leonard but their range is extremely limited.