da Vinci COLINEO - Kolinsky Sable Synthetic Fibre


For many years, the brush industry has invested in researching all options to imitate the special properties of Siberian Kolinsky Red Sable hair with synthetic fibres.

A most difficult task due to the particular structure of this precious natural material, which has become very rare and expensive over the last few years. 

With da Vinci COLINEO we have succeeded in creating a mixture of synthetic fibres, very similar to its natural ideal.

  • A carefully balanced blend of different lengths of straight and wavy synthetic fibres
  • Sharp, extra fine point and precise brush strokes 
  • High elasticity and colour absorption
  • Esagonal multicolour wooden handle

We offer the following variants and shapes:

422 COLINEO Fan brush
Size 3

1222 COLINEO Rigger, medium length, sharp needle point
Sizes 5/0, 0, 4, 8, 12

5522 COLINEO Watercolour brush, round
Sizes 5/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24

5527 COLINEO Watercolour brush, slanted edge, sword shape
Sizes 10, 14

5822 COLINEO Watercolour brush, flat
Sizes 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24

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Artist's statement

Writer: Evan Woodruffe

My first impression is that Colineo has very high control - the tension has an excellent balance - plenty of strength but not too elastic so the tip is easily controlled. The tip is very good, forming a similar arrow shape to sable, and the fibres hold plenty of fluid. While it may not have the "luxury" touch of sable, it does have a very durable feel, as well as a very fine response, and I will be able to use it more directly and with harder materials, such as liquid and soft-body acrylic. Just from the quick use today, I think this is da Vinci's best synthetic brush for sensitive application as well as detail work. It feels exceptionally high quality and I look forward to trying it more tomorrow! 

da Vinci have certainly re-written the rules about synthetic brushes. Once they were very limited - now they are expanding the possibilities of painting!

Writer: Barnaba Salvador,    
translated from the Italian

1. How much paint does the brush absorb? (colour absorption, water holding capacity)

The brushes have a perfect water and colour absorption, even if the impression is that this is somewhat less than with natural hair. Unfortunately I do not own a Kolinsky brush in size 20 that I could compare to the Colineo in the same size, but when I compare Colineo with the Kolinsky brushes in sizes 8 and 10 in my possession, I would say that Colineo absorbs proportionally less. On the other hand, Colineo has a very good, even and long-lasting stroke. 

From a size 20 I would perhaps expect to be able to apply a little more water/colour to the paper, because I typically use brushes of this size, whereas with the smaller ones I feel that the colour application is perfectly appropriate to the size.

2. How does the brush release the paint? (paint application) 

The colour is released uniformly, absolutely comparable with natural hair. There is nothing special to mention about the behaviour and colour release during the brush stroke, except that the brush may release a little less pigment than natural hair, due to its ability to release colour over a long period of time. You have to remember to pick up a little more paint (or more often).... Just a matter of habit.  

Perhaps what surprised me the most is that the Colineo in size 20 never releases too much water. Normally, when very small details are painted with a size 20, one tends to lighten or widen the area, as a certain amount of water is released anyway. The problem occurred with Dartana, for example, whereas it doesn't with this brush. 

I preferred to test size 2 with Indian ink and it turned out I was able to draw the same number of lines, keeping a more even stroke than its "natural brother", which still has some unique features. 

3. Please describe your impression while painting with these brushes!

That is the best part. The feeling of smoothness on the paper is a great pleasure - the brush is always ready, it responds well and it feels like having a real Red Sable brush in your hand. 

I repeat myself, but indeed you can use size 4? (there is no size printed on the handle) to draw the same fine lines as with size 20, and that is a great comfort. Apart from the technical aspects: When you use these brushes, you want to paint continuously... that might even be a problem if you think about it ?

4. How would you describe the elasticity of the brush?

While I have been using Petit Gris more often than Red Sable brushes lately, I would say that the elasticity of COLINEO brushes on the paper is similar to Red Sable hair. When you shake it or shape the tip with your fingers, a certain difference becomes apparent, but it is not necessarily negative. In brush strokes, the resistance or elasticity is right for my taste.

5. What do you think of the brush tip/painting edge and how does the brush holds its shape? 

I find that the ability to hold the tip can be ruined by releasing the colour incorrectly. In this case, however, I would say that it couldn't be done better. The tip is always perfect. Personally, I also love brushes that lose their tip and can be modelled to suit one's needs, but this is not a characteristic of Red Sable brushes, and even less so of synthetic brushes. So "chapeau!" 

As for size 2, which I have used with ink to paint comics: the behaviour is very similar to natural hair, but the tip is a bit more "nervous" and some curved strokes are a bit more difficult to execute.

6. Are the brushes good for area work?

I can only repeat it: with larger sizes you would perhaps expect a greater amount of water and colour on the sheet. Of course, that depends on what you want to do with it. Even the largest size is still a precision brush that can be used for large areas but cannot compete with a petit gris of similar size.

7. Is it easy to clean the brush?

I don't think this is very apparent with watercolour. However, I tested the brush with ink, which is more difficult to wash out, and the result was satisfactory, even if, to my astonishment, the Maestro brush came clean more quickly than the Colineo one. Strange.

8. Does the brush maintain its shape after cleaning? 


9. Can you imagine adding this type of brush to your brush palette? If yes/why? 
Yes. They really are very versatile brushes and allow for a wide variety of strokes. The fibres (or fibre mixture) are promising and I think you can do more or less everything with a medium sized brush. 

In my opinion, this makes them perfect for travelling or en plein air, where one tries to limit the amount of material.

10. Other remarks:

In summary, I can say that they are very pleasant to use. 

As to the sizes and the variations of the brushes, I think that they express the maximum of their potential in the medium sizes (the most used in watercolour). The larger sizes are also very interesting, not so much for flat painting, but more for watercolourists (usually professionals), who are looking for precision even on large formats (from half a sheet upwards) and thus have a versatile tool at their disposal without having to change brushes often. I wonder if you want to develop other types of brushes (apart from the classic round brush) with the same fibres, because they seem really interesting.