Escoda are a Spanish brush making company from Barcelona. This review features the Escoda Ultimo Mop Synthetic, size 14. The mop brush is an important part of the watercolour painter’s kit, and is indispensable for covering large areas. The larger sizes can be quite pricey, especially the natural hair squirrel mop brushes. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a large squirrel mop there are alternatives. Synthetic brushes often conjure up mental images of inferior performance, and water holding ability. Can a synthetic give a similar result to the natural brush, and is it worth spending your hard earned money on?
Initial impressions of the size 14 Ultimo mop brush are very good. It’s well made, with a nicely shaped wooden handle, and the bristles reside in a short non-glossy cylindrical ferrule. It feels comfortable in the hand, and isn’t too heavy or difficult to manage. The other thing you quickly notice is that the bristles don’t look synthetic at all. If the letters “sintético” didn’t appear on the handle you could easily believe they’re natural. The handle has a glossy finish with a wood like pattern, and silver lettering printed along the handle. As you can see in the photo below it’s quite an impressive piece of craftsmanship.
This brush is priced well under $100, and a size 14 is quite large, so you can cover large areas without needing to reload. Large natural hair mops tend to sell for more than $100, and if you’re just starting out that can be a bit of a hefty price tag. One of the main benefits of using a mop is that they hold a lot of paint.
How does the Escoda Ultimo Mop perform?
The shape of the mop is also very important, and will ultimately determine how well it performs. As you can see in the photos the bristles are round in shape, with a taper towards a central point. This tapering shape is equally important to its water holding ability. When you’re laying down paint over large areas you won’t need to change brushes to fill any small gaps, or switch to line work. With the tapered point you can continue painting uninterrupted, and any tool that improves your overall painting is worth having. It also works well with a dry brush technique on a rough or textured paper. You can make a long wide brush stroke to reveal the texture, and can really bring a professional edge to your work when done correctly.
Are there any drawbacks of the Ultimo Mop?
The answer to this question really depends on the person asking it. If you’re a professional artist who already owns many high quality brushes you might be able to find fault. From the perspective of a beginner or relatively inexperienced painter, there really aren’t any drawbacks. Longevity could possibly be one drawback, as this review isn’t testing it’s ability to perform over a long period of time. The bristles are synthetic, however they should still last a long time. In terms of value for money and performance it ticks all the boxes, and delivers excellent results. If you don’t currently own a large mop and are thinking about purchasing one, this brush is works well for quarter sheet, and possibly half sheet works. For half sheet you might want a larger size, unless you have a detailed painting style.
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