A friend of mine, a watercolorist, and I were discussing sable brushes and within minutes, it was evident that we each had different comfort zones for our painting tools and implements. I have used both Kolinsky sable brushes (Winsor & Newton - Made in England) and synthetic sable brushes (Princeton - Made in Japan). Since both Winsor & Newton and Princeton make high-quality brushes, I was hard-pressed to find a difference in results. Both were easy to handle and work with and yet, I should confess, that I felt less afraid to abuse the synthetic brush because I had paid half the price for it. And that's what really counts when you are learning -- an explorative mentality and a freedom to make mistakes without worrying about it too much.
Which reminds me, I should really put in a plug for these brush pens that I recently bought at a neighbourhood OfficeMax. They are made by Faber Castell and are sold as Manga sets, but you can use them as all-purpose ink and paint brush pens. The line is bold and the workability of the pen/brush tip is excellent. You might have to get used to the feel of the pen/brush but it is nowhere as difficult as getting used to the stylus on a Wacom tablet.
So pen/brush away...here's a pic. of the set.