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Need some new brushes


l33t ninj4
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I'm in need of some new sables and I would like some that last more than 2 months before needing replacing. I have a budget of $20 a week so Windsor Newton are out of the question. I typically use GW sables, but seeing as they don't last worth $hi7 anymore I would like to have some ideas. I've tried synthetics and I hate them with a passion so they're also out of the question. I've tried Reaper Master Series brushed before and they're okay but seem to only last a little longer than GW brushes.

 

So any ideas on this? I want brushes worth buying but don't cost an arm and a leg.

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And W&NS7 really aren't that expensive when you look at brush prices.

 

I'd say get a size 1 and a size 2/0 and you're set for well over a year.

 

Save up a bit to make it worthwhile shipping and pick up a couple of ceramic palettes and you've got the start of some equipment that will last you a very long time.

 

Overall I'd say it's better to spend a little more up front for good tools and then you're going to paint better and not keep spending money on the same things that don't work.

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What painting methods are you using that are wearing down the Reaper brushes? I have some that are years old that still work. If you're doing a lot of drybrushing, stippling, or any other technique that puts wear and tear on brushes quickly synthetics are your best bet for that kind of work.

I don't know.... I use them normally I do everything right to maintain them, but for some reason the brushes I get just wont last more than a few months. I may give the master series brushes another go. We'll see.

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More than one pro painter has told me the W&N Series 7 - when handled properly and cleaned regularly - can be made to last in the hands of a full time painter for four or five years. I do not use mine so heavily (nor am I so diligent at cleaning), but I have had some Reaper Kolinksys for well over three years, and a pair of DaVinci Restauro for about a year. Someday when they wear out, I will move to Series 7s.

 

Similar to Rastl's suggestions, I'd say carry your budget amount over for one week and you'll cover a couple of Series 7s and shipping. You will probably have enough left over for 'pink soap' brush cleaner and some W&N Brush Cleaner & Restorer. If not, pick them up at Hobby Lobby or a local art supply store while you're waiting for your 7s to arrive.

 

Making wise investments in your tools - brushes, paints and minis - does not guarantee success, but it does remove a lot of variables and stumbling blocks.

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This topic covers two of my favorite topics: Personal Finance and Painting!!!

 

First, I'll assume by "your budget" you mean money you set aside for painting. So, if you set $20/week into an envelope, put that money aside for two weeks. That's $40. (yes, it's already been mentioned, but l like hammering on a good point.) That's enough to buy 3 Reaper sables from the online store with shipping included.

 

I've had my Reaper sables, DaVinci Sables, and WN 7 sables for going on 3 years now. The investment in quality brushes has long since paid for itself.

 

However, I do keep the destroyed brushes around for tasks like spreading white glue or drybrushing. No need to toss out a brush just because it doesn't hold a point anymore.

 

Personally, I'd stay away from Ebay when in comes to paint brushes. I've had great luck with an online store (PM me if you would like the name), and the prices were quite competitive. Buy new, buy quality. For the same price as two GW brushes, you can get a WN 7 that will last 10 times as long (that's a savings of 5x the price of the GW brush).

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I agree... Ebay is pretty risky for purchasing brushes. Most people will agree that it's best if you can by your brushes in person, so you can actually see the point they will come to, but if you can't find a store that sells good brushes, I suggest DickBlick.com. I've never had a problem getting a free replacement for anything I got from them that arrived damaged. Their customer service is to general art supplies what Reaper is to minis and paint. DickBlick won't even ask you to pay shipping for replacements or to send back the bad ones, they just say "what do you need replaced?" and out it goes, no questions asked.

 

I wish I could figure out what you might be doing to wear down your brushes so fast! Are you being rough with the tips and smooshing them on the bottom of your rinse water cup or something? Maybe using them to mix your colors or for dry brushing? My sables last for years.... If you are exploring and want to find new brands (for the purpose of comparing them to each other) I suggest buying a few different brands at the same time. You've already heard about WN 7s and DaVinci Maestro's... Another good one (and my own personal favorite) is Raphael Fine Pointed :wub: .

 

And for goodness sake make sure that you clean them well! About once every week or month (depending on how much I've been painting) I use WN Brush Cleaner, a watery clear liquid cleaner available at Michael's and art supply stores. Then I condition them with the same regular hair conditioner that I use in my daily shower, bring the tip to a nice point and let it dry with the conditioner in it. The next day I rinse them out and they are like brand new brushes!

 

Good Luck!

Jen

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It is probably not your brand of brushes (as long as you are working with a decent brand...I would say any from the major mini paint manufacturers or the W/N, Da Vinci, or Raphaels mentioned), but the way you treat them. Your main brushes should only be used for standard painting. As Monkey alludes to, dry brushing, stippling or any other technique that forces the bristles out of a generally straight position should be done with old brushes (never throw any away, unless all bristles are gone) or cheap brushes. This also would mean do not mix paint with your main brushes...some minor swirling with the edge of the bristles to mix in some water is okay. Also care is important. While you don't HAVE to clean them with special cleaners and conditioners (though it doesn't hurt), make sure they are NEVER stored with bristles down (which also means don't let them rest in rinse water with bristles down). Basically you want to keep the bristles in that straight position as much as possible. Also don't dunk your brush in the paint, just the tip....capillary action will bring paint into the bristles. If it doesn't, chances are you're paint is too thick to begin with. Remember, we are not painting walls, we are applying many thin layers (non-fat milk consistency) to give the illusions of depth.

 

As others have mentioned, save up the money for a good brush(es) to use as your mains and just treat them well.

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I kind of agree with everyone else here.

I bought my W&N Brushes on sale, and I think I paid about $30 for 3 brushes with shipping to Canada.

I am hard on my brushes, I do rinse them regularly, and don't use them for (much) mixing or (any) drybrushing, but I have never used a brush cleaner/conditioner and I've even let other people use them on the odd occasion. My W&N brushes are still going strong after over a year - (my previous ones I had for about 3 years (with worse treatment - yes I mixed and drybrushed with them) before retiring them - I still use them with good results, they're just a little ratty looking)

I also have GW brushes that have lasted for at least 6 months (still useable for all but fine detail work, which they were never great at to begin with ... I just don't like the feel of them)

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@Doug's Workshop - I :wub: the envelope system for personal finance. I use it all the time and was thinking of exactly that when I mentioned 'carry over'. You said it better, though.

 

More directly on topic, and since I also work in the Department of Redundancy Department, I would like to take a moment to summarize part of what has been written, here. In my way of thinking, there are four areas where damage can occur to a brush. (Synthetics in particular find several other random ways to split and curl, like...Tuesdays.) The four areas are:

1) On the palette - mixing paint with more than the tip, jamming the brush into the paint or the bottom of the palette well, smooshing it against the side...

2) On the mini - stippling, dry brushing, jamming into recesses, pushing with the bristles instead of drawing it along...

3) In the rinse water - jamming the bristles against the side or bottom, leaving in the water, jamming it against a paper towel or sponge to dry it off before returning to the palette, using fingernails or tools to scrape or dig paint out of the bristles near the ferrule...

4) After painting - leaving paint in the brush, standing it on the bristles in water or cleaner, storing with the bristles pointing up...that last one seems like a good idea at first - letting the bristles dry in the air, right? Unfortunately, this leaves water that doesn't evaporate quickly, instead settling into the ferrule and rotting or splitting the handle, separating the bristles, allowing minute amounts of paint to continue settling in there...

 

Stop and take a hard look at each of these areas and consider if some area of 'handling' is part of the problem. Addressing these in practice will pay off with longer brush life for whatever you choose. Now, in between these areas are several less-obvious variables to consider:

A) Paint - type, quality, thickness, thinning, additives...all the advice in the world about brush handling goes out the window if the paint doesn't flow. Thick paint will force you into using techniques that are rough on your brushes just because you're trying to get the paint off the brush and onto the mini.

B) Brush size - trying to use a 30/0 to paint everything means the paint is drying in the brush before you get it from palette to mini. You might dot eyes or something with it, but that's about all. Larger Series 7s, DaVincis, Raphaels and other fine quality art brushes, the Kolinsky sables, really are much better. They hold a super-fine point, yet have a 'fat body' to hold paint. More paint in the body of the brush means the paint stays wet, at a proper consistency longer and you can paint more without returning to the palette every few seconds. The paint flows better off the tip of the brush. The natural hairs themselves are less prone to splitting and curling during painting, they snap back to their shape better.

C) Rinsing - the point between putting paint on the mini and going back to the palette for more paint. There was another thread around here somewhere about how often one should rinse a brush, and there were some very good points in there. I'll just say here that this is also somewhat variable and personal, but I really think a lot of it is affected by paint quality & thickness, and brush size & quality. It's one of those things that gets lost in the moment of painting. I do it myself all the time, focusing so much on painting that suddenly I haven't rinsed enough, the paint is drying up and I am effectively starting to 'dry brush'. The paint starts to look chalky or blotchy on the mini, a little less than 'smooooth'. Getting in the habit of rinsing before you go to the palette for more paint - every time - is tough to do, but it ensures consistency. Rinsing often means you're not coming back from the palette with wet paint on top of half-dried paint left in the brush. That mix could gum up the works on your next stroke.

 

Whew...I hope that helps.

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