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Brushes for beginners


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000 Series 7's are rather too small to be useful, but the 00 is my goldilocks brush. Having it hold plenty of paint has never been an issue. I won't buy any more of the 000, though. I only got the two that I did because the art store is half a million miles away from my house, and I figured better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

 

ETA: Also, if a steady hand is required to use a W&N 0 then it's no good to me anyway. Probably why I find the 00 better. Some of us aren't blessed with obedient digits, and I have to contort myself into all sorts of weird positions to keep a figure steady enough to paint.

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I found one of the greatest sources of hand tremor for me came from gripping my brush and the mini too tightly, and the resulting hand fatigue. If I don't have to hold the mini, I try not to. I attach most of my minis to a bottle cap glued to a 3/4" dowel. Gives me a comfortable grip, and the dowel fits perfectly into the opening of a 20 oz soda bottle (weighted with sand). So leave it in the bottle unless I need to hold it for a funky angle. You can also hold the entire bottle if it's more comfortable for you.

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It's not something normal like hand fatigue, this is a condition I've adapted around. Some days it's better than others, other days it's impossible for me to sign my name.

 

ETA: On re-reading, my above scans half snarky but it's not meant to be. You're only trying to be helpful, and that's cool. I'm just illustrating that I'm working within my personal limitations.

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Recently I finally upgraded to W&N Series 7 and I'm quite happy about it. I always used red sable 5/0 for almost everything, and I was always battling bent and split tips. With my current project I've just been using a couple of W&N 2s though I did have to break out a 1 to squeak between an arm and body because the reservoir was too big on the 2. The tips are pin point and they hold a nice amount of paint without clogging the ferrule.

 

Also, it's important to get some brush cleaner. I always used to just rinse them well and call it a day. For these brushes, I picked up some master's brush soap and to my surprise it found a little bit of orange paint that hid away in one of the 2s! Also, remember these are natural hairs, so care for them as such, the brush soap reconditions them, you could also apply regular hair conditioner, to preserve/restore the natural oils.

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I buy some expensive brushes, and I buy lots of multi-packs of cheap brushes. I basically have a brush bonanza and I'll use a brush for a few minutes, rinse it, then switch to another brush. This spreads the workload out over dozens of brushes and really extends the life out of all of them.

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I do use a bunch of cheap rubbish brushes of many sizes and shapes for basecoating, drybrushing, priming, varnishing, covering larger areas smoothly, and so on. But a good quality brush for detail and precision work (not always the same thing! Sometimes the basecoat really needs to be neat) is not a luxury.

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Another good but cheaper line of brushes is the Blick Studio brushes. I use a 1 and 0 for base coating and I get pretty smooth results every time. My bread and butter brushes are my 1 and 0 Divinci's though. I wouldn't trade those brushes for the world.

 

Bottom line with brushes is you usually get what you pay for. The more expensive brushes will last years if taken care of. Some of the cheaper brushes will only last for one mini no matter what you do to them.

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