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There are many things that pull individuals towards one type of brush over another.  Some of this has to do with style, preference on hair length but mostly with the way one paints.

 

The benefits of a "nicer" brush are:

1. fuller belly- this means a wider fatter brush.  In watercolor (btw, we use watercolor brushes for our hobby for the most part) the larger and fatter a brush, the more water it holds.  This allows for a broader wash area- meaning you can keep painting without having to re-wet the brush as often and get a smoother wash effect on paper. This translates to miniature painting by allowing you to paint longer without having to re-wet the brush, paint not drying as fast on the brush, and allowing for a smoother blend.  I demoed this at reapercon on watercolor paper to show the difference.

2. fine point- this is a property of both the brush cup (holds the hair) and the hair quality itself. a finer point means ability to paint details like freehand or eyes.  This is not always a function of the size of the brush, but the construction and hair type used. 

3. lifespan- when treated well, a "nicer" brush maintains a tip and loses hair less often, leading to a longer usable lifespan.  Cheaper brushes lose hair, and when lost, the bristles tend to separate and not maintain a good tip.

 

So when I chose a brush, I pick one that will make my style of painting easier, not harder.  I still do my basework with synthetics or old brushes.  I basecoat with an old W&N that has lost it's fine tip or with an older brush to save my tips.  I pick the largest brush I can use for any given project because size equals paint and water capacity and I want to paint efficiently.  I love a size 2 generally because it combines lower cost with good tip and fully belly.  Fine watercolor brushes in larger sizes can be very expensive.

 

Everyone paints differently, and some of the qualities we look for in brushes are going to differ.  If you don't need a fine tip for detail work, don't worry about it!  if you routinely jab your brush into crevices- don't use an expensive one to do it or the tip will be gone!  If all you do is basecoat and wash, you probably don't need a fancy brush. 

 

Brush quality still varies even within the given manufacturer series, and you may still get a dud or 2.  trying different brushes may lead you to find the type you like.  For example, I like the length of the W&N- my davinci's are longer- which for lining is great, but I find my freehand style prefers the W&N except at a size 0 where I like the fuller Davinici... I like both brands for different things and different reasons.  There isn't one way to paint, so not one right brush if that makes sense.

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Are "these good ones"?   No. They're all mediocre brushes at best.   Good brushes are made of Kolinsky Sable, by a very few manufacturers: Winsor & Newton, Raphael, da Vinci, and arguably a co

Nothing to add other than what Cash says, "Life is too short for cheap brushes!"   I also like sizes 1 & 2 for both W&N and Raphael.

There are many things that pull individuals towards one type of brush over another.  Some of this has to do with style, preference on hair length but mostly with the way one paints.   The benefits o

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Regarding brush quality, a good tool will not make you better, a bad tool however can make you worse.

 

I've recently switched to W&N Series 7's and will likely try some Da Vinci when I next buy a brush. I predominatly work in a size 1 and 0 and tend to prefer the 0. Previously I used mostly Citadel, Hobbygames, Humbrol, Otto and Senator as those were what were available at my local hobby store on various occasions.

 

Switching to W&N is one of two things that I wished I had started doing years earlier. The other is using a wet palette.

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So, I think I've gotten that it's a matter of preference as well as what you're doing with the brush; is that right?

 

Forex: If I'm slapping paint on orc #65, my current not so great brushes are probably acceptable, but if I'm wanting to do more fiddly detail work then it might be in my best interests to try and find some better brushes. Yes?

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So, I think I've gotten that it's a matter of preference as well as what you're doing with the brush; is that right?

 

Forex: If I'm slapping paint on orc #65, my current not so great brushes are probably acceptable, but if I'm wanting to do more fiddly detail work then it might be in my best interests to try and find some better brushes. Yes?

 

I'd say so.

 

Basically if you want to "level up" and do some more higher table-top quality and up to display quality, you're best off getting better brushes. If you are doing armies and table-top or below quick speed-paints, your cheapo brushes are fine for that.

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Just keep in mind that learning to use an expensive brush might take a tiny adjustment.  I had to remind myself not to keep poking my brush tip into crevices so that I wouldn't ruin my brushes right away.  That said, it was well worth it to learn how to use a good brush.  I gave my hubby a set of Rosemary & Co. brushes and he frequently raves about how much he likes them.  I think I'd prefer W&N if I had a good one, but the one I got to try was a splitter.  It's still the best base coating brush I've ever used, though.  And my daVinci & Rosemary brushes are both working out well for getting details to turn out better with less effort. 

 

Just remember that a lot of people feel very strongly about which brush is best, so asking for a recommendation will get you a LOT of answers!  ^_^

 

EDIT:  Wow, apparently I sound as sleep-deprived as I feel.  Sorry for the incoherence. 

Edited by LittleBluberry
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So, I think I've gotten that it's a matter of preference as well as what you're doing with the brush; is that right?

 

 

 

... except that as far as preference goes, by 90% of the painting population, a high-end Kolinsky is the preference. 

 

I don't care if you think I am snoobish. I tried and used cheap brushes (there is nothing else in Argentina, locally), and now I would not consider painting without a nice brush. Took me from a mediocre painter to a... well, less mediocre painter. More than a wet palette, the release, flow and finesse of a good brush cannot be matched, period.

 

My current workhorse is a Raphael 8404 #1, whose point is failing now but still, awesome flow, and a #0 so nice I forget to get a smaller brush to do eyes, honestly. W&N brushes... I have a "magical" brush that stays in the case and most of the time I keep painting with the Raph #0.

 

I made several pics for several brush threads over the last year... now, where to find them...

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I think we all feel strongly since you start with the cheap brush, then you get the good one and are all OMGWOWAMZINGHOLYCRAP!!!!

And then you love that brush forever and ever and ever.

 

Or the second one. My first was a DaVinci I was soooo scared to mangle, I barely used. Then I got W&N S7, again, so difficult to get them here I just used other brushes. 

 

Then I got an excellent deal on the Raphs and thought "well, I will always have the W&N and the DaVinci, let's use these ones without mercy". They won my heart, so hard now I need to force myself to try other brands.

 

But honestly, flow release. Streaks. Watery consistency... Synth brushes are not nearly as smooth for this application (YMMV, IMHO and all that of course).

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If you do get a better brush, make sure you take care of it! Surprising how many people don't think about these things and leave brushes sitting point down in a water mug.

 

Also keep the cheapo brushes around for tasks that'll wreck a good brush, but still need a brush. Paints in strong solvents, mica paints, brush-on primers, excessive dry brushing...

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If you do get a better brush, make sure you take care of it! Surprising how many people don't think about these things and leave brushes sitting point down in a water mug.

 

Also keep the cheapo brushes around for tasks that'll wreck a good brush, but still need a brush. Paints in strong solvents, mica paints, brush-on primers, excessive dry brushing...

 

Yes, keep your brush clearer/conditioner on your desk (if you are daft like I am) so you don't forget to take care of them.

I have so many cheap brushes. I like my Majestic Royal and Langnickel set that I got from AC Moore. Les Bursley recommnded it for cheap brushes and they are great for base coating and random things.  

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I remember my first Windsor & Newton... '89 was a good year. or was that '88. Can't remember if it was a Miniature #00 or a #000... Anyhow, I try to use my top shelf brushes for nearly everything except metallics, rough basework and priming.  I would definitely use a lesser quality or older brush for basecoating a miniature if I was more prolific a painter.

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So, I think I've gotten that it's a matter of preference as well as what you're doing with the brush; is that right?

 

Forex: If I'm slapping paint on orc #65, my current not so great brushes are probably acceptable, but if I'm wanting to do more fiddly detail work then it might be in my best interests to try and find some better brushes. Yes?

 

I use (currently) a Raphael 8404 #1 for nearly everything except slapping down liner on Bones figures. I find that it makes every level of painting both easier and faster. Enough so that I don't care that I go through brushes a bit faster. $12-15 every year or so is ... insignificant, really.

 

I do clean my brushes with Master's Brush Cleaner and Restorer after every session, but that takes about 2 minutes, so it's not much of a sacrifice.

Edited by Doug Sundseth
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So, can anyone give me some tips on finding the good brushes here in the States?  I bought a bunch of Rosemary & Co brushes directly from their site, and am very pleased with how they've been working out for me, but where can I find the W&N's, Raphaels, and DaVincis, and how do I know which ones are the better lines? 

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