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Baldur8762

Brush Size

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Hello all,

 

After watching many painting tutorials I have noticed that it seems like many more professional artists use somewhat larger sized sable/kolinsky brushes than what I expected.  I am currently using a size 0 and a size 000, but it looks to me like people are using sizes 1 or 2 and they are able to maintain much finer points when painting. I am struggling to maintain a fine point while painting with both brushes and I was wondering if the larger brushes were better for that?  Maybe I am just actually painting wrong?   I am still learning a lot about paint consistency too so can that be a factor? Learning to paint with real hair brushes is much different than learning with synthetic ones. I may be the only one who thinks that, but to me, the brush just behaves differently. Thanks for your input!

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I use a 1 and a 0 almost exclusively. Occasionally I use a 2. I don't have any problem maintaining points on any of my brushes. What kind of brushes are you using? 

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I enjoy 0s typically the most. But the usual mantra is "use the biggest brush you can". It will hold the paint and dry slower. Good brushes will come to a nice point even for a larger one. I just took the plunge for some really nice brushes, and only gotten a few chances to use them. One of my new ones gets the credit for being able to shade the trim on my Rasia (angry lady) figure. 

 

I use a 0, 1, 2/0 for most stuff. I have a crummy 5/0 that I use for other purposes. Also have a really BLAH 0 and 1 that I use for grabbing globs of paint to put on the palette, and do priming fast. I just got a good 2 to try out. I am also a fan of using filberts (flat ones with a point, instead of round). Super enjoying my new filberts. 

 

Other thing is that different brands have different size scales. A 0 one place might be a 00 to another, or 1 elsewhere, etc. 

 

I agree, synthetic brushes feel different than natural. 

Edited by Cyradis
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If you are having trouble keeping a point it might be because you are getting paint up in the ferule (that's the metal part that connects the bristles).  If the paint gets in there it pushes the bristles apart.  You really don't want paint more than half way up the bristles, which can be very tricky with smaller brushes with shorter bristles.  

 

I am still new to painting having only been at it a couple of months but have moved on to almost exclusively #1 & #2 brushes (although I carefully use smaller at times).  I would also suggest that you get yourself a nice brush soap, this can help get paint out of your bristles and prevent the paint from building up in the ferule. 

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If you're having problems keeping a point with your brushes, did they start out that way?  Not all brushes are created equal.  As I understand it, they're handmade and there are variations from brush to brush.  Other than not being made well in the first place, if paint collects inside the metal ferrule, it can force the brush hairs apart.  

 

Your brush should keep a good point when it is wet, but may not do so when it is dry.  The size should not make much difference in how well it keeps a point.  I have very small brushes 3/0 (or 000) and 2/0 (or 00) that have good points as well as larger sizes.

 

Sometimes you can train a brush back into a good point by leaving some conditioner or brush soap on it after cleaning the brush, then cleaning it out the next time you use it.  If there's paint in the ferrule, a liquid cleaner (W&N Brush Cleaner & Restorer, for example) may be necessary to get it out.

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16 minutes ago, Loim said:

I use a 1 and a 0 almost exclusively. Occasionally I use a 2. I don't have any problem maintaining points on any of my brushes. What kind of brushes are you using? 

 

Windsor and Newton Series 7. When they are cleaned and in storage the have a nice point, its only as I paint that it doesn't seem to last.  Based off of what I have seen, I think it's because the paint is drying too fast.

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I almost always use either a #1 #2 or #0 depending on what part of the mini I'm painting. The 0's are my least used brushes but they're nice for really tiny spots. If I had to choose one brush size to paint a full mini it would probably be a #1, but I use my #2's the most, by far. 

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Maybe after you rinse your brush (before loading more paint) drag your brush across a paper towel or rag and kind of spin it to draw the bristles to a point.

 

You can also do the same technique when loading paint.  Drag and spin.

 

 

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Counterpoint to getting paint in the ferrule - 

 

If Baldur is in Florida, the air isn't doing the drying like it is where I am. Baldur, how much paint are you putting on the brush? You might be putting too little paint on the brush, if it is drying fast. Part of the good thing about the larger brush is containing more and having more working time. 

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I am in love with my Rosemary and Co. size 1 and 0.  They are amazing and in my experience, have proved better than the Windsor and Newton ones.  I have a W&N size 2 and it is way too big for most things I want.  If i'm not using my R&Co brushes, I typically just use the green craft brushes ala Wappel style.

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48 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

Counterpoint to getting paint in the ferrule - 

 

If Baldur is in Florida, the air isn't doing the drying like it is where I am. Baldur, how much paint are you putting on the brush? You might be putting too little paint on the brush, if it is drying fast. Part of the good thing about the larger brush is containing more and having more working time. 

 

I am trying to be careful not to get paint in the ferrule, so not very much.  Usually only just a dap on the tip for really fine work, which now I am seeing may be a part of the issue. A larger brush would hold more without risking getting paint in the ferrule.

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3 hours ago, Baldur8762 said:

 

Windsor and Newton Series 7. When they are cleaned and in storage the have a nice point, its only as I paint that it doesn't seem to last.  Based off of what I have seen, I think it's because the paint is drying too fast.

 

Your brushes are too small for your humidity levels.

Environment plays a major factor in how your brushes perform and how the paint behaves.

If the paint is drying on your brush whilst painting, it's too small.

 

I don't use anything smaller than a 1, and a 2 for blending. My humidity levels are around 60 - 80% daily.

It's something to look at and consider - it could be that the air itself is causing the brush to dry out and lose the natural moisture in the hairs. Which then results in a crappy tip that no longer goes to a point. The bigger brushes have an easier time retaining that moisture.

You could also try conditioning your brush after painting, and see if that helps.

 

Honestly though? It sounds like you have really low humidity and your brushes aren't performing well more because of the environment than anything you're doing wrong. EDIT: Seeing you're in Florida, it's more likely the heat - a bigger brush should fix that, except you'll just have to practice more with it. Expect the first few tries to be sloppy.

 

I always suggest going with a bigger brush - the biggest you can handle, and are most comfortable with.

Edited by Ghool
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7 minutes ago, edz16 said:

...

If i'm not using my R&Co brushes, I typically just use the green craft brushes ala Wappel style.

 

Interesting. Which brushes does Wappel use? I've heard people mention that he uses different brushes than most painters, but I can't seem to find out which ones they are.

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i use 5/0 mostly but for larger areas  il go with a 0 round . For dry brushing I ll use a 4 or 8 filbert.

Edited by Tjrez

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A 5/0?

I only used something that small when I started painting. These days those are just filler in my brush roll.

(And my 20/0 and 30/0 Reaper brushes are mostly for show. )

 

With humidity below 40% even a 3/0 can be a pain to use.

But with a proper tip, you can paint details just as easily with a 1 as with a 3/0.

(I use the 3/0 when the 0 or 1 is just too large to fit in the area I try to paint)

 

Filberts are way more useful than most think.

(My next R&Co order will be mostly filberts. )

 

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