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Bad brush?


rfusca
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I have been using the Reaper Master Series sable brushes for years. In fact I still have the first #1 I ever bought from them. It gets used for base coating and large areas now as it no longer keeps a point as well as it used to. I own several of their brushes in other sizes. Your mileage may vary though. 

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1 minute ago, TaleSpinner said:

 

Actually, I wanted to comment a little deeper on this.  Yes, people are technically correct that a large brush with a good point is ideal because it can do both the fine details and the large work.  But the caveat to that is that it will only do that fine work well IF you have developed the brush control to fully control exactly how much paint is coming off of the tip or side with any given stroke.  If you have not developed that degree of control yet, it will be frustrating when using properly thinned paint because you will invariably flood an area with paint stored up in the belly of the brush. So it is all good and fine for those of us who have been doing this for years to recommend Size 2 brushes, but I bet you'll find that the vast majority of us didn't start out there.

 

Not wanting set off a Pingo storm, but human saliva in the point left to dry after a session sets the point very well.  Be warned though that even non-toxic paints still have stuff that are not great for you. never lick a brush that hasn't been cleaned.

Well now that's interesting! And very counter to what I'd been reading.  But makes a lot of sense.

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Also, bear in mind that the sizes are not uniform. A W&N Series 7, size 0 is not the same as the 0 in a R&C or Davinci.  It isn't even the same as another series in W&N.  The reason is that the size is only one measurement.  The style of brush, the length of the bristles, the size of the belly, etc. all change how a brush reacts. That said, each individual brush also has its own flaws and strengths that you need to adapt to (or decide that it is not good).  I always prefer to buy my brushes in person, but that has become very difficult in recent years.

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1 minute ago, TaleSpinner said:

Also, bear in mind that the sizes are not uniform. A W&N Series 7, size 0 is not the same as the 0 in a R&C or Davinci.  It isn't even the same as another series in W&N.  The reason is that the size is only one measurement.  The style of brush, the length of the bristles, the size of the belly, etc. all change how a brush reacts. That said, each individual brush also has its own flaws and strengths that you need to adapt to (or decode that it is not good).  I always prefer to buy my brushes in person, but that has become very difficult in recent years.

Hmm there's a dickblick store about 30 minutes from my house. May be worth a drive.

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10 minutes ago, TaleSpinner said:

Also, bear in mind that the sizes are not uniform. A W&N Series 7, size 0 is not the same as the 0 in a R&C or Davinci.  It isn't even the same as another series in W&N.  The reason is that the size is only one measurement.  The style of brush, the length of the bristles, the size of the belly, etc. all change how a brush reacts. That said, each individual brush also has its own flaws and strengths that you need to adapt to (or decide that it is not good).  I always prefer to buy my brushes in person, but that has become very difficult in recent years.

 

I'll note that while there's no substitute for handling to get a feel for brush spring (which varies by brand), the Blick website has hair length and belly diameter for their sable brushes.

 

My current brush is a Raphael Series 8404 #1, which I quite like, but between individual preferences and piece to piece brush variation, that probably doesn't mean much for you.

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16 minutes ago, rfusca said:

Hmm there's a dickblick store about 30 minutes from my house. May be worth a drive.

 

Call first.  The Blick stores up here no longer stock these brushes.  They all have to be ordered online now. <_<  But at least I can take them to the store to return them and Blick is good about understanding when a brush looks ok, but doesn't function.

 

A little more on starting size:

I think the reason that a lot of good painters recommend larger brushes, is that as you improve, you can do more with the bigger brush.  There are advanced techniques that are hard or impossible with the smaller sizes.  I think a lot of us get frustrated by seeing people who have progressed skill-wise still being hampered by their 00 and 000 brushes (or God forbid, 5/0), so the instruction is to get the big brush and learn to use it from the get go.  

 

I think that that is not necessarily the best advice, because I think that it tends to frustrate the beginner even more and they will either not thin their paints enough, or they'll just give up.  DKS once said something that I thought was perfect (paraphrase here), "Use the largest brush you can control."  For him that may be a size 2.  For me, it is a 1 or 0.  For my son who is just starting, it is a 0 or 00.  I like having a 2, 1, 0, and 00 in my tool box.  I use them for different things.  As my control gets better and better, I have found the smaller ones are collecting more dust and the bigger ones get the use.

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I don't like Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes.  The first one that I got was good, but ever since then, the #1's and #2's that I've gotten have all split even with a moderate load.  I take really good care of my brushes, and I've only had this problem with the W&N S7.

 
My favorite are the Da Vinci Maestros (in size #1), but the Raphaels are fine too.
 
Ron
Edited by vutpakdi
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8 minutes ago, TaleSpinner said:

 

Call first.  The Blick stores up here no longer stock these brushes.  They all have to be ordered online now. <_<  But at least I can take them to the store to return them and Blick is good about understanding when a brush looks ok, but doesn't function.

 

A little more on starting size:

I think the reason that a lot of good painters recommend larger brushes, is that as you improve, you can do more with the bigger brush.  There are advanced techniques that are hard or impossible with the smaller sizes.  I think a lot of us get frustrated by seeing people who have progressed skill-wise still being hampered by their 00 and 000 brushes (or God forbid, 5/0), so the instruction is to get the big brush and learn to use it from the get go.  

 

I think that that is not necessarily the best advice, because I think that it tends to frustrate the beginner even more and they will either not thin their paints enough, or they'll just give up.  DKS once said something that I thought was perfect (paraphrase here), "Use the largest brush you can control."  For him that may be a size 2.  For me, it is a 1 or 0.  For my son who is just starting, it is a 0 or 00.  I like having a 2, 1, 0, and 00 in my tool box.  I use them for different things.  As my control gets better and better, I have found the smaller ones are collecting more dust and the bigger ones get the use.

 

I recommend starting with larger brushes, but I live in an arid area. If the air is very dry, there is very little that you can do with a small brush. You have to have a reservoir of fluid to get anything to flow off the tip of the brush, even for the smallest spots. Controlling paint flow is certainly an issue for new painters (at least), but it's a learnable skill where "I need to stop the paint from drying on the brush between palette and figure" really isn't.

 

That said, I use a #1 (#2 in da Vinci Series 10), not a #4 or whatever because there is a point at which bigger becomes counter-productive. There's certainly some argument about where that point might be, and I think that relative humidity plays into that argument. But I think there's also a point below which there are only disadvantages. And again, that might be different in Minnesota and Colorado.

 

Still I think that, to some point, bigger is easier to use for most people once they have basic brush and flow control down.

 

TLDR; yes, but, and also no. ::D:

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56 minutes ago, rfusca said:

Do you like the Rosemary & Co? That was the other brand that I keep hearing about.

 

I like them very much!  There is a different feel to sable brushes, and each brand feels slightly different to use.  So while not everyone has the same favorite brush, Rosemary & Co is my favorite.  Where you live is likely also a factor, we have pretty consistent humidity here in the Seattle area, so I don't have to take that into account unless we're talking about aerosol products.   

 

Good luck in your quest!  

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I have several W&N S7 brushes and they are all quite nice. I had a W&N Artist brush that I thought didn't work very well, but looking back now I didn't take very good care of it.

 

WAMP brushes are good, though as I picked mine up through kickstarter I haven't done a retail price comparison for value.

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I haven't had a Windsor Newton but I do have a few Rosemary & Co brushes, I see others praising them and I hope that I was either just too hard on them or I got a bad batch. Mine didn't seem to hold much of a tip out of the package and ones I haven't even used have stray hairs already. I figured it was just because they were my first set and I didn't know how to handle them and clean them properly, but I do the exact same thing with the Reaper Pro 10-0 and #1 brushes and they're still in really good condition despite using them FAR more than the Rosemary & Co ones I have (well, the reaper No. 1 at least). The orange cleaner from Rosemary & Co is absolutely amazing though. 

The only thing I can say to try is, like I plan on doing myself, is just buying a bunch of different brushes over time and actually using them for myself. So far out of the 4 I've tried, the Reaper ones seem to work for me the best. Good luck!

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one thing i've found is that a lot of the Windsor Newton's that you get at general craft stores are the coachmen watercolor series of brushes and they just don't seem to hold up as well as brushes that are marked as acrylic brushes. I've been experimenting with some sets of cheap Michael's artist-loft  brand acrylic and watercolor brushes and have been seeing the same thing happen with the water color brushes there as well, with them unable to hold a point after a few paint sessions and still have a bend after reconditioning them whereas the acrylic set, which doesn't say, but I'm assuming are Taklon brushes have held up a lot better and have been easier to condition back into shape with Masters soap.

 

Some Other brushes I've tried:

Had some good results with some Princeton arts & brush co. camel hair brushes, though this was with scale model building.

 

The Royal & Langnickel's I've used have been alright but the tip on the small brushes sometimes have one bristles that are too long and need adjusting.

 

With Testors brushes I've found, at least the white bristle ones seem to wear out really fast, masters soap helps a little with that but the ability to hold a tip was gone after about one paint session, I have some brown bristle brushes as well but haven't tried them yet. Their cheapo black nylon brushes suck even for enamel paints but because they come with almost every paint set they make and i have a lot i've taken to using them as mixing brushes

Reaper brushes from the LTP core skills kit have been good although i find i've used the 0 more then the 2 but both have been easy to recondition with Masters

 

For dry brushing I still think the best brush i've used is my cheapo brush from Humbrol/Airfix that is packaged with their 1:72 model starter kits. It has relatively held its shape after about 3 scale models and a dozen minis and i feel it just has a nice spring to its bristles that seems to work well for me when dry brushing 

 

although if we want to talk worst brushes I've ever seen that title is still held by the set of Squadron models brushes i have that looked like they took old hair clipping off a barbers floor and glued them to a stick I mean kids watercolor brushes looked like top tier pro artist brushes compared to these. .

Edited by Ducknuck84
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@Ducknuck84: Most of the complaints I've heard haven't been about just any old Winsor & Newton brush. Miniatures painters who are buying W&N are usually buying their Series 7 brushes, which are premium Kolinsky sable brushes. But there was a period where W&N let their quality standards slip, and the result seems to have been a batch of sub-standard brushes. I haven't been hearing those complaints about recent production, though, so I think they might have fixed their problems.

 

Still, depending on where you buy from, you might still get unlucky.

 

And of course every brand has its outliers.

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