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Brush care experiment


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On 11/21/2017 at 11:51 AM, Pillpeddler said:

My good brush tips were degrading when I used my good brushes to poke into nooks and crannies doing base coatings and blending shadings.  That ended when I began to use cheap brushes for nooks and crannies and saved the good brushes for more easily reached and more visible areas.  

I have a strong suspicion that the brushes we have that were designed for primarily flat unabrasive paper and canvas do not fair so well when used on plastic and metal minis with sharp edges along with said nooks and crannies.

.02 from a crotchety old pillpeddler ; )... some of you artsy folks may have a more learned answer

You are not wrong. :-> Working on 3D textured surfaces is very tough on a brush. I replace my best quality every day brush every 9-18 months, and it's similar for most of the 'pro' painter types I know. If you don't paint for hours daily and you're good about doing what you do and saving your fine quality brush for detail work, a good brush can last you years, so it's more than worth the investment. Note that by wearing out I just mean it loses the super fine tip, so it loses one to two millimeters. That brush then becomes the one I do some rougher work with, and I get another year or two more use out of it at least. But that one to two mm is what I'm paying for and need for doing the detail work. At this point when I feel painting start to get frustrating over a few sessions I break out a backup brush and compare tips to see if it's time to replace.

I started learning to watercolour paint a couple of years ago, and there people talk of sable brushes lasting for decades. And they'd better! Cause if you think a size 0 or 1 is spendy, you've never looked at the cost for a size 8 or 10! (Though I have also seen references by watercolour painters of needing to replace synthetics regularly, and some of the papers are pretty textured.)  Also I happily use synthetic brushes for watercolour painting for all but the most fiddly of detail. The range and quality of synthetics is really pretty impressive, and for watercolour, the good paper is the number one recommendation for where to spend money over paint or brushes. But when it comes to miniature painting, I still recommend getting at least one high quality Kolinsky sable hair brush. At the brush sizes we use, there isn't yet a synthetic that can keep that pinpoint fine tip for doing detail on tiny figures.

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I've been storing my brushes like this in a cup of clean water for about a year now. Most of the brushes in the pic are probably 5-6 months old. I haven't noticed the water degrading them,

except one, the aluminum ferule on the oldest is corroding a bit, but it's over a year old.


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6 hours ago, Doug's Workshop said:

I don't think I've ever cringed looking at a picture here on the Reaper Forums.


Until today.




Not to worry. It's a retired Series 7 #1. I've worn out the tip so it's shorter than a new one but still forms a fine point. 

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After about 8 months



Final picture entry I guess. Handle finally cracked from being wet so long plus the ferrule is now loose on the handle. BUT, the hairs are still secure on the ferrule.

Edited by junex
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I agree with the others. The "magic" of YouTube is anyone can make a video, regardless of their knowledge on the subject.


I've used brushes from well over a dozen manufacturers, and the ferrule goes into paint and water without any issues over several decades. I don't think I've ever used hot water, though.


I store my brushes tip up, unless I get lazy and leave them on my table, laying flat. I have 5 like this at the moment.


The biggest issues I've ever had with brushes is drybrushing and superglue accidents, plus hooking the tips when I only ever used cheap brushes. It's not like all of mine are superb - while I love my W&N S7 miniatures, I also get a lot of use out of $1.50 brushes from a craft store..


The only thing I wouldn't do is leave them stored tip down, especially sitting in water. That's just abusive.

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