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Brush question


kellinator
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I've read a lot here about the importance of good brushes, and I'd like to get a couple, but the prices make me nervous. What's the best value of the quality brands like Winsor and Newton, and if I can only get two or three, which sizes should I start with?

 

Thanks!

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Windsor & Newton series 16 are usually around 30% off the price of the series 7, and still run circles around the best brushes from other manufacturers.

 

Series 3A is also pretty good, with the strongest feature being it's ability to hold a very sharp tip.

 

A good selection to start would be a 2/0, a 0, and a 1 size brush.

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If you can get only 3 brushes, I'd say get sizes 2, 1, and 5/0. Use the 2 for basecoating, the 1 for your layering, and the 5/0 for lining & fine details.

 

I would caution you to learn good brush care techniques before spending money on good brushes. An expensive brush cannot survive poor brush care. In fact, they are probably LESS resistance too poor brush care than cheap brushes.

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I would caution you to learn good brush care techniques before spending money on good brushes. An expensive brush cannot survive poor brush care. In fact, they are probably LESS resistance too poor brush care than cheap brushes.

What are the most important points to know about brush care? I know not to soak them, I've got brush cleaner... What are the basics?

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What are the most important points to know about brush care? I know not to soak them, I've got brush cleaner... What are the basics?

Only dip, at most, the first 1/3 of the brush in your paint. Rinse your brush frequently, reforming the tip each time. If you watch many of the masters (Anne, Jen, etc), they rinse their brush every 5-10 seconds, and reform the tip with their mouth (brushlickers). Watching Jen at GenCon, she frequently skips the rinse step, and just reforms the tip with her mouth every couple of brush strokes! When she has either painted or licked off most of the paint, then she rinses and dips the brush back in the paint. ::o:

 

Bottom line, not too much paint. Reform the tip frequently. Be gentle with the bristles. Wash carefully with soap after every painting session.

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Watching Jen at GenCon, she frequently skips the rinse step, and just reforms the tip with her mouth every couple of brush strokes! When she has either painted or licked off most of the paint, then she rinses and dips the brush back in the paint. ::o:

hehe i do that too, but not intentionally.. i just often forget the order of things and lick first.. then dip!

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I have found the Series 7 size #1 to be a very useful brush. I did an entire mini (including dotting the eyes) with only that brush. I bought the 1, 0, 00 & 000 at the same time and still haven't used the 000 yet.

 

The Series 7 are definitely high maintenance brushes (I give mine a Pink Soap treatment after every session), but with a little care, they will outlast dozens of the cheaper brushes (nylon or mixed sable/synthetics only last a week for me).

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At GenCon, Jen stressed that testing a brush for quality is more important than buying a specific brand. You can get a deal buying brushes online, but if they are bad, then what do you do?

 

A good art store will provide water and paper for you to test a brush before you buy it. If at all possible, blow the extra cash to go to a good art store and test your brushes. High-end brushes are all hand-made, so quality can vary greatly.

 

I've got several WN7s, most of which I bought online. For the most part, they are good brushes, but I've got at least one that is a little flakey and splays when it gets used.

 

I've got a Lowe Cornell series GG that I picked myself and it's a wonderful brush. So if you know how to look, you can get a less expensive brush that is still quite good; but if you get them mail order you have no final quality control.

 

Man, cleaning brushes was one thing I got to talk about at GenCon again and again. I personally have three brush cleaners - a solvent, a cake soap and a liquid soap.

 

The solvent is for soaking brushes, always suspended in a bit of foam so they don't touch the bottom or side of the jar. Cake soap is good for quick cleanups and can be carried without spilling. Liquid is also good for quick cleaning at my desk.

 

NEVER soak brushes in water - it will ruin the handles and damage the ferules so the don't fit tightly on the brush handle.

 

When you are done cleaning, coat the brush with a little extra soap, shape it and allow it to dry. This conditions the bristles and "trains" them into the proper place.

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I have some brush info with a few comparison images about brushes here:

 

Brushinfo

 

The link to Handprint will provide more info.

 

Most of the brushes that I have were purchased online. Before buying I always check on the vendors policy for replacement of any defective brush. ASW for example said they would pickup and replace any brush that is defective. None of the 30 Kolinsky brushes I bought online were defective though so I haven't tested anyone's return policy..

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Another benefit of a good brush is the consistancy in which the paint is applied to the miniature from the bristles. It is essential to know how your brush will act when working on the finer details of painting. This is true no matter what your experience level. Just remember not to use inks with your good brushes.

 

The Series seven brushes go on sale regularly. I buy two each of 0,00 at a time when they are on sale. That way the chances of me getting a good quality brush is increased. I don't have a local art store that carries them. At $6-8 each they are little more than two miniatures and will more than pay for themselves in both quality of your work and cost savings of replacing cheaper brushes.

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I finally recieved my W&N Series 7 brushes from Jerrys Artarama in the mail.

 

They have beautiful points on them and were very securely packaged.

 

Mmmm brushy goodness. :wub:

 

I can't wait to use them, but I have to finish setting up my painting area first.

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