Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Brushes...a Changing of the Guard

Howdy all,

I thought I would take a break from beating you over the head with my painting and have a little change of topic.  Let's talk brushes!  Other than the topics of figure manufacturers and paint brands nothing elicits as much discussion amongst figure painters as brushes.

I have a confession to make...until recently I was of the mind that cheap disposable brushes were the way to go.  I used to go to the local craft super store and buy a dozen brushes at a time....for a dozen dollars...use them for a little while then throw them away and get some more.  After awhile this started to get old and my mind turned to getting some decent brushes...after reading a ton of information on various fora about brushes I decided to go to the other end of the spectrum and get the best of the best...Kolinsky Sable brushes from Windsor and Newton.  I bought these painting marvels before I delved into my first run at the Lead Painters League.  They were expensive...I got three sizes...1, 0, and 00... And with shipping I think I spent about $25us.  However they were fantastic and served me well for a full year...and even a second LPL.  The points on these brushes were phenomenal...if fact I did almost all my painting with the size 1...and the size 00 is too fine to really use for anything.  But after a year of hard use they are blown out...the points have loosened and I can't get them back.

In the meantime I've read a lot more about brushes and am interested to try something different.  Based on the testimonials of several different painters I opted to try Rosemary and Co.'s sable/synthetic blend brushes. These seem to offer the best advantages of both bristle materials...and at a price that's hard to beat.  I recently received sizes 3, 2, 1, 0, and 00 from Rosemary and Co.....shipped from England for £15...1/3 less than I paid for three Windsor and Newton brushes!  (note: if your are in the UK the price is really hard to beat...shipping to the US nearly doubled my cost).

 Now I've only had the chance to use them on two figures so far but at this point I'm quite impressed...if they have a decent life span then I will be quite happy.  Watch this space for more info as I spend more time with them.

What are your favorite Brushes...and why?

Cheers for now,



  1. Same as you really - nasty cheap ones for ages until I took the plunge with Windsor and Newton.

    Funnily mine managed two LPL's too before giving up the game and I've just got my replacement 1 and 0 size brushes from Amazon.

    I'd be interested to see how the Rosemary and Co. brushes compare - especially because of their relative price.

  2. @Thantsants: I use the exact same ones as you. Been completely sold on W&N for the last couple of years now. Though I hope Rosemary & Co will measure up, it'd be nice to save some money :-) Let us know, Blue!

  3. I used GW's brushes for a long time... still do, from time to time. Also tried W&N (wasn't too happy with it compared to price) and I'm currently destroying a set of Rosemary & Co. They're ok, but I think I'm not careful enough with my brushes for the "good ones" to stay good. Both the W&N and RM&Co are a little bent, tend to split and so on. My favourites so far are still the GW standard brushes, if nothing else for longeivity. I've got a Prince August brush too which I've been pretty happy with.

  4. Hm, sorry to say, for me at least, that the rosemary brushes I bought a few years ago really didnt hold up in comparison to the W$N.. they started hooking quite early on.

    I've tried rapheal and da Vinici too, even posted about them :

    I still havent found anything as reliable and long lasting as a W&N series seven size 1 :)

  5. I personally use W & N series 7. I usually only use a size 1 (about 95% of the time), I use a size 0 for the rest of my work, and I hardly ever use my 00. That is because the points on these brushes are always very sharp. I do use a drop or two of dish-washing liquid in my water jar. This helps to keep my brushes really clean. I also use a Tamiya Kolinski Sable brush which I purchased from Japan via eBay, it was a really thick handled brush, which was nice to use, except the brush head (hairs) were fairly short, and I have realised I like long haired brushes.