Brushes are probably the most important tool in our hobby, and when you browse the internet or forums you can find a lot of discussions on brushes. I also often get asked about the brushes I use: which brand I prefer, what size brush I use for particular techniques, if I drybush etc.
I have to admit, I am no expert when it comes to brushes. I haven’t tried many different brands. The main reason for this is that I am happy with the brushes I currently use and I am worried to try an (more) expensive brush that I might not like. So in this post I will just share what brushes I use, without comparing or reviewing.
So what brushes do I use?
When I started painting I made trips to my local craft shop to purchase Da Vinci Kolinsky Sable brushes. In fact I still use these brushes but I feel that they are of less quality compared to my brushes of choice: Rosemary & Co brushes. As I said, I have never used Winsor & Newton or Raphael brushes so I cannot really compare. But I really enjoy the R&C brushes. They maintain their shape really well and have a very good price :). I always purchase my brushes directly from the R&C shop, their service is great and the brushes are shipped very fast.
Type of brushes I use
I mainly use Kolinsky sable brushes (series 33). The main reason for this is that they keep their sharp points for much longer than other brushes do. I also use Red sable brushes every now and then, mainly as my smaller sized brushes. The reason for this is more practical, as R&C don’t sell super tiny Kolinsky brushes. I like to use nylon brushes sometimes for blending larger areas. They are also good for mixing paints and drybrushing on bases.
Picture above shows my standing force of painting brushes :P. I don’t use every brush as much as my favourites, and sometimes I just grab what is closest. This picture was taken when I purchased them a little while ago, but they still look similar (except the handles which are dirtier now).
From left to right, most favourite in bold letters:
1-3 = Micro Red sable (series 92) sizes 10/0, 7/0, and 5/0
4-9 = Pure Kolinsky Pointed (series 33) sizes 10/0, 3/0 (2x), 2/0, 0 and 1
10-12 = Pointed Sable mixture (series 401) in size 3/0, 0 and 1, these brushes are a mix between sable and nylon and at the moment I am experimenting with these a bit
13-15 = Pointed Round Golden Synthetic (series 301) in size 3/0, 0 and 1, these nylon brushes are great for blending.
Size of brushes
Overall I like to paint basecoats and higlights/shadows with brushes of size 0 or 1, as it is much easier to blend with a larger brush than with a smaller brush. For smaller areas I really love my Series 33 3/0 brush. For freehands I also prefer to use this brush. Smaller brushes I only use for the tiniest details.
Something to note is that the sizes of the R&C brushes is not exactly the same across the series. For example, the series 301 brushes are slightly smaller than the series 33 and 401 brushes, this goes for all sizes I own. The micro red sable brushes (series 92) are generally also smaller than their series 33 counterparts.
|The series 301 brush size 3/0 is much smaller than the series 33 and 401 counterparts.|
|Series 92 (micro red sable) size 10/0 (top) is much smaller than the series 33 brush in the same size|
Sometimes I get a bit lazy, but I try to wash my brushes after every painting session with “The Master” Brush Cleaner. I think this is quite a mild cleaner that does the job but is not aggressive on the brush hairs. When my brushes are particularly dirty (when I didn’t properly took care of them) I like to use Vallejo’s brush cleaner. I think there is some alcohol in it, so its probably a bit more aggressive on the hairs. On extreme rare occassions I use the Brush restorer from Vallejo to get the hairs in shape again, but I mostly prefer a regular hair conditioner (that you use on your own hair), as it is cheaper and makes your brushes smell really nice :). You do have to make sure to rinse your brushes really well after using conditioner.
So that was my take on brushes. I hope you liked this months “Ramblings”. As I said before, this is just what I use and everyone will have their favourites. One day I might try out some more expensive brushes but for the moment I really like these brushes and I have been using them for a long time already 🙂