Need a brush recommendation.
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Thread: Need a brush recommendation.

  1. #1

    Default Need a brush recommendation.

    I've been getting more into using oils on miniatures and need some different brushes. My old kolinsky brushes work nicely for blending colors together because they're soft and gentle, but I lack a good brush for applying the paint in the first place.

    I need brushes that come to a fine tip (and keep it), are firm enough to apply paints that are the thickness of oils, and can be safely cleaned in white spirits without falling apart (I'm not sure if natural hair brushes are destroyed by white spirits). I know I can thin oils for application, but I tend to like leaving them thick as they stay put more which helps me control the blending.

    Does anyone know of a good line of brushes that fits my needs?

  2. #2

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    Raphael make some great brushes. Keep their point and they're quite sturdy as well... I used to use Winsor and Newton but switched to these...

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn
    I've been getting more into using oils on miniatures and need some different brushes. My old kolinsky brushes work nicely for blending colors together because they're soft and gentle, but I lack a good brush for applying the paint in the first place.
    What brand(s) have you been using? Many Kolinskys aren't what would usually be described as soft, they're noted for their spring and resilience; all the ones I favour are springy enough for what you're looking to do - lots of miniature painters who use oils only use Kolinskys, although they won't all use the paint at the same consistency you're using.

    Speaking of consistency, without even considering new brushes you might want to look into modifying the consistency of the paint - doesn't have to be made runny at all, just a fraction softer. If you need to use the paint straight from the tube though then yeah, you'll need different brushes.

    Synthetics are a superb choice for a lot of the requirements you mention, some are very stiff, but they won't maintain the same fine point as a quality sable or Kolinsky round... if they did the market for the latter would shrink overnight!

    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn
    (I'm not sure if natural hair brushes are destroyed by white spirits).
    White spirit shouldn't really damage natural-hair brushes at all or much, but spirits do vary a bit (some will be gentler than others, low-odour types being particularly so) and natural materials do of course vary by definition, so their response to solvents of any kind is inherently variable. Your overall brush maintenance routine will play a big part in their longevity too. With oil paint actually washing brushes is essentially mandatory, although you can get a brush very clean with proper rinsing.

    Einion

  4. #4

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    What brand(s) have you been using? Many Kolinskys aren't what would usually be described as soft, they're noted for their spring and resilience; all the ones I favour are springy enough for what you're looking to do - lots of miniature painters who use oils only use Kolinskys, although they won't all use the paint at the same consistency you're using.
    I've been using some old kolinskys I think are Da Vincis for my oils. They're very far from what I'd call springy.

    My acrylic brushes are Raphael 8404. Come to think of it I'm unsure if the Raphaels are springy or not. I don't normally notice because with paints thinned as much as the acrylics I use such a light touch.

    Speaking of consistency, without even considering new brushes you might want to look into modifying the consistency of the paint - doesn't have to be made runny at all, just a fraction softer. If you need to use the paint straight from the tube though then yeah, you'll need different brushes.
    If I thin it for easier application, can I just wait a while to let the spirits evaporate before blending and have the consistency be essentially the same as if I painted it from the tube?

    Synthetics are a superb choice for a lot of the requirements you mention, some are very stiff, but they won't maintain the same fine point as a quality sable or Kolinsky round... if they did the market for the latter would shrink overnight!
    Hmm. Yeah it somewhat defeats the purpose of any of the other characteristics if it can't keep a fine point (at least when painting minis).

    White spirit shouldn't really damage natural-hair brushes at all or much, but spirits do vary a bit (some will be gentler than others, low-odour types being particularly so) and natural materials do of course vary by definition, so their response to solvents of any kind is inherently variable. Your overall brush maintenance routine will play a big part in their longevity too. With oil paint actually washing brushes is essentially mandatory, although you can get a brush very clean with proper rinsing.
    Hmm. If it's ok to use natural hair brushes, what would you recommend as the firmest kolinsky brand/model?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn View Post
    If I thin it for easier application, can I just wait a while to let the spirits evaporate before blending and have the consistency be essentially the same as if I painted it from the tube?
    Sorry, that's confusing me.
    If you thin for application then wait for it to evaporate you're basically throwing money away.
    Since I sometimes use Oils for painting I understand the consistency you are talking about, but I can't get my head around why you would want to give yourself so much extra effort working with such a heavy material.
    Thinning would give you more control over the blend capability, in much the same way as diluting acrylics can.


    But as a suggestion, why not apply the paint with a synthetic and blend with a sable? Two tools for one job, yes but other painters do work in similar methods.
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  6. #6

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    Since I sometimes use Oils for painting I understand the consistency you are talking about, but I can't get my head around why you would want to give yourself so much extra effort working with such a heavy material.
    Thinning would give you more control over the blend capability, in much the same way as diluting acrylics can.
    It seems the advantage to having the oils thicker is that since it requires more effort to move the paint, you can slowly build up the blend. I'm sure there are better ways to do it, but there are barely any video resources out there for oil painting miniatures, so I don't know any other way.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn View Post
    I've been using some old kolinskys I think are Da Vincis for my oils. They're very far from what I'd call springy.

    My acrylic brushes are Raphael 8404. Come to think of it I'm unsure if the Raphaels are springy or not. I don't normally notice because with paints thinned as much as the acrylics I use such a light touch.

    If I thin it for easier application, can I just wait a while to let the spirits evaporate before blending and have the consistency be essentially the same as if I painted it from the tube?

    Hmm. Yeah it somewhat defeats the purpose of any of the other characteristics if it can't keep a fine point (at least when painting minis).

    Hmm. If it's ok to use natural hair brushes, what would you recommend as the firmest kolinsky brand/model?
    Da Vincis are really good kolinsky brushes, but any brush will get softer and worn with use (I have some ancient kolinsky brushes in shockingly bad states). I like Raphaels too, but really the Winsor and Newton Series 7s are the workhorses of kolinsky brushes.

    White spirits (well, turpentine, really, but no one uses that much anymore) predate synthetic fiber brushes -- they do not harm them apart from normal wear and tear.

    As for your thinning question, I think I understand what you are saying. If you thin the paint you can lay it down as if a wash, but once the thinner evaporates it will be the same consistency as it came from the tube and will be blendable, even though it will look rather washy at first. The only problem with this is sometimes excessive thinning can remove some of the binder (oil) from the paint so that it can dry a little chalky.

    Paint thinner, by the way, is historically pretty recent. Renaissance oil paintings were made without it. To be fair, they were grinding their own paints and the consistency was runnier than modern tube oil paints, with their machine-perfect texture and added waxes and emulsifiers. With patience and care it is possible to paint in oils without thinner, but I wouldn't recommend it except as maybe an experiment some day.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn View Post
    It seems the advantage to having the oils thicker is that since it requires more effort to move the paint, you can slowly build up the blend. I'm sure there are better ways to do it, but there are barely any video resources out there for oil painting miniatures, so I don't know any other way.
    When painting with oils (I have never painted minis with them, though), I use hogs bristle brushes to lay down the color because it is so heavy. I only use soft brushes for blending; they will wear out awfully fast if required to do the heavy lifting.

    In fact, thinking about it, much of the time I lay down the paint with very little thinner at all and blend with a completely dry soft brush using no thinner.

  9. #9
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    Since I sometimes use Oils for painting I understand the consistency you are talking about, but I can't get my head around why you would want to give yourself so much extra effort working with such a heavy material.
    Thinning would give you more control over the blend capability, in much the same way as diluting acrylics can.
    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn View Post
    It seems the advantage to having the oils thicker is that since it requires more effort to move the paint, you can slowly build up the blend. I'm sure there are better ways to do it, but there are barely any video resources out there for oil painting miniatures, so I don't know any other way.
    Ok I've been using Artisan water soluble Oils today thinned with W&N Sansodour to blend and darken a large area cloak on a 75mm figure.
    If I'd tried it without thinner It wouldn't work for me. Plus I was able to use a hairdryer to evaporate the thinner allowing me to blend in an acrylic highlight (Yes you can mix Acrylic and water soluble Oils if you're careful.) The cloak should be fully dry by tomorrow as its in the airing cupboard for some additional "Cooking".

    Now I was able to use a ProArte synthetic brush to get the smoothness I needed so I'd suggest looking at those for your usage.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn
    If I thin it for easier application, can I just wait a while to let the spirits evaporate before blending and have the consistency be essentially the same as if I painted it from the tube?
    Thought I'd posted on this just last week but I couldn't find it and just remembered it was in a PM, not in a thread. Anyway, yes exactly right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patyrn
    Hmm. Yeah it somewhat defeats the purpose of any of the other characteristics if it can't keep a fine point (at least when painting minis).
    It'll have a point or sorts, but not a proper sharp point like a sable or Kolinsky brush has. If the tip just needs to be small enough (rather than sharp per se) you could resort to using a small size, won't hold a lot of paint but it doesn't need to for what you're doing.

    And the shorter bristles are the stiffer they are in case that's not obvious.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach
    Sorry, that's confusing me.
    If you thin for application then wait for it to evaporate you're basically throwing money away.
    Nah, you could think of it this way: it did its job and now it's not needed any more. Because oil paints have multiple workable consistencies, each allowing specific types of manipulation (depending on brush), by adding spirits you're making application easier then you can wait for the paint to stiffen back up to make that kind of blending easier.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pygmalion
    The only problem with this is sometimes excessive thinning can remove some of the binder (oil) from the paint so that it can dry a little chalky.
    This is a generally true past a certain point, but I doubt it's really applicable in context - since the oil hasn't gone anywhere the thinning would have to go really far to be a problem!

    BTW chalky may not be the best term for underbound paint layers, a better one is gaunt; doesn't come with as much baggage (q.v. threads with chalky in the title - means a number of different things to different people).

    Einion

  11. #11

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberakuma
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...studio-brushes worth a look if you've not seen them already
    That looks pretty decent but man could they have done with more proofreading (related discussion from December).

    Einion

  13. #13

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    That's an odd thing to do...seems popular but I'd hate to have bristles on both ends of a brush. That holder is tickling me where I itch though.

  14. #14

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    Double ended brush - great for blending and for 'modification'. I currently use 2 brushes, one has the paint, the other is just damp and used to remove/move paint as needed. Having the ability to do that with 1 brush would be great.

  15. #15

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    Some advice from someone that has tried almost every recommend brush. W&N, GW, Vallejo, Coat d'arms, Raphael, Army Painter etc etc. Buy the best you can afford, and that will be W&N. Save up or don't waste money on others.
    Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
    Lance Armstrong

  16. #16

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    I don't agree with that, all of the W7N series 7 I have had, have been good, but not awesome. Probably the best brush I've had is a Neef, which was about 1/4 the price of the W&N. I've also had a lot of Franchevilles which have been great, I have one of their 4's which has the most amazing fine point to it.
    I do agree that you need a decent brush.
    But it also depends on what you are doing, I still use the larger GW brushes for bases, washes etc. (i.e. rougher work).

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Einion View Post
    That looks pretty decent but man could they have done with more proofreading (related discussion from December).

    Einion
    there is a lot they could have done better with the project but they are upstarts i'm sure we can afford them a little slack being as a number of their competitors wouldn't so much as string a sentence together for promotion and they like many other new starting companies they are also hesitant because of the manipulation of wording to others benefits it is a stupidly good deal though can't say the stand interests me i've not really got a permenant hobby nook at the moment so it wouldn't get used but £15 for a bunch of brushes and soap for cheaper than i can get the equivalent in the cheapest crap my nearest hobby store stocks i couldn't resist i'm not expecting them to be the very best but they are certainly worth a try

    i'd prefer if they went down to smaller brushes than up to the larger ones useful as they are i rarely use them and can't see many using them for wet blending the other end would be wasted until the first is ruined but that's just personal preference

  18. #18

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    Invest in some good quality brushes, they will last alot longer, if you take care of them. When i used oils i found square brushes useful for getting a nice basecoat on. My favorite basecoat brush was a langnickel royal knight, size 4. Sable brushes do tend to get worn out quite quickly from oils, good quality synthetics can be just as good for basecoats.

  19. #19

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    For me...I am now an advocate of the Windsor & Newton series 7 brushes. I used to use the GW brushes, but their new range just split and not good for much!
    The Windsor & newton series 7 is featured in the CMoN Ultimate Painting guide. Rapheal brushes, I note are featured on many painting tutorials, especially those by Obsidian Painting.....just I have not found them in the UK!!.......so my advise would be the Windor and Newton series 7 which seem available everywhere.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberakuma
    ...i'm sure we can afford them a little slack...
    Nah, not on this.


    Quote Originally Posted by Finhill_Figures
    ....so my advise would be the Windor and Newton series 7 which seem available everywhere.
    Numerous caveats with the Series 7s, as you'll see if you browse some of the (many!) previous threads asking about brushes. The problems extend far enough that a lot of prior users now routinely warn people off them.

    Einion

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