First time Kolinsky Sable Brush user, question
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Thread: First time Kolinsky Sable Brush user, question

  1. #1

    Default First time Kolinsky Sable Brush user, question

    Hey there,

    So I finally sat down and have gone headfirst into the world of painting miniatures (which I LOVE ) and I did quite a bit of research and picked myself up a Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Kolinsky Red Sable size 1 brush. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and I find something odd. So I have been doing everything suggested to take care of it, using The Masters brush cleaner after every session, not being extremely rough on it, not stabbing the point ect.

    If I rinse off the paint after using the brush and set it down for a smallish amount of time 5-10 minutes (to get up to get a drink for example), the hairs begin to spread/flare outward to where there is no point at all. I can dampen the brush and reform the tip easily and it will hold without an issue for the most part as long as I reform it now and again, however depending on how I use the brush the tip will go away easily. The other thing is there is 2-3 hairs which seem to like to seperate themselves from the rest when the flaring occurs, they stay in formation when the tip is formed, but they like to get away from the rest every now and again, sometimes while I am painting.

    Is this something normal for natural hair brushes? I am very new to this and couldn't find a direct answer, excuse me if this has been asked and I just couldn't find it. The brush holds paint great and the tip works well when it is formed, I was just wondering if I ha a bad brush and the tip was supposed to stay fine.

    Thanks in advance for any time taken to read and hopefully respond

  2. #2
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    I think I understand what you are describing.
    Personally I've not encountered a problem with my DaVinci's but have seen stray hairs on both the W&N series 7's and the Dianas I have.
    What we as model painters have to remember is that these brushes are designed as Watercolour brushes and we (as an equivalent use) are really dragging them over rough sandpaper all the time.
    Damage on some will show up, it is inevitiable. The stray hairs can be pruned by careful application of a Knife blade at the base of those hairs and against the ferulle, its not something I like to do but if those hairs are affecting the brush performance and depositing random or unwanted paint then, time for them to go.

    Your description of the loss of point on these brushes is strange and not something I've encountered (or possibly noticed) but I tend to rinse my brushes regularly in water and then reshape them with my mouth. (A habit called Brushlicking).

    Our resident Guru is called Einion and he may probably have a more complete explanation and possibly a solution. (Oh and he'll tell you why Brushlicking isn't good for you, but its too ingrained a habit for me to quit.)
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  3. #3

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    Thanks for he response
    I was aware that we were being hard on the brushes just naturally with what we do, and I just didn't think something like that would happen that fast especially when like I said I am taking every precaution I can to ensure they last as long as possible.

    I reform the tip by lightly dragging the brush on an empty space on my wet pallet while subtly turning and it does work and holds for a time. I started out brushlicking but stopped as to not form a habit lol. or occasionally using the whip method which works but I don't know if it hurts the brush. The problem started before I even learned of that so I know it isn't from that.

    I did remove a stray hair carefully but did not want to to remove multiples..The strays aren't much of an issue and it only occasionally happens . I guess I should say while I am new to painting and have done lots of research my father was a miniature painter so I grew up around it and picked up some things. Either way I just found it odd, and again thanks for taking the time to respond!
    Last edited by Domoto; 03-09-2013 at 06:06 AM.

  4. #4

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    I do have what you're saying, where the brush "puffs". I don't think it's anything structurally wrong with the brush, as they form a tip afterwards easily. When you're using the Master's cleaner, you might do what I do. After a cleaning, rinse it completely then re-soap it up. Form it into a tip from there and let it dry. I'm completely unsure if this actually helps or anything, but wetting the brush for a new round and starting with a sharp tip makes me happy.

    In between colors? Uh, you'll just have to pretend you didn't see it puff.
    "Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.", MaxedOutMama
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  5. #5

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    Yes, "puffs" is a much better way to explain it. I have been using the Masters cleaner that way since it not only keeps the shape but conditions the brush which is awesome. This was more mid use that it happens. I just didn't know if it was a sign of a bad brush or not since regardless of reading as much as I could, I am still new and didn't ever read anything about that. I appreciate the response, and am glad to find the community be this accepting and tolerant of my newness As I said beyond the puff, it's worked great, so more or less it's just me being paranoid then lol

  6. #6

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    You might just be painting too long with it. But that seems odd that you'd run out of brush before running out of paint, so is unlikely. Not sure now what is happening, but you'll just have to work around that knowing it'll happen.
    "Reality, she's a mathematical bitch from hell.", MaxedOutMama
    Wanna be bored? Watch me twitter. --<>-- Still have neurons? Watch my YouTube channel on painting!
    Want to know when to fry your neurons? My painting twitter will announce the videos.
    To judge how far to follow my advice, consider this: ---<>--- Slappin' paint on minis since 2006

  7. #7

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    Sounds like you may have gotten painting the ferrule. You may need to give it a soak in brush cleaner and restorer and then rise it thoroughly, and then reshape it. As fro the burshlicking Dragonsreach mentioned spit does work best for reshaping your brush but you don't have lick your brush. There is a large crease in your palm that you can, um, lick or blot with your tongue and then drag the brush through to shape it. I' know, it's kind of the same thing but it's a good way to stat kicking the brushlicking habbit - like the nicorette of brushlicking At least that way you are just a handlicker - oh, that sounds dirty ~sigh~ oh well.
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domoto
    So I have been doing everything suggested to take care of it, using The Masters brush cleaner after every session, not being extremely rough on it, not stabbing the point ect.
    Suggested by whom? Not actually asking, just pointing out that the highlighted bit is certainly not something that would be universally recommended (for a brush of this type).

    So to cut to the heart of the matter, that is washing the brush too frequently. I heartily recommend perusing the previous threads on brush cleaning and brush maintenance, as you'll see in some of them you only need to wash a brush if it's dirty. And with good rinsing procedures a couple/few times per year is about what you'd be looking at.

    Quote Originally Posted by Domoto
    If I rinse off the paint after using the brush and set it down for a smallish amount of time 5-10 minutes (to get up to get a drink for example), the hairs begin to spread/flare outward to where there is no point at all.
    That can be perfectly normal, but for a brush of this size and age it does indicate that it's been overcleaned. As a general thing, the shape a brush forms when wet is really the only thing to worry about - this is why if you're buying brushes in person you should assess them wetted with water.

    If you have any conditioner I'd recommend conditioning the brush and putting it up for a day or more, with a small amount of conditioner left it in. This will go somewhere towards repairing the damage to the hairs but no guarantees how much it'll help.

    Einion

  9. #9

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    What you describe happening should not happen on a decent brush, at least not until it has had a good bit of use. The odd stray bristle, maybe.
    I also agree you are cleaning it too much. A simple rinse in fresh water should suffice and only wash it if it is dirty.
    As suggested, always reform your brush. A popular way of doing this is to roll it on your tongue (brush licking) after rinsing during and at the end of a session, to reform the tip into a nice point.

  10. #10

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    Maybe I explained it worse than it actually is. To test, I wet the brush, formed the tip and let the brush stand 10 minutes ago and it still has a point. I do reform it between getting more paint, or changing colors after rinsing. As for the Masters brush cleaner & conditioner, almost every guide and youtube video I have seen about brush care which mentions this product instructs to use it after every session. I checked the stickey'd post from this forum and found this as an example

    Quote Originally Posted by airhead View Post
    The Masters soap is very good, lots of lanolin to condition the fibers. I use it after every session.
    I apologize if this is misinformation, it's just seeing that many people say the same thing, I assumed it was the way to go. I am not rough on the brush when I use the cleaner, and when the paint is removed so that none dries on the brush, I lightly coat the brush while forming the tip also as instructed, so between sessions it holds it's shape.

    I'm thinking it may be more when the brush dries it does what I explained...again, sorry, very new to this.

    I have taken a picture to show...on the left is what I am talking about, and on the right is the brush after being wet and the tip being formed. (it does hold this for longer than I thought...so this may have all been pointelss O_o)

    Last edited by Domoto; 03-12-2013 at 02:22 PM.

  11. #11

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    Well one thing I can reassure you of, your brush is lovely and clean It's also pointing up just fine; I have many brushes that look like this. I've even seen new brushes taken directly from the rack that had that sort of loose shape once the starch coating was rubbed off but pointed up perfectly when wet with water.

    If you don't do this already, during a long painting session one thing you might want to get into the habit of doing is rolling the brush while loading and unloading it on the palette. This can become second nature eventually and it can help keep the brush tip in good shape.

    Einion

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by einion View Post
    if you don't do this already, during a long painting session one thing you might want to get into the habit of doing is rolling the brush while loading and unloading it on the palette. This can become second nature eventually and it can help keep the brush tip in good shape.
    qft!.............
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  13. #13

    Default More on The Masters

    Re. its use or overuse: know that there are people who don't have any and have no problems with keeping their brushes clean; and many of those people will have brushes still in tip-top shape that are far older than those of regular users of The Masters. Those three things are probably the most important to consider in concert.

    When you see someone saying that The Masters is the best thing there is for cleaning brushes the first thing you should want to ask them is what they've compared it to*, because obviously you want to know what their basis for comparison is. This is particularly relevant when they've compared it to nothing else... which is far more common than you'd think! Bear in mind even a bar of cheap motel soap** can be used to wash a brush perfectly well, as long as it's not overused.

    The Masters was formulated for cleaning oil paint from hog-bristle brushes, not for caring for delicate softhair rounds that aren't oily. I have no hesitation using it for this intended purpose (although I won't be replacing it when it's gone) but not for Kolinsky rounds that weren't used with oils.

    *That would include other soaps, including common hand soap, but better would be glycerine soaps, overfatted vegetable soaps, Castille soap and moisturing face soaps. Also try shampoo, Mona Lisa Pink Soap, W&N's Brush Cleaner & Restorer and even dishwashing liquid. And lastly conditioning; regardless of what you use to wash a brush it's worth considering conditioning it, for exactly the same reason you'd condition your own hair.

    **Likely has the same pH as The Masters you might be interested to know.

    Einion

  14. #14

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    Not to hijack the thread, but what kind of soap would you advise then Einion? I particularly like the Masters since it keeps my brushes quite soft(because of the conditioning aspect of the soap of course).

    I do also tend to use a liquid soap based on sunflower oils which is called Aquachem or something. By a company called 4art from a local art shop.
    My painting blog: The Way of the Painter

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by VeristicalBlaze
    Not to hijack the thread, but what kind of soap would you advise then Einion?
    Ideally none*. My main recommendation is to minimise the use of any washing agent (soap in particular because of its high pH) by adopting better rinsing procedures. A quote from the Handprint author, who has tried more Kolinsky brushes than most of us have had hot dinners:

    Minimize your use of soaps or cleansers with brushes, especially natural hair brushes. (All soaps are fundamentally damaging to a natural hair brush, as they remove the oils in the hairs.) Use soap only as needed to remove staining pigments such as phthalo blue or pyrrole red, or clinging pigments such as yellow ochre. If necessary, wash with a cake of vegetable brush soap, glycerin soap, or baby shampoo. Never use detergent soap or harsh cleansers.
    If you reduce the need to wash to when it's absolutely necessary within reason it doesn't matter what you use, especially if you condition afterwards. With luck your brushes will last years, not weeks or months.

    *And it would be hard to recommend one product with members in all parts of the world. But a type of soap, if you're going to use soap: see post above and do some tests.

    Einion
    Last edited by Einion; 03-14-2013 at 06:09 AM.

  16. #16

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    I have used Einion and other members recommendation, as I had few brushed which lost tips after few weeks use. simply rinse it during painting with twp water pots, one with rough cleaning (getting dirty quite fast) and one more which will last much longer and normally stay clear much longer... It worked quite well, I simply don't clean my brush between painting session as I "clean" it constantly (thanks to 2 jars water) during the painting session. The brush lasts much longer...

    Then another advice was to use right size brush. I like using small size brushes (and still find it difficult with bigger ones) painting something bigger then simply details. It is true that you use the hair in much harder condition making them not lasting long.
    Then don't dry brush even softly... I have also realize, maybe I am wrong, but with some resin models with sharp edges and some casting defects (i.e. finecast) that hair get "tired" much faster.

  17. #17

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    I can tell from the right picture above that your brush IS already dead, there is no good tip left. a good brush should have a tip that is as fine as one hair. similar like that:



    this is a size 2 brush (WN7 long) which you can paint eyes with! (dont mind the mini, just basecolors)

    for brush maintenance and cleaning I recommend the Winsor and Newton Artgel! Also for cleaning your hands

  18. #18

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    to further elaborate I made you a comparison picture of two of my own brushes, the left one I can use for miniature painting, the right one, well is only good for base work and basecolors. Both are WN7 long size 2, the right one was used for some months on miniature but then "died", the left one is one I have been using for one month.


  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by boubi View Post
    It worked quite well, I simply don't clean my brush between painting session as I "clean" it constantly (thanks to 2 jars water) during the painting session. The brush lasts much longer...
    I'm going to hold my hand up and admit that I'm rubbish for cleaning my brushes out as I go along which results in paint slightly wicking into the ferrule and having to use brush soap far too often. I intend to replace the ones I've abused and clearly mark the new ones as my 'decent' brushes and try and wash them out regularly. I do think that you need to put aside brushes for using with inks & washes too.

  20. #20

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    You're also supposed to dry the brush upside-down so that water doesn't go into the ferrule.

    Besides rolling the brush on your paper when wicking, or on your wet-palette, you can "whip" your wet brush to make a point.

    Another painter posted that he or she will roll the brush through his hair to pick up oils...!

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