Brush Sizes
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Thread: Brush Sizes

  1. #1

    Default Brush Sizes

    So I need to buy brushes. What sizes should I get? I guess I need 3. One for base colors,one for details, and one for washes? I can only spend about $5 a piece for them.

  2. #2


    Only 3 sizes you need are 0, 1 & 2
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  3. #3


    Thanks Zab. I guess I need to know what size and shape is good for drybrushing also. What about the material they are made of? Thanks.

  4. #4


    I would get a synthetic, small sized flat brush for drybrushing. Your other brushed should be sable hair. I would also add one more synthetic size 1 for washes, it should mimic the properties of sable though to hold the wash and distribute it well. Don't worry about the high quality stuff if you are just starting out as they are expensive. See what you can get in your budget at Michael's, get used to playing around with them and then as they wear out and your skills improve you can look to more expensive brands.
    "Remember, you can't spell paint without a little pain."

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  5. #5

  6. #6


    I'd get 3 or 4.

    2 from a 15 brushes for 1-2 euro/$ set that I sometimes see in a DIY store. Use one of them for paint transfer + mixing, the other cut down as a drybrush (also the rest in the set can be used for washes / more drybrushes as the one assigned to the task dies)
    1 Good quality No0 or 1 brush for ... well basically everything
    1 Good quality No2 or 3 for large surfaces.

    (bonus: 00 or similar for later for freehands and truly small details (no eyes are still done with the No0))

  7. #7


    I know excellent painters who swear by a #2 for painting eyes. It just needs a good tip.

  8. #8


    It also depends on brush types-

    A rigger brush's tip is always going to be smaller than a round of the same number. I have a #1 rigger (also called a script brush) for very fine detail work. It takes some getting used to because you can do thick lines with it, but I love it since it can carry more paint/ ink on it than a shorter round tip. I like flats and cat's toungues (filbert bush) for drybrushing. I get an assort ment of 1-2. As for shaders and mop, I have them for art, but never on minis.. shape is kinda pointless for fine work. But! fan brush! No one may have thought of this, but I remember hearing people complain that the hair stick together on synthetic bristle fan brushes and cause spikes. I find this can be used for doing parallel lines very easily! I got it as part of a water color set of cheap nylon brushes, and I believe it's a #0. Another tip is to expect what you pay for. Cheap brushes (even those advertised as sable) will have problems- hair comes out, they fray, ferrule breaks, etc, etc.. And last but not least, brush sizing doesn't really have a standard. I bought a 20/0 brush once and it's the same size as another manufacturer's 5/0! It gets more confusing if a line is supposed to be small, and they have a #1 small vs a normal #1!
    Well, things to mull over- have a happy New Year's!

  9. #9


    Three brushes maybe two actually a price of crap synthetic 2 or 3 for dry brushing and mixing paints and a kick ass Windsor and Newton kolinsky sable series seven size 1 for all your actual painting from eyeballs upwards such a fine tip that you can do any level of detail required but it holds a nice amount of paint. Look after it properly cleaning and conditioning it regularly and it will last a good couple of years of constant painting works out a sight cheaper than buying several cheapy brushes if different sizes and paints a damn sight better.
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  10. #10
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Pippintook8, being honest your brushes are your primary tools in painting, limiting yourself to their cost is a mistake.
    Good brushes are an investment, not an expense.
    Your $5 over here in the UK in the main, would limit your choices, Winsor & Newton, Raphael 8404 and Da Vinci will run about £7-£8 to start, roughly $10 a piece.
    You do have an option with Rosemary & Co who have a Stirling, and well deserved reputation for their brushes and are a lower price that the "Top Brands".

    While meaning well I believe Chrispy's overloading you with technicality in his reply. Three simple sizes 00, 0, 1 in a Round will be a good start, make sure they are Kolinsky Sable and take care of them, rinsing regularly during your painting session and washing them with shampoo once in a while will keep them "alive" for a long time. I've W&N's which are several years old and still good to work with.
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  11. #11


    I think you only need 3 brushes. 1 synthetic or cheap sable, size 2-3 for rough work (drybrushing, bases etc). Then , two good quality sable brushes. The size of these depends on the manufacturer, so don't get fixated on the numbers. What you want are brushes with decent points, one larger and one smaller. The larger brush is used for most of your painting and the smaller one is used for details, eyes, fine lines, freehand etc. I generally use the same brush for 95% of my painting on a miniature and it is usually in the 2-3 size range.
    The key thing is the quality and size of the tip of the brush, not the brush size number. I have a size 4 sable that has an extremely fine point to it that I can use for detail work. I also recently picked up an ancient GW black brush, size 2, but it is very small and has a decent fine point for detail work.

  12. #12


    If you're interested in cheap brushes I'd recommend buying from army painter. Go on Google and type in "The Army Painter Brushes." These brushes are cheap and decent, so they're a good base to start from. Once you start getting better at painting you should invest in the better brushes...

    It's like if you want to play an instrument... Nobody's going to buy a $2,000 guitar for someone starting to learn, you're going to buy a $100 guitar and work your way up.

    As for sizes, don't buy anything under a 1. The smaller the brush size the less paint it holds, so the paint usually dries by the time you pick it up and move it to your mini.

    I'd recommend a Size 1 and 3 personally. 3 you can use for base coats, layering, and washing. 1 you can use for your detailed work and layering final highlights. Also think of getting a flat brush for drybrushing.

    I also recommend you use a wet pallet for painting if you're not doing so already. Here's a link:

  13. #13


    Dude i suggest to you that if you want the air brush under your budget then you must contact with the eBay i think its better choice to you..
    Here i suggest to you video and after watching you mind is fresh about the size of the air brush..

  14. #14


    Take your $15 and buy one good Kolinsky sable brush. The good ones mentioned by DR will do. Your 3 cheapo brushes will be worthless after a month. I had the same strategy as you, and I now have a whole jar of $5 brushes that I NEVER use. I even bought a detail sable brush from the same brand as my standard brush, yet I NEVER use it. My size 1 can do any job. And if you're just starting, there's nothing you need to be drybrushing. Even the rocks on your bases. Glaze them, you need the practice. Honestly, I think newbs like us benefit from doing everything with one quality brush. Anyone disagree ?

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