I use cheap brushes, a LOT. I don’t want to buy hair.
I’m not a vegetarian, but am particular about how what I eat (and use) is killed,
and don’t want to kill a critter for my brush — too many good alternatives.
I’ve not seen a certified humane stamp on a hair brush.
And I LOVE squirrels and goats…
But how to I end up with VERY cheap brushes?
1) I need to round out an online order for free shipping and grab a brush
(Cheap Joe’s Creative Inspirations are okay brushes for the price), or
2) I buy cheap brushes for finish work in the conservation studio and steal one!
Brushes used on furniture don’t last. The bristles break.
So after spending $75 on one and having it break down in less than a year,
I started buying packages of decent student brushes from Blicks and never looked back.
So drum roll, my brush favorites have changed.
I’ve fallen in love with
da Vinci’s Cosmotop
Spin Synthetic brushes,
and especially with their oval.
I’m not a stranger to ovals,
but theirs is different.
I can pick up lots of juicy washes
and move the through a sky,
then take the tip
(and it stays a tip if you want that)
and edge a rooftop or touch a window. The sky, and the tree greens,
right, were done with
a large brush — a 20 Oval!
Leow-Cornell is my favorite cheap brush, and I have quite a few of them.
They’ve lasted from acrylics to watercolors… and keep holding up, 15 years!
The odd pointed — angular — 7900 Series they stopped making and I love that brush!
I found three at Jerry’s and bought them! It hold a lot of water and yet keeps a point,
almost like a liner, better than a round.
Robert Simmons has held up well — I have several small cheap pointed liners from him.
Ulrech, a Blick’s brand, is okay too, and of course,
Princeton is my favorite cheapo brush.
I buy them on sale in packages for the studio. They are worth the $8 for five or seven brushes, and they never lose hairs into your watercolor!
Let’s talk about the “meh” products — those I simply can’t see the hype.
First, Quills, above.
I tried two types, one a bit pricey, because of the rave reviews of this brush.
All I can say is I like my brushes cleaner than this brush allows.
For me to use it, I would have to come to the sink and wash it every time I changed colors. The paint gets under the plastic.
Perhaps if you were using black ink only… shades of grey…
It also didn’t keep a point at all, but was a wash brush, like a mop.
I have other brushes that can be used like a wash and
have a useable point, like the Cosmotop Oval above.
If I am going to pack a brush for the road, it has to be special, or do double duty.
Finally, I an so disappointed in the Princeton Neptune, a faux squirrel line.
I bought two of their brushes, the Quill above, and the Dagger.
The dagger has to be very wet to keep its point. Very. Wet. TOO wet.
While I like Princeton, I probably would not buy the Neptune again.
I haven’t tried the Escoda brand, and will next time I am at Merriartist!
BTW, I try to shop local, or in small stores, because I want to keep them around.
They tend to have staff that knows things, not just a parttime job.
The very best how-to video on YouTube, below.
I am so sorry now I tossed some brushes!
Moleskin Watercolor Journal and Nostalgie Journal, with a Pentalic 2B woodless pencil,
Lexington Grey and Super5 Frankfurt inks (grisaille),
Lamy Al-Star with De Atramentis Document Black ink,
Platinum Carbon Pen with Platinum Carbon ink waterproof cartridges,
Pitt White pen, Holbein, and DS Primatek watercolors, and Daniel Smith Watercolors.
©D. Katie Powell.
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