Monday, June 21, 2010

The Brush Off

What brush to use. You here them painters talk about them all the time but really how much of it applies to the average or beginner painter? Here are my tips for the beginner painter when it comes to choosing your equipment.
Pick a decent brush that fits your budget. There are several different types of brushes in all shapes, sizes and qualities. There is a good brush primer here , that will take you through all different types of brushes in one fell swoop and is worth a read if you are serious. For now I am going to point out the majors. The 3 major shapes I use are the flat, pointed round and the detail or liner brush. The other shapes open up some more options, like angled brushed for getting into tight spaces or large rounds for camo effects but they aren't needed at the start.
Each brush has a specific purpose, so the flat is the best for covering large areas with the minimal number of strokes. This is your primary flat area brush for things like tanks or dreadnaughts. The square edge of the brush makes it easy to see exactly where the paint is going. This is also a great brush for lining hard edges for highlights. If you are doing allot of tanks and don't what to invest in a spray system, hobby sprays or airbrush, get some of the larger ones of these and you are covered.
The pointed round is your workhorse. It has enough bristle to hold allot of paint and still give good coverage. It is the one you are going to use to fill in the spaces that are too small of hard to reach with the flat. This is your troop brush. This is one that I like to have 2 or 3 of for this reason.
Last it the detail/liner brushes and I did mean plural. I recommend getting a long and a short bristled one. The long is your one for drawing lines and shapes. It will have allot more flex and this works great for filling in things like the lines. This is the brush to use on those Hammerhead tank lines. The short one is for fine details like faces, chapter badges and other small details. This brush will hold practically no paint because the bristles are short but it is very pencil like.
 When you are starting out you will have no idea what fits your style so I recommend skipping past the expensive singles and getting a value pack of brushes that covers several different categories. I just picked up a good starter set if 11 brushes for $10 on sale. They were a mix of liners and details in all sizes. I also picked up a full set of 8 flats from 1" wide down to 1/8" for $11. The 1" will be seeing allot of use shortly I am sure.
I know the question is coming so here goes, what about brush hair type. Well starting out it isn't as critical as most would like you to believe. You can go from synthetic to natural. For flats I like synthetic. They hold together a little longer and are cheaper. Also synthetic are a little easier to car for than hair so you may want to keep this in mind if you are on a tight budget.
For those going hair, skip the high end sables unless you can get them cheap. Heresy! No, common sense, your first few brushes are not going to last. You are not going to clean them well enough, dunk them too far in the paint and dry brush with them. All of these will kill a brush. It is like giving a new driver access to a Ferrari. You are just asking for trouble. Instead look for Camel or squirrel hair brushes. The differences are quite small and the price is about a 1/3 of sable.
Next up the extras, all the little bits to make painting easier.

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