Saturday, December 8, 2007

Friday (well Saturday really) Tip

Carol Huddleston asked, "One thing I would love to know is what type of brushes you use when painting, both for body application and detailing."

Thanks for your question Carol! I don't really have anything set in stone for my brush selection, so over the years I've accumulated quite a hodge podge of brands and styles. There's only one consistent thing I look for; bristles that don't shed. If I can pull firmly on the brush and not pull any hairs out, I consider it fair game. The foundation of the paint job starts with good application brushes.

Pictured here are 3 brights and a filbert, all different brands (from left to right - Winsor & Newton size 14, Loew-Cornell size 10, daVinci size 14, and Daniel Smith size 10). Flats and angle brushes can also be used, but I prefer brights and filberts. Brights because they are shorter than flats and are more controllable, and filberts because they do not have hard edges which can occasionally be a disadvantage. You can never have too many of these brushes and the more broken in they get, the better. I try not to spend too much money on these since I use a pretty vigorous scrubbing style of painting especially in the early stages, and the brushes get trashed pretty quickly. These are not inexpensive craft store brushes, but they're certainly not top of the line either. For these brushes, look for softer bristles (it is helpful to have a range of firmness) that do not shed. Check the ferrule (the silver part) to make sure it is solidly attached. Synthetics are just fine, but if you have a more delicate touch you might look into sable brushes. Synthetics have an advantage in that they can be used for oils one day and acrylics the next, whereas natural brushes cannot handle that stress.

For smaller areas of paint application, keep a large supply of rounds and shaders on hand. All of my old detailing brushes wind up in this pile and they're useful for all sorts of things. For example, they are great for applying grey skin areas or varnish marks. They are marvelous for blending in the early stages, or where the shading does not need to be very precise, like muted dapples. The great thing about these brushes is that after a while you'll have so many, you'll never need to worry about your brushes getting too muddied up with paint again. As soon as one starts piling paint around better than blending, pull a similar fresh one out to continue!

Lastly for this week's tip, keep a supply of dappling brushes on hand. I really appreciate the Winsor & Newton Monarch round for basic dappling. Pictured are sizes 4 and 0; I also have some 2s. They won't help much with minis, but for larger scales they are great for quickly tapping in round shaped bloom dapples. In all scales, rounds, either frayed or with good tips are excellent for different dapple effects. Experiment and find what works for you, and discover how different brushes can change your paintjob's look entirely.

In the next tip, detailing and special effects brushes!


Carol H. said...

Thanks for the tips, Melanie, and it was great of you to show pictures of your brushes, too. I noticed some that I use in your photos, but some that I'd never heard of (like the Monarchs).

Mel Miller said...

Hi Carol! Yeah, I really do like the Monarchs. They're pretty firm, so they do a good job of tapping dapples into place without going all crazy on me. :-D