Finding the best paint brush to buy can be a hard task. High end brushes are well worth investing in for any self respecting painter.
There a so many brushes to chose from. Not only that, but the price and quality is all over the place between brands and models.
Truth be told, I like to use paint brushes from across the spectre of high ends to incredibly cheap depending on what I’m doing.
I won a Winsor and Newton in a painting competition, and was instantly sold. Back then, I was painting full time, and that one brush lasted me close to a year. It was very trashed by the end, but I was still using it.
When I decided to replace it, all I could find for a decent price were the Raphael’s, which were of a ver similar quality.
But for the bulk of the models and armies, I prefer the high end brushes like Raphael’s and Winsor & Newton Series 5.
Raphael vs Winsor Newton
…in the endless battle of the exact same thing.
There seems to be very divided camps on whether Raphael’s are better than the Winsor & Newton, or the opposite. Nearly everywhere I looked, painters had a very clear bias for one.
Truth of the matter is, it’s pretty much the same thing. I’ve used extensively from both brands, and besides the orange end on Raphael’s I can’t tell which is which or if one lasted longer.
My only criteria now is whichever is on sale when I buy them.
The Four Paint Brush Strategy
This trick I stole from GMM Studio, who has a very specific and quite brilliant way to work with these brushes.
At any given time, I own 4 of these brushes. Usually, the cycle lasts for about a year before I need to upgrade.
There’s the go-to brush. This is the one that’s in good shape and doest most of the work, from base coats to dotting the eyes.
There’s the ‘still good’ one. Too worn out to paint eyes, but still in great shape for large base coats, heavy shading and dry brushing.
There’s the beaten down one. This guy’s on its last legs, but still very good to apply glue on bases, and other rough jobs like stippling.
The last one is a brand new brush. It’s waiting for its turn on the rotation.
High end paint brushes and you
For the longest time, I was adamant on using cheaper paint brushes, convinced I was saving money.
And once I started using a higher end brush, and sticking to GMM’s trick of four brushes, I realized that even at a higher price point, they last much longer than any other brush.
Combined with brush soap, the high end route is much cheaper in the long run.
Of course, I still have a bunch of other brushes that I like.
Terrain and bases I often do with brushes worth less than a dollar.
I like the ‘red’ range from The Army Painter, namely the highlight and basecoat sizes, and Citadel’s Medium Shade, which is a great size.
I also have a few brushes that I keep for specialty products, like oil paint and window paints.
Overall, I think the biggest takeaway is that you don’t need to commit to a specific brand and be a snob about what you’re using. Getting things that work for you is not a one size fits all.