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Old 09-13-2002, 11:15 AM
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scottb scottb is offline
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Hmm. Now I just realized that some brushes in the same line are made of different materials. One series may be Kolinsky sable, another might be hog bristle.

Scratch that last post. I guess the best way to do it is by series ...
B. Scott Burkett
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing Copal!"
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Old 09-16-2002, 10:14 PM
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robinsn robinsn is offline
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I use the Winsor & Newton Cirrus, series 550, long handled, flat brushes almost exclusively in my painting. I have found that they are very durable and comfortable to paint with.

Same here! They're the best I've found.

Scott - what would be the most useful to me would be to group the brushes by material used and type. For instance:
- OIL:
-- Sable Flats
--- WN Cirrus 550
--- Royal & Langnickel: Pure Red Sable
--- etc.
-- Sable Rounds
-- Sable Filberts
-- Hog bristle brights...
-- Badger hair Filberts...
-- Hog bristle fans...

Then the same for watercolor.

Then, if I am looking for a Kolinsky flat, I can go look at the reviews for that type brush and see what brand looks best. I know what type of brush I need to buy and just need to know quality of brands.

How difficult this would be, I have no idea.

-Stability - do bristles keep falling out?
-Strokability - Paint goes on how well?
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Old 09-16-2002, 10:50 PM
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scottb scottb is offline
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Good thoughts, Randy.

Getting brushes "right" is going to be a challenge - no doubt about it. I like the idea of breaking them down into the material type/brush style combo. Of course, that still leaves the final question hanging: how do we handle multi-medium brushes?

If we break it down into the type/style hierarchy, is this even a concern anymore? I mean, a "sable flat" is a "sable flat". It doesn't really matter what its used for, right? A "hog bristle filbert" will always be a "hog bristle filbert". That will never change - hehe. A "synthetic fan blender" is what it is. It is up to the artist to determine the appropriate application.

If my thinking is accurate here, then we could dispense with the higher part of the brush hierarchy (oil brushes, watercolor brushes, etc.). It might look something like:

- Red Sable - Flats/Brights - Royal & Langnickel: Pure Red Sable ... - Rounds - Fans - Blenders - Filberts - Kolinsky Sable ... - Black Fitch ... - Hog Bristle ... - Synthetic Bristle ... - Synthetic Sable ... - etc

In this manner, we can compare items of the same material and style.

I think we're getting close here ...

B. Scott Burkett
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing Copal!"
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Old 09-17-2002, 12:09 AM
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You're right! That's sounds good to me.
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Old 09-17-2002, 12:19 AM
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robinsn robinsn is offline
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Actually, on second thought, wouldn't it be even better to have it the other way around?

-Other synthetic


'Cause sometimes you might want a filbert you you may not be totally sold on the material.
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Old 09-17-2002, 12:27 AM
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scottb scottb is offline
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Yeah, I think you're right ...
B. Scott Burkett
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing Copal!"
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Old 12-02-2002, 01:52 PM
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Elankat Elankat is offline
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I think that breaking it down by material and type is a good way to go. Then, just add a question in the review that says something like "Recommended Mediums"

So, you could have something like

--Kolinsky Sable
----Escoda Series 1212 Tajmir

Recommended Mediums: Watercolor

As far as watercolor brushes go, I really like the way they are reviewed at http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/brush3.html

I think that comfort can be such a subjective thing. I like that the review uses a standard, such as the #6 size brush and lists measurements for the brush length and ferrule. Silly me, but I also like that it mentions the styling of the brush, how it snaps, and the crimping/tightness of the ferrule.

You will also want to add Cheap Joe's and Daniel Smith's brushes into the list.
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Old 12-02-2002, 02:04 PM
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Good thoughts, Elankat. I'm planning on focusing on brushes more, once I finally roll out watercolors and pastels.
B. Scott Burkett
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing Copal!"
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Old 01-21-2003, 05:01 PM
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G.L. Hoff G.L. Hoff is offline
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Hi, Scott--

Just looked in here after noticing that brushes aren't a selection in the product reviews section...so here's my 2 cents about the discussion so far:

I don't agree with the idea of dividing brushes by shape. While the usage is always up to the painter, brushes are made with a specific paint or other material in mind. Granted, sables or natural hair can be used with many kinds of paint, but not hog bristle, often not badger, etc. Instead, I'd divide the categories by the painting medium--i.e watercolor brushes, acrylic brushes, oil brushes, etc--and I think it'd be easier for a particular painter to look them up that way, rather than dividing the whole category by brush shape...that is, painters look for the kind brush by knowing what kind of painting they want to do with it. Oil brushes are different than watercolor (longer handles, hog bristles aren't used for wc much, etc); natural fiber brushes aren't recommended by many when using acrylic paint; etc, etc.

As to the qualities of brushes and how they're rated:

construction--how firm is the glue (ie do hairs fall out after the first use?), how are the ferrules, the handles, etc.?

durability--how long can you use 'em?

value (ie price vs. lasting power)

material (bristle, hair, synthetic)

service (okay, you're rating the company here, not the product, but that's not necessarily bad--do they provide warranty? do they provide help promptly? etc)

Also, no one has mentioned my favorite brand of brushes (only available online): Trekell. You can find 'em at
Gary Hoff
Sturgeon's Law: ninety percent of everything is crud; it's the ten percent that isn't crud that is important.
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Old 02-27-2003, 03:01 AM
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Jazz Jazz is offline
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This may be a very dumb addition to your questions but how about value for money??

As a disabled person on Benefits this is a high priority for me! Also what about availability. As you say many vendors internet sites are not uptodate and do not include all the series they stock??

Just ignore me if that was a stupid suggestion lol.

I am very new to watercolour and I have not even tried the other mediums needing brushes so I will not be able to review but I can have a think about what else I might need to know? Would that be at all useful?

Warm Regards,

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Old 11-12-2003, 04:37 AM
Neeman Neeman is offline
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As a designer of searchable database IMHO
I would suggest:

Head style: Round

Material: Natural

Handle Length: Short (Watercolor)
Long (Oils)

Manufactuter: W&N

Series: No 7

Qualities: Point

This structure will get you to every type of brush with the most logical search.
I do not know what you search ablities of the database is.
Can you search by all these catogories, ie a simple query.

Any questions, please reply.
I can do this for any product review.


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Old 04-03-2004, 02:50 AM
2ndary 2ndary is offline
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Lightbulb Re: FOCUS GROUP: Brushes

Hi Scott,

As a new artist searching endlessly for brushes I have come across various artists and Dick Blick selling their sets of brushes ---their particular selections for portrait oils for example. Some are their own line and some are a mix of several different manufacturers and to do the same type of works they use various different brushes. In my efforts to determine what to purchase I am tempted to purchase such sets at times. Would you please include "sets" in the brush ratings. Also, I think we should have a ratings vote count to reflect the number of reviews that determined the rating of any and all things in the whole forum.

As far as brush rating catagories I would like to see a "most equivilent to..." catagory. It seems to me it would help a great deal for us users to fully understand what the brush is like. If I already have brand X # so & so I will better understand what brush Y is really like to use before I purchase it. Here again, this may be useful all across the forum. Rather than just using bare statistics to compare it allows the user almost an equivilent to a test ride & that is what we need and why we are here in the first place. If I can help you just let me know.

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Old 04-14-2004, 10:03 PM
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clautenslager clautenslager is offline
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Re: FOCUS GROUP: Brushes

Don't forget your 40% discount coupon from Michaels Craft store.
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Old 03-25-2007, 12:03 PM
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LordScorpius LordScorpius is offline
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Re: FOCUS GROUP: Brushes

I look at brushes and simply, "why should I pay that price?" Amazing clarity occurs. $24.50 for a brush that is made of Wood, Enamel and Nylon. $1.99 for a brush which is made of plastic with Nylon bristles. Hmmm... I'll take the Royal Softgrips for $1.99 please!
Because... as with all things of fun and pleasure, you're going to get it on your tool. Gee, I meant that differently than it looks on the page... anyway, beautiful, fancy wood, other than Cypress, is going to be painted on, swell and crack. Plastic, no. Is it a better quality of Nylon? No! It's the same stuff in your mamma's panty hose, just fabricated differently.
DEMAND value for price paid and inflation will die!
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:59 AM
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nitepainter nitepainter is offline
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Re: FOCUS GROUP: Brushes

I have a question for anyone out there. So far I have never had a synthetic brush (watercolor or Oil) that was worth a damn. Can anyone recommend one. They all start out OK, but I have noticed most of them cannot retain a good point after any serious usage.

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