A few weeks ago, I started this category of tool reviews and helpful tips on my Instagram account. Now, I’ve decided to move it to my blog as it provides better styling options. Last week, someone had a question regarding painting brushes. Here’s my collection! These are the brushes that are currently in use for various tasks. I use only a few for actual acrylic painting. The two long-handle brushes on the left are my go-to brushes for this. They’re Grumbacher (Round, 8, acrylic) and Winsor & Newton (Flat, 4, oil). The latter is actually meant to be used with oils, but I have found that more ridged brushes are easier to work with. They also don’t get damaged by the rough surface of canvas as fast, and tend to leave less bristles on the painting.
This is what happens with my acrylic brushes after a while. They get all bushy, and the bristles tend to point in random directions. As it turns out, sometimes one can fix this by dipping the brush in boiling water for a few seconds. Please use caution if you’re going to try this.
The cheap oil brush set (Artcolor) that I got years ago still works for me, and it doesn’t seem to leave as many bristles in the paintings. There’s a catch, though; these painting brushes tend to wear off more quickly if used on ridged canvas surfaces. Therefore, the bristles don’t just fall out, they simply disintegrate instead. It might be a good idea to use these for practice and, with time, invest into a better quality product. I rarely use them nowadays; they’re more like a clean back-up tool.
I have recently found my old Squirrel watercolor brush set, and these are incredibly pleasing to work with. They’re so soft and easy to work with; the paint just glides on. These tend to lose some bristles when they’re very new, but stop shedding after a while.
I use cheap acrylic paint sets like ArtLoft mostly to apply mica powders and varnishes to polymer clay, to paint polymer clay figurines, and to dust off various things in a creative process. These are my go-to tools for dirty jobs that might ruin the brush.
Finally, there’s a mix of brushes that I got from ArtSnacks. I haven’t used these extensively, but I tend to grab them every now and then. The notable ones are Princeton Velvetouch (8, red color in the photo) and Raphael (2), mostly for their handles. I haven’t used them extensively enough to be able to tell anything about the actual quality of the pieces. But those handles are awesome! The Velvetouch feels really good in the hand, doesn’t slip, and overall it’s the kind of a brush that one wants to hold onto. The Raphael brush has a short handle, and it’s a perfect size for painting on the go.
In addition to the brushes that I buy for painting, I also tend to buy brushes for their case. These are some examples of cheaper brushes that I bought just because they came with an awesome carrying case. The “Hand Made Modern” brushes tend to lose a lot of bristles, but the roll up case is great for carrying my other brushes! I haven’t used the “Shuttle Art” brush set yet, so I cannot say anything about their quality. However, I can say that it’s money well spent just by looking at the case.
I use all kinds of brushes for my creative work, and even the lower quality sets can be used for something like applying varnish.