There are many different types and makes of brushes available for use in painting miniatures. They come in a myriad of different sizes, shapes and are made from many different materials.What types of painting hairs and bristles are used in paint brushes and which are the best.
Paint brushes are made from stiff or soft hairs, which be either natural hairs or synthetic fibres. Soft brushes are ideal for thin paint which spreads easily, and for detailed work as they form a sharp point which allows for precision painting. Robust, hard brushes are ideal for pushing around thick paint and for creating brush marks in the paint.Is natural hair better than synthetic?
Modern synthetic brushes are excellent and have the advantage of being cheaper than natural hair. Purists will tell you that no synthetic fibre can beat a Kolinsky sable, considered the ultimate of soft hairs because of its flexibility and strength, which give an artist great control. If you're at all squeamish about or ideologically opposed to the sources of natural hair, then synthetic brushes are the way to go.
As a person enters the hobby, it is safe to say that the thing most on people's minds is buying the miniatures. Very little thought is giving to the types and makes of brushes available and, again, in most cases, we choose two or three from the nearest Games Workshop store.
Games Workshop sells a range of brushes that have been specially selected for painting miniatures, models, and scenery.Games Workshop RangeDetail Brush and Fine Detail brush: As the names suggest, these brushes are aimed at painting fine detail on miniatures.Standard Brush: Aimed at use with most painting work such as highlighting, ink, washes, etc.Basecoat Brush: Aimed at covering large areas, including the entire miniature when base-coating.Large Brush: Again, intend for the painting of large areas.Small and Large Dry-Brushes: Aimed at using for the technique known as drybrushing.Tank Brush: Aimed at painting vehicles, scenery and other large areas.ProArte Prolene Series 101
The filament used in the manufacture of this range of brushes not only has the appearance of finest quality sable hair, but it actually reproduces some of the special characteristics for which sable has become renowned.
It has a similar degree of spring and possesses the same fine pointing qualities too.
The finest asset of Prolene is perhaps its ability to withstand the general wear and tear and the rigours of misuse, but what makes Prolene even more attractive is the low cost in comparison to the real thing. Seamless nickel ferrules. Black polished handles with gold tips.
Sizes 000 and 0000 are ideal for fine detail work.Cotman - Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton's Cotman long-handled pure synthetic brushes are made with the same skill as the finest sable brushes. The secret to Cotman brushes lies in the fibers. By blending fibers of different thicknesses, the three most important qualities sought after by artists are achieved. The thicker fibres contribute strength and spring while the thinner fibers improve color-holding capacity. Together they retain a perfect point if the brushes are well cared for.Caring for your Brushes
When purchasing brushes, make sure they come with a Tip Protector. This is usually just a piece of plastic tubing, however it is essential for keeping your brush tips in top condition.
Make sure you have something suitable for cleaning your brushes thoroughly. An excellent product is The Masters Brush Cleaner & Preserver
and is available from art suppliers. This cleaner is used with water to thoroughly clean (even down to the ferrule), condition and preserve all types of bristles and will actually restore most old, stiff brushes to like-new condition.Overall
There are many, many different types of brushes out there that are ideal for use in the hobby.
The 2 main brushes you should be using are firstly 'Rounds'. These are your typical round tipped brushes and used for all aspects of painting, whether it be base-coating, fine-Lining or Blending.
Secondly, try using a Flat brush for techniques such as Dry-Brushing. The Flat-Tipped brushes deliver a much finer quality whilst Dry-Brushing as there is a lot less paint being drawn up into the bristles.
Shop around and see what you can find and dont be scared to try different makes for different tasks.