Things of No Interest: Hobby Painting - Brushes

Things of No Interest: Hobby Painting - Brushes

Hobby painters are funny. Maybe human beings are just funny - and by that I mean quirky. People that play tabletop games are of course quirky (but in my experience, not all that differently quirky than lots of hobbyists as things relate to their hobbies). But of course, miniature painters are a whole category of quirky within the tabletop gaming world.

A couple things recently caught my interest - different discussions, posts, videos etc that related to painting, so I thought I'd just share some random thoughts about some Things of No Interest. Today we are talking about... paint brushes.

When you boil it down, you basically need three (hundred) things to paint minis. Minis, paint, and one or more brushes. I belong to a couple of different groups on BGG and FB for minis and one of the most frequently asked questions is some variation of, "What brushes do you use?", "What brushes are the best?", "What brushes should I start with as a beginner?"

I'm not even going to try and answer which you should use. One, I'm no expert. Two, google can help you research.

I can tell you what I use and why. I mean, at one point I was asking the same questions. I currently use Kolinsky Sable brushes by Kalish. The general consensus seems to be that Kolinsky Sable is the best choice for a lot of painting. The overwhelming brand recommended in most painting forums is the Windsor and Newton Series 7 (and if you want to know why, watch this short review video).


I do not own any Windsor and Newton brushes. You don't need to own any to do quality work (but after watching this video recently, I may go play with my brushes and seriously consider buying some). For the most part, I've been happy with my Kalish brushes. They are reasonably priced ($7-8 each, including shipping) and work well for me - and that is really the key. Finding a set of tools that work well for you. I'm not a pro painter, I don't do it for money and I don't enter competitions, so spending 3x as much money per brush (to this point) hasn't seemed reasonable to me, as I'm not frustrated with the tools I have.

I have used a number of different brushes since I started painting and most were cheap synthetic brushes. I started spending a little bit on sable brushes, because the synthetics didn't hold sharp points well on my 0 and 00 brushes. That being said, I also started taking better care of my brushes as I spent more on better brushes and that makes a big difference too. Cleaning your brushes with brush soap after using helps keep paint out of the bristles and helps keep the tips nice and pointy.

In the last year or so, I've also started using larger brushes (size 1 and 2 vs 0 and 00). Better quality brushes with sharp points/tips do matter when you start going to larger brushes. The main reason I use larger sized brushes for my main jobs is that they hold more paint, which makes painting figures much faster.

Other than your standard round brush (which means the "belly" of the brush is round, not the brush - a round brush is actually tear shaped) I have a few other "specialty brushes I use as well. I have a pair of old beat-up flat brushes that I used for dry brushing, but they were getting to the point where I wasn't quite happy with the results. I bought a cheap package of synthetic angled flat brushes to replace them, but I haven't even tried them out yet because of this video:


Yep, I am currently (mostly) using $1 makeup brushes from Walmart to do my dry brushing. The results are as good as shown in the video. I highly recommend grabbing some and trying them out. I also keep some of the random synthetic brushes around for doing washes (so I don't stain my good/main brushes). I use one of the bigger synthetic brushes for priming the models in gesso, but I'm looking to try a new brush-on primer (out of curiosity as much as anything) so I might make the switch and ditch that brush. Or maybe I'll keep it for misc playing around - because again, the secret is finding what works for you!
Board Game Gumbo: Episode #64 with Jonny Pac

Board Game Gumbo: Episode #64 with Jonny Pac

What's Eric Playing?: Week of February 18, 2019

What's Eric Playing?: Week of February 18, 2019