Types of paintbrushes

I've been painting my model for a month or so now but I've never quite been oriented with my paintbrushes. All I had was a small pointed brush for painting a small area. I later bought a super thin pointed brush for much smaller parts & my girlfriend gave me an extra big brush from one of her sets for large areas.

My question is how do you distinguish these brushes from each other so fellow modelers know what brush I'm talking about? Can anyone suggest a site resource for this?

ALso, I would like to know the difference between a soft brush & a hard brush. Their uses & the effect they give when used.

Thanks. CH4:D

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If you go to a craft store, such as Michaels, you will find a bewildering variety of brushes. They are found in several parts of the store. I find the prices vary even for very similar prices depending on which shelf in the store it is on.

The stiff brushes are primarily for painting with thick oils and acrylics where you want to show brush texture as part of the composition. For modeling work, stay with the soft brushes.

The possible exception is for some dry brush techniques. Some of these work better with a stiff brush. I usually have enough old brushes that have gotten stiff through neglect, and use one of these rather than buying a stiff brush :-)

BTW, I find craft stores such as Michaels, JoAnns, etc, has better brushes at cheaper prices than hobby shops. As I say, almost a bewildering assortment. Don't like to stiff my local hobby shops, but for some items like paint brushes I do.

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Don Stauffer in Minneapolis

Artist's brushes usually have a "gauge", for lack of a better word, stamped on them for the size - 0000, 000, 00, 0, 1, etc. They get larger as the number gets bigger. Quad-0 is about the smallest round brush one can get.

After that, they are catagorized by shape - round, flat, fan, etc.; and by the material hey are made from - sable (my favorite), acrylic, horse hair, etc. The stiffness is generally a property of the bristle material...you just have to look and find what suits your application, and that comes through practice. Generally, a soft brush will follow the surface better and lay down a smoother, more feathered coat. A harder brush may be more suitable for drybrushing - picking up raised detail - or blending pastels by smudging...or use over a large, flat surface. The type of paint you use will also make a difference. You just have to try them and see what you prefer, I'm afraid...

I find I like a #1 sable for just about all my detail work these days. I use my airbrush and masks for just about everything else, or rattle cans for "stock" colors like flat black...just for convienience.

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Apart from the sizes (which others have commented on) look for red sable hair brushes or, if you can't afford these, Taklon hairs (which are non-natural). The red sable gives a really good finish, holds the paint well and will last for years. I use Francheville red sable and taklon, and A.J. Leeman synthetics for detail. Look at the quality of the metal 'joiner' between the hairs and the handle - the cheaper ones will not hold onto the hairs and they will fall out on your model and will also streak the paint finish. The cheaper ones will not last as long as the better ones. Andrew

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