I don’t have money coming out of my ears. That’s why I have to budget my watercolor supplies accordingly.
I’ve had awesome paper, awesome paints, but very cheap brushes. I’ve been able to get away with cheap brushes for only so long. The current painting I’m working on, I’ve had enough.
I finally saved up enough money to get decent brushes. And you know what? I’m loving it!
I’ll readily admit that decent watercolor brushes are the least important of the big three expenditures. I strongly suggest that if you only have money for one, get good paper since cheap watercolor paper should only be used by students. Good paints are the second most important expenditure.
But decent watercolor brushes do make a difference.
What makes a good watercolor brush?
In the whole scheme of things, what actually makes a good brush? Its looks?
Of course not. I don’t think anyone would care how it looks.
How it fits in your hands?
Now we’re getting closer. That matters. But it’s not really what we’re going for.
How the paint leaves the brush onto your painting surface?
Bingo! That’s the most important aspect when evaluating the top tier brushes vs mid tier brushes vs low end brushes.
The tips matter. Big time.
You’ll immediately notice that you can actually use the tips more and they’re more accurate. Before I had decent watercolor brushes, I had to continually switch to my small brushes for fine details.
Now I don’t. I’m using the larger brushes for pretty much everything. That’s one way you can tell an experienced watercolor artist – they prefer their big brushes. I’ve talked to some old time watercolor artists and that’s all they use.
I personally do a lot of fine detail. I’m really loving not having to use the small brushes so much. It may not sound like a big deal until you’re under a time crunch.
Rewetting your brushes
The other thing with the better brushes. I don’t have to rewet good brushes as often. They retain their wetness longer.
Is this a big deal? Once again, to a beginning watercolor artist, not so much. To an artist under a time crunch? Yes.
You want time savers. Plus, it’s annoying when you have to keep repeating brush strokes because your brush sucks.
What I got
Blick carries a lot of good products. I enjoy shopping there.
Their mid-range generic brushes are actually quite good. One day, I’ll buy the top tier brushes. I’m just not there financially.
It’s like Costco’s generic brand Scotch is actually quite good. It’s more than likely one of the higher tier single malt labels, but bought in enough bulk that they got a decent price on it and could relabel it as Costco brand.
Same thing with Blick. Their watercolor paper is actually one of the better papers. I actually use it or Arches. I enjoy Blick’s hot press white when I’m doing pure pinups.
That’s what I’m getting at. So it more than likely is a higher tier brand that Blick bought in bulk and can sell for a decent price. I think I only paid around $25 a brush.
Like I said, when I have more money, I’ll buy the top tier. But for now, these are pretty good brushes and a huge upgrade over what I had before.