Mini Tips Tuesday #1: Brush Care

It’s here! Our very first Tuesday Tips. I’ll be doing this on the first Tuesday of each month. (Apologies for being a day late, I had some technical issues to fix.)

First up is brush care! It is one of the most important things in painting. There is a lot to know and consider when it comes to care. 

“Why is brush care so important anyway?”

Brush care is important because if you don’t care for them properly or at all you will be going through brushes like they’re nothing. Some brushes, especially real hair brushes, can run upwards of $20USD for one brush. So like all of your tools you will want to keep them in working shape. You can be a little rougher on brushes that are meant for jobs that may be for dry brushing and similar painting techniques. A little extra care after painting is probably the most important thing. Not only will it save you hassle later one but it will save you money.

“What should I do to prepare my brushes for painting?”

When you first get your brushes you will want to clean them before you even start painting. Many manufacturers will put a glue of sorts in the bristles. This is to keep them from fraying and getting ruined in transit to you. Most paint brush companies will put a plastic tube over the tip for extra protection. Warm, not hot, water should suffice but if you want to use a soap as well then do it.

“What should I do while I paint to keep them in working order?”

While you are painting there are several things you can do to keep brushes in good shape. One thing to do is never let paint get up into the ferrule(the metal bit that holds the bristles to the handle). If you see the paint start getting too far up the bristles stop what you are doing and rinse as well as you can. If paint dries in the ferrule it can cause the bristles to split and splay out. If it gets to that point you will want to use a restorer to fix it. 

Next, if you are using paints from pots, use a cheap brush to move paint from the pot to the palette. You will want to use this brush or another cheap one to also mix and/or thin your paint. These two things are very hard on brushes. If you don’t want to use another brush for mixing just use the other end of the handle to stir it up. It is also a good idea to rinse your brush frequently, even if using the same color. This will help keep paint out of the ferrule. Also, never leave your brush sitting tip down in your water cup. This will cause the bristles to bend and become misshapen. Pick a specific brush for dry brushing. This is very rough on brushes and can ruin them quickly. Speaking of separate brushes you can use a different brush for metallic paint which can be harder on brushes than other paints.  Lastly, and this is a big one don’t let paint dry on your brushes, this again will make them unusable. 

“What do I do after painting?”

Always use warm, not hot, water to rinse well after a session. Many paint brushes have wax inside the ferrule that keeps it attached to the handle. This can loosen up over time if you use hot water regularly. After your initial rinse use your brush soap and gently massage it into the bristles. Rinse and repeat this until the water runs clear. Once it is clean use a little bit of the soap to reshape your brush and let it dry. This will not only condition your brushes but will keep them in the proper shape and will most likely keep it from splaying out. Of course you want to remember to wash it out before you start your next painting session.

“What kind of product(s) do I use to clean my brushes?”

There are many, many, many types of cleaners out there for cleaning your paint brushes. The most common thing I have seen recommended is Masters Brush Cleaner and Preserver. This works as both a soap and a conditioner. If you have real hair brushes it is highly advised to use something that is both. For synthetic brushes you can get away with just a soap. I would also strongly suggest you get a soap specifically for brushes and not just use whatever you have lying around the house. For this post I’m going to focus on two types of soap. The Masters soap and Pink Soap. 

Masters soap is a hard puck, like a bar of soap, that comes in a small tub. For these purposes you probably don’t need more than a 1 or 2.5 ounce tub. It is intended to help clean after a painting session and then to be left in after cleaning as a conditioner. 

Pink Soap is a liquid soap and conditioner. I find it has similar cleaning abilities as the Masters soap but I feel it’s a little easier to work with in some cases because it is a liquid.

“How often should I clean them?”

It is recommended that you wash them every time you are done painting. The cleaner your brushes are when you start a painting session the better your brushes will work for you. 

“What is a brush restorer and how do I use it?”

Brush restorer is when you need to clean paint out of a ferrule. I’ll talk about the Winsor and Newton brush restorer. It is a water based cleaner that you soak your brushes in for a short amount of time. You want to ONLY soak the brush tip and the very end of the ferrule. If you get this on the handle or anything with paint on it it will strip that away. In some cases getting it on the handle will leave the paint tacky and rendering the brush unuseable. You also want to make sure that you use this in a glass container because it can melt plastic.

To use, pour some restorer into your glass jar first. Then you will set up your brushes so the tips won’t rest on the bottom of the jar, this will make them misshapen. I have found you only want to soak in 5 minute intervals. The bottle says to soak them overnight, I have done this and ruined more than one brush. After 5-ish minutes you will want to gently push the ferrule against a clean paper towel and pull towards you. Do this several times and then rinse with warm water. Then you may repeat pulling it across the paper towel. Once no more paint is coming out you should rinse the brush thoroughly to make sure all of the restorer is out of the bristles and then make sure to use a conditioner to restore the oils, in natural hair brushes, keeping them in working condition. 

There are other types of restorers out there. Such as the Mona Lisa Brush Shaper. This works more or less like a conditioner. You put some in after cleaning and then shape the tip and let dry. It seems to work well on brushes that are pretty beat up. It can’t save everything though.

A New Thing and a Special Project

So first up is the special project I’ve been working on for ages. It is still very much a WIP but here are some pics to tide you over until it’s done!

Reaper Miniatures Ma’al Drakar
(minus wings and terrain)

Those are some quick photos of the eyes, which still need a little refining, and a dry fit to see how the heads look together.

Now for the new thing. I’ve been Doing a thing on Instagram for a few weeks where every Tuesday I briefly talk about tips that I have found or been given over the years. I am going to expand this into a little bit of a larger format.

So, for now, the first Tuesday of each month will be Tips Tuesday here. I will take the tip or tips I post about and expand those into a more indepth blog post. This will be starting in July or August of 2020.

I’m hoping that this new thing will help me get back into blogging about the other topics I had started that got derailed because of Life(tm).

I hope to be able to share with y’all some cool stuff and be more active here, I know I’ve been neglecting it for a while and I’m sorry for that. Anyway, looking forward to new things! Here’s to the second half of this year and beyond!

Happy Painting!

-S

Projects

I’ve been crazy busy. I feel bad for neglecting the blog but I’ve simply had no time. Hopefully, things will settle down soon and I can get back to semi-regular posts.

I’m working on two very large projects but I can’t post them currently as they are a surprise. I am still working on my Fire Giant commission. I need to have some nice weather so I can prime bits of the base. Then I need to actually paint the base. But after that I can send it off to it’s home!

Here’s some sneak peeks from one of the secret projects and a mini I finished and assembled but have yet to base.

Sana from Hasslefree Miniatures

Quarantine

So, I haven’t left the house in…a while. I am at a higher risk for all of this going on because I have pretty bad asthma. I’ve been painting quite a bit but pretty quiet about it since some of it is a surprise for a game group. Here’s a couple pictures of my most recent small project that I finished as a challenge to get me out of a painting rut.

I’ve gotten some small stuff done and even a commission since I last updated. I’m currently working on a larger commission of a Fire Giant Jailor from Reaper Miniatures. Here are a couple pics of that work in progress.

Goals & Website Revamp

It’s February already! As per usual I’ve got some goals and some heads up stuff.

So. Goals first:

I am currently working on several projects.

  • First I have a commission! That should be done in a week and a half or so.
  • Second being a conversion piece that I can’t talk too much about until it is revealed to the players.
  • Third I am working on building World Works Games paper boat The Maiden.
  • And last, I’m working on a PC mini for myself, Sana from Hasslefree.

Now a heads up!

Sometime soon I will be redoing the site and it will be down for a while. Just wanted to give y’all a heads up. I’m not disappearing just making things a little more aesthetically pleasing to me and, hopefully, you.

Artist’s Arsenal Brushes: A Review

Hello, dear readers! 

For the holiday season I gifted myself a new set of brushes! I am going to tell you all about them but, first, I will again mention that I paid for these with my own money and am not being paid for the review.

The set is called the Artist’s Arsenal. They are made by Game Envy, the same people behind the Hobby Holder which I love so much. So when I found out they were making brushes I knew I had to get some and let you all know how well they hold up to my standard.

If you buy the set, rather than buying the brushes individually, you will get 5 Kolinsky sable brushes (sizes 000, 00, 0, 1, and 2), a brush beam to rest your brushes on when not in hand, and a handy travel tube. It all comes packaged in the tube. My brush beam was wrapped in tissue paper but I got excited and opened it before taking pictures. It cost $40USD for the set.

First up, brushes! 

Each brush comes with protectors to keep the tips intact during shipping. I found that unlike many brushes I purchase that the protectors go back on quite easily without issue. This is good because it will actually allow me to use the travel tube and not worry about the tips getting bent in transit. It will also allow me a much more compact option than carrying around my brush case which takes up more than double the space the tube does.

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They also have fun names. Each size has the names of different types of swords. From smallest to largest they are the Foil (000), the Sabre (00), the Epee (0), the Spear (1), and the Lance (2). I think that’s a neat touch. I could see not knowing what size a brush might be but knowing the name of the brush might be helpful in finding a replacement if needed. These are also sold individually so no need to buy a whole set again if you only want one or two of the brushes.

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I used them quite aggressively for a few days over the holidays. I have found that they hold shape really well. I had no issues with the tips curling or bending in weird ways. I did have a couple stray hairs but nothing a little rinse wouldn’t fix, I did not have to trim these away. They also spring back to a point very well when I remove the brush from the mini. They have a good sized belly for holding lots of paint so I didn’t have to go back to my palette as often as I would usually.

The brush beam, which is essentially a brush rest, is a handy thing. It lets me set my brush down while using them without losing them which I am prone to do. It is compact so it also fits in the travel tube to keep from being lost.

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Overall, I think they are great brushes and I can foresee them lasting a long time. Will they replace my beloved Rosemary & Co. brushes? I’m not sure yet, I’ll have to work with them a bit longer but they will be in my regular rotation.

If you’ve got anymore specific questions leave them in the comments or send me a message and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. 

Happy Painting,

S

2020: Hobby Resolutions

2020 is almost here! Where did the decade go!? I’ve been painting for more than half of it now and I never want to turn back. It gives me peace and calm when I am able to completely focus and I love that. I never saw myself doing this but here I am now 6 1/2 years later.

Now time for some hobby resolutions. I had to think really hard about this and I’m still not sure this is a final list of things I want to accomplish.

  • Finish Ma’al Drakar
  • Paint Stuffed Fables
  • Try to blog more
  • Do the embroidery for All Mini’s Eve calendar
    • Finish calendar
  • Level up my basing skills
  • Work on learning more photography skills
  • Continue clearing the Shelf of Shame
  • Organize hobby room to be more efficient

This list may grow and things may be removed over the year but this is my core idea of getting stuff done. I may not post again until after the new year so Happy New Year to all of you!

Happy Painting,

-S

Minivember 2019: Report

I am saddened to say that Minivember this year was not completed.

I got to 22 finished minis. I had a whole lot of personal stuff as well as being sick that got in the way. With that said, with everything I faced I think I did pretty well. I didn’t give up my standard for the project and I just didn’t give up period. I worked up until the end of the 30th to finish but I just couldn’t quite reach the goal.

I would say there is next year but there may not be for me. I am working on another month long project for October, which is a little less hectic for me, that will be taking place. I’m not going to say it’s definitely my last Minivember but it could be.

I’ll announce more next year when it gets closer.

Happy painting!

-S

Minivember 2019: Days 3-18

I dropped the ball. I’m behind because I’ve been sick all month. I’m currently trying to catch up on the…several days I am behind by.

I threw out the calendar to save some time and paint. I’m still painting the models on the calendar just not in that order. Not all of the pictures are great and some of the minis aren’t the cleanest but for times sake I had to call it good enough. I’ll go back at the end of the month and do bases and touch-ups.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

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Courtesan

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Fungal Handmaiden

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Rivani, Iconic Psychic

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Nemesra, Dancing Girl

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Dark Elf Priestess

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Dark Elf Wizard

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Dark Elf Female Warrior

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Dark Elf Elite

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Dark Elf Male Warrior

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Juliana, Herbalist

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The Crimson Herald

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Greybeard with Orb