Are Cheap Watercolor Brushes Worth it For Beginners?

With the availability of watercolor brushes in the market, enthusiasts of the hobby have options. They can buy cheap or expensive brushes depending on their budget. 

Most beginners prefer to purchase cheap watercolor brushes because it is affordable and they can buy a better brush next time they have more experience in doing the art.

Some people may find the activity, not to their liking, and they would prefer to buy cheaper watercolor brushes, while some have another option once they get the feel of the hobby. 

Cheap watercolor brushes are also worthy for beginners cause they don’t need to shell out that much cash during their first try at the art. This is better for people who like to try the activity, so they are not forced to spend too much when they are unsure if they will do the hobby for a long time. 

There are distinct considerations when buying watercolor brushes, such as the following;

What Hair Type is Best for Watercolor Brushes?

The distribution of the medium on the surface depends on the hair type, performance relies on a brush with a particular fiber or hair.

The hair must bounce back to its normal shape after use. Various brands of watercolor brushes can be bought online, but it would help you to check the brush in a store.

Holding it in your hand and seeing how it feels in your hand can make a difference as well. The snap of the brush and the silver part of the bristle and the handle are of prime quality. This part is vital cause sometimes this shows wear and tear after a few uses. 

  • Hog Bristle – Used on larger canvass and can carry more paint. Most brands are affordable and durable, so you are sure to have a brush you can use for a long time without the need to spend more. 
  • Sable – Derived from the tail of the sable, an animal species and considered one of the best brush there is. Sable brush maintains their efficiency, texture, and shape for many years, and if used properly, you will have a perfect time using them. There are differences in price for a sable brush, and you can get a highly expensive one, yet there are available brands on a budget. 
  • Camel Bristle – This is just the name they call it, but does not naturally come from a camel. Made from unique blends of natural hair that are not as efficient when used as compared to other bristles. 
  • Synthetic Bristle – Either made from polyester or nylon and gives out a reasonable performance, they compare it to the structure of natural hairs. However, this type of bristle doesn’t hold as much paint and does not distribute it well on canvass because of highly smooth bristles. This type of brush can be a suitable alternative for sable and is more affordable. 
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How Important is the Shape of Paint Brushes?

There is the availability of watercolor brushes of different shapes depending on the techniques you will use it on. 

  • Round brush – More commonly used as a brush for different techniques. Used for washes, broad strokes, minor details, and delicate lines. 
  • Flat Brushes – Suitable for washes and linear strokes and not as commonly used as round brushes. You can buy this in synthetic fiber or natural hair, even those that are priced high. It is also called the one-stroke brush. 
  • Spotter Brush – Likened to a round brush, but smaller. It has shorter bristles as well for added control. When you need to add some details or last finish retouch, this is the brush to use. 
  • Rigger Brush – Round brush with longer bristles and can hold more paint as needed. There is a cheap and expensive brand of these brushes, and you can buy one depending on the extent you will use them.
  • Wash Brushes – Compared to flat brushes, but wider, and this brush is suitable for applying loads of paint in one go. 

Selecting the brush size will depend on where you will use them and what technique. Some larger brushes are good for washes and bold strokes, while small brushes are used for touch-up and last detail work.

The mid-sized brush may be used for any stroke or technique. Although there are a number of sizes you can choose from, you may need to pick one or two that you can use for the technique you know, or you can also buy the entire set that will be pricier. 

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How to Take Care of Your Watercolor Brushes

Even if you have the most expensive brushes there are, but you don’t have any clue on how to take care of them, you are looking at buying a new set after a few months and this is going to cost you. Here are some tips you can do to take care of your brushes, and it is not too difficult to do. 

  • Use brush depending on their purpose and not for anything else. This will shorten the lifespan and give you a bad outcome if you use it when you paint. 
  • Do not point the bristle at dry pigments cause you need to pre-moisten the pigments before use. 
  • Clean your brush after use. You can use the sink with running water to rinse the brushes you used, and then you can soap the bristle or hair in a gentle, circular motion. 
  • Rinse the brush one by one by using your palm as the spot to swirl the brush while under running water. 
  • Make sure that there are no suds left, and every bristle has no watercolor left. 
  • Gently squeeze each brush or use a dry towel to dry each. 
  • Wipe each brush dry without using too much force on the bristle area. 

Place the brush on any dry surface and let each brush lay flat on a dry cloth to remove moisture. Do not remove unless you have confirmed that the bristles are all dried out, and so is the handle. You can also air-dry the brushes if you wish, but again, make sure that it is dry after a few hours.

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