Walking into a new art store is always a mix of excitement and intimidation, especially when looking for new paint brushes. Will a new brand produce better results or should I stick to the ones I know and love? How much of a change is a different line by the same brand going to be? It may sound look a bit obsessive to someone on the outside looking in (I know some of my family members still wonder what’s wrong with Walmart brushes) but there can be a very large difference in the quality of a painting! Don’t get me wrong, having the best brush in the world isn’t going to make your art automatically look fabulous. However, a great brush in knowledgeable hands can only improve the quality of your work.
The Handpainted Feathers take very small brushes for a majority of the work, the average used is between 5/0 and 20/0. Just finding good brushes in those sizes is challenging enough! I’ve settled (for the moment) on Creative Mark brand brushes. They’ve got a wide variety of types of brushes for watercolor, oil, and acrylic work. The ones I’ve used are the Micro Mini and the Beste lines.
Micro Mini VS. Beste
They’re both made with Golden Taklon hair, so I figured “Hey, same material equals about the same quality of brush!” No, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Let me say, that neither one of them is horrible. Both lines are in my brush jar and both are used. But there is a definite difference in the quality. So let’s go over a little bit of each with the photos below. These were just a few second paint scribbles, so look at the difference in the actual strokes rather than critique the technique.
On each photo, the Beste is on the left while Micro Mini is on the right. Both used the same techniques, but the Micro Mini still took more dips in the paint to achieve it. The paint had better flow off of the Beste line as well. While not abhorrent, Micro Mini line didn’t compare if I need long thin lines. This is absolutely crucial when doing feathers, eyes, and fur! The other side of this, is that the Micro Mini’s provide a bit more texture if you’re looking to create a masterpiece that’s not on a delicate feather.
While out of the same material, the Beste brushes maintained their shape much better after several paintings. The Micro Mini’s, while resilient, aren’t able to maintain their fine original points for long despite the use of brush conditioner. This also means more effort to get detailed lines with the Micro Mini line.
Because Beste’s hold more paint AND had a better flow, they also blended color on the feather much better. The Micro Mini’s got a bit more sloppy and generally take more effort to get the same results.
I love the Micro Mini’s for some of the Polymer Clay work like our Sugar Skulls, but for feather painting, it’s Beste all the way!
What’s the price difference between the two? Micro Mini’s list price is by the set, but averages out to about $6.08USD a brush (that’s a little under $72.00USD for the set of 12). Beste brushes start at $6.05USD and quickly jump, though the micro’s stay under $10.00USD. While they have a few sets, it’s usually easier for me to pick and choose the ones I want individually.
What brushes are your favorites to use and why do you like them? Leave us a comment or send us a message! We’re always looking to hear from fellow artisans!