Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brush Cleaner

I'm a cynic in general and especially when it comes to rave product testimonials. I always wonder if the person's a paid shill or getting a kickback. Still, late last year I was cruising the interwebs and came across a post on caring for your brushes.

Now after ruining my first few brush sets, I picked up the normal care stuff like cleaning and rinsing as I go, cleaning with a bit of soap at the end of the day, storing them so that the tips don't get smooshed... all that. But I'll admit, over the years I've mainly bought GW brushes. Their drybrushes are pretty nice and the normal ones aren't that bad. Even better, they're readily available and not too expensive. So if one died, it wasn't any big deal. While "art store" brushes might be nicer or hold a point longer, the costs never balanced out. They would be three times the price to only get twice the longevity. So I only bothered with a nicer brand for my detailing brush.

Then Thanksgiving '09 rolls around and the family is headed out of town to spend the weekend with the in-laws. Now an evil thing about Tucson is that my favorite art supply shop is right next door to my favorite coffee shop. It's a dangerous combination for my checkbook... If you're ever in town, swing by the area. It's worth the time. They get bean from Intelligentsia and have a pre-Starbucks Clover! There's also a large used bookstore about a block away. It's not Powell's, but decent and local. Also cruise across town to stop at Hat's Games and drop me an e-mail if you want to arrange a game!

Ack, back on topic! Faced with the choice of several days socializing with my in-laws or sitting on the porch painting minis, I needed a new detailing brush! We stop to get coffee for the drive and I pop into the art store. A master of swiftly grasping the obvious, the big neon orange "30% off" sign on Escoda brushes eventually catches my eye. I decide to splurge and pick up a few brushes, including a size 6 shader. (I've been VERY happy with it.) Ironically, due to an error on my part, the detailers I picked up were actually watercolor brushes. Thankfully, my wife and some friends do watercolor Illumination and can use them.

Anyways! While I was standing there in line contemplating how to tell my wife that I just spent the cost of a sushi dinner on three tiny brushes, my eye falls upon this:Yes, a jar of "The Master's" Brush Cleaner and the eventual topic of this post! I figured I was already spending too much and remembered that article I'd recently read... so I tossed in a jar to try it out.

This stuff is AWESOME.

So awesome, I was tempted to make "AWESOME" animated with sparklies...

One of the color shifts I've always hated switching between is from painting red to painting white/bone. Yes, the same colors as my Eldar army. Why do I hate this so? Because despite how transparent GW red is, the damned pigment is PERVASIVE. You can clean your brush obsessively and it will STILL creep back in and tint your clean white lines an annoying pink! I already get enough guff for being an Eldar player, I certainly don't need them PINK!

So how awesome is this cleaner? Let me tell you... no, no, let me SHOW you! I did a bunch of Mechrite Red on a Broodlord for a friend and then cleaned my brush. The brush was dipped into clean water, spun at an angle against the side of the water cup to open up the bristles, and then the head and ferrule were press wiped on a napkin. Here's what the napkin looked like after cleaning with water:I did 2 sets of wipes with 6 on each row for a total of 12 wipes. The end result looks pretty clean, right? Well, then I immediately took the "clean" brush and did the same process with brush cleaner. Here's the result:All the pink you see is what came out AFTER I'd already "cleaned" the brush with water. How about an overall shot:With the brush actually clean now, I was able to immediately switch to working with white and didn't have any pink discoloration. Even better, this stuff can help restore old brushes and helps your current brush keep it's shape longer.

So pick some up and try it out. You won't be disappointed. Just don't forget to rinse your brush before sticking it in your mouth... this stuff tastes almost as horrible as GW's Foundation paints. (You should never stick your brushes in your mouth... don't ask me why I know how these things taste. :-p )

Cheers and hope you've enjoyed my mad ramblings this afternoon! I needed something to do and knew better than to try and paint fine detail when doped up on cough medicine. Maybe I should apply that rule to blogging too...

UPDATE: It looks like I'm not the only one shilling for General Pencil this weekend... The esteemed Colonel Corbane also posted on how awesome this stuff is. Great minds think alike or simple minds seldom differ? :-p

And no, I didn't receive a dime for any of the links in this post.

***Images grabbed from this site, General Pencil and my camera.***


  1. Link overload! *Head Explodes!*

    Good article though, and I may well consider that idea. At the moment I simply switch between one of my three Detail brushes. lol

  2. Thanks - I enjoyed readin this!

    I routinely stick 'em in my mouth to reshape them, and have done for years and years. I have at least one bruch left over from horrid 2nd edition paint jobs that still gets ...licked fairly often.

    Mind you, I have in the past noticed a correlation between paintbrush sucking and a mild sore throat...

  3. @TKE: Well, I wouldn't be a proper shill if I didn't link to the product! If you do try it, let me know what you think. It's not quite as awesome as Gesso or Future, but still up there as one of the better buys I've made in years.

    @Drax: Cheers and glad you enjoyed! And yeah, I also reshape the tip with my mouth. You can always tell when I've been painting because there will be paint on the right side of my moustache (reshaping) and the back of my left thumb (wiping palette). It's a bad habit I try not to teach and have to suppress when working with oils and enamels.

  4. It is a very good product and I have another suggestion.. Depending on the store, you can find combo-packs of that product. I've been using the same soap for years. There is a package you can buy that has the small round tub, a full sized bar (body soap size) and a tube of Kiss-Off. K-O is the ultimate cleaner for the really tough stains. It's commonly used on clothes and rubber stamp ink. I found it to work well on thicker metallic paints.

  5. @ChimeraHiveMind: Thanks for the good suggestion! I'll have to keep an eye out for that. Even though I'm not 1/5 into my current tub of cleaner, I was thinking of getting another one to toss into my wife's illumination kit. Might as well get the combo pack while I'm at it...

  6. Ah, great minds - lol! Cracking write up mate.

  7. May have to keep an eye out for that stuff...