Aside from your paint and your miniatures, paint brushes are of course essential tools that you’ll need if you’re diving into this hobby. You need a good set of paint brushes though, so make sure you read through our guide and get some useful tips on what to look for.
If you are new to miniature painting and you are still feeling out the hobby, perhaps just started on learning how to paint miniatures, it’s fine that you don’t jump directly to the expensive sable brushes. But don’t go too cheap, either. Cheap brushes won’t last you long, and can end up being a source of frustration as you start getting into the painting.
In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best and most popular miniature paintbrushes, as well as some budget-friendly ones that still work great for miniature painting.
Review: Our top picks
Finding the best miniature paintbrushes is indeed quite subjective. We have found some models that we believe are the best ones for most people, so check out our list below.
Winsor & Newtons Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Watercolor Brushes
The Winsor & Newton Kolinsky Sable Brushes are by far the most recommended for miniature paintings, and the most used by experienced painters. It is made from premium quality kolinsky sable, which is the highest quality of natural hair brushes on the market.
Because it is made from such a high-quality material, you can say that you are getting your money’s worth. It has a crisp point that maintains well during your painting session. The color can flow evenly and consistently from the point and is able to carry a good amount of color on its belly, giving you speed and control when you paint. The brush also snaps well into shape with just the right amount of spring. This quality allows you to have control over your painting.
There is also a wide variety of sizes available depending on what you need. But if you want to start with an all-around brush, you can start with size #1 or #2. Another thing to remember is that you purchase the watercolor brushes since it has a bigger handle compared to the miniature series of this brand.
Raphael Series 8404
Another brush brand that breaks the bank but is definitely made from great quality is the Raphael. Although it is a bit expensive and a little harder to find, it would last you a long time and helps you improve the quality of your painting.
The brush is handmade from France with a very high specification. It has a fine point with perfect bristles allowing you to have great precision and working on those fine details. It also has incomparable quality in terms of its spring, snap, and its ability to hold color.
D’Artisan Shoppe Minute Series XII Miniature Brushes
This brand is more on budget-friendly options that is still able to deliver its job well. The bristles are made from a premium-quality synthetic material that is able to mimic natural sable brushes. It works well with different mediums from watercolors to acrylic and gouache paints allowing you to have great precision on work.
It comes in a set of 12 miniature artist paintbrushes with sized from 0000 to 1. There are also varied brush configurations in the set. You’ll get pointed rounds, flats, and liner/riggers which is great if you want to explore what each brush configurations will result in as you paint.
The fine-tipped miniature brushed that are included in this set works well with details, and allows you to reach tight places and tiny points. It is especially helpful when you’re painting small details on armors, cars, ships, and other miniature figures that you’ll have.
Aside from the quality of the brush, what I also love is that it has an ergonomically designed triangular handle that helps you to paint comfortably on longer periods. You’ll be able to enjoy painting your minis without much fatigue on your hands when compared to the handles of most miniature painting brushes.
MyArtscape Detail Paint Brush Set
One of the cheapest miniature paint brush set that you can purchase but is still made with good quality is the MyArtscape Detail Paint Brush Set. It is made with synthetic Korean hair that is claimed to rival paintbrushes that are made with natural hair.
A set will give you 12 paintbrushes with different sizes and configurations for different uses on your painting project. It has a fine tip that has precise points, maintaining the shape of the bristles for detailed painting. It also anti-shedding which helps you avoid additional frustrations of bristles going loose and ruining your project. The handles are also ultra-durable which means that the brush will last for a long time.
If for some reason, you are not satisfied with the products that you have purchased, you don’t have to fret that you wasted money in this set. It actually comes with a one-year replacement warranty. Although you might not need it as they make sure that the brushes reach you in the best condition possible.
Add-on product: U.S. Art Supply Brush Holder
Before you get confused, yes I know that it is not a brush. But I figured this will help keep your space clutter-free and keep your brushes in good condition. One thing you might consider getting is a brush holder.
The U.S. Art Supply Brush Holder has a 60-hole or a 96-hole rack that you can choose from. Although your brush might not reach as many as 60, you may add some other coloring material such as markers.
It is really easy to assemble and a perfect way to keep your things on your desk organized as you paint your way through your miniatures. It is also easier to see your brush tools and reach for them, saving your time. The rack would definitely help you be more neat and efficient on your projects.
Things to consider purchasing a brush for miniature painting
The brushes included on the list are only a small portion of the numerous choices that you have. We only selected a few to narrow down your options on what we found as the best in terms of quality and also a few budget-friendly ones.
If you feel like what you are looking for is not among the brushes we have included here but don’t know what to look for in a brush, don’t worry! There are main things that you should consider when making your purchase.
However, if you want to dive deeper into and know more about what you should look for on miniature brushes, you can check out this article by Tangible Day.
The number one thing you should consider is your budget. What’s the use of having a topnotch brush when you’ve sacrificed several days’ worth of food money?
There are several good quality brushes that are inexpensive. These brushes are great for starters as it doesn’t much put a hole in your pockets but still gets the job done. In time, when you have a bigger budget, you can start investing in those expensive brushes with the best quality.
Synthetic vs. natural hair
One of the main options you’ll be choosing from is whether you opt for synthetic brushes or brushes with natural hair on it. Both will have their pros and cons, mainly in terms of the cost and quality.
Synthetic brushes are much less expensive compared to natural hair and are great when you still beginning and don’t want to stay out of your budget. Although they might not feel as durable and of high quality they still are great tools for miniature painting. Recently, there are high-quality synthetic brushes that are being manufactured, however, they are harder to find.
Paintbrushes with natural hair, on the other hand, are on the more expensive side of the scale. However, they have the best quality in terms of holding their shape together and water retention. They are also easier to clean compared to synthetics ones. If you are opting for natural hair brushes, find ones that are made from red sable or kolinsky sable.
This one is easier to spot as it the first thing you notice when you look at the bristles of the brush. But the “pointedness” shouldn’t stop in the store. A good brush should be able to keep that shape when you use the brush.
Spring and snap
The spring and snap the ability of the brush to retain its shape. According to Tangible Day, a snap is determined on how easy it is for a brush to return to its original shape after application. This will give you good control as you paint on your miniatures.
Spring, on the other hand, is how resilient your brush is against changing its shape. When you press the bristles on a surface, it should bounce back to its shape. A brush with a good spring allows you to have superior control between the brush and the painting surface.
Flow control refers to how much of the paint is being released from the bristles to the surface of your minis. This would really matter a lot when you’re painting the details. A good flow will allow you to apply the right amount of paint that you need. This basically helps you with the precision and speed of your painting.
Handle size and fit
One of the things that I figured would help you as you paint is the fit of the handle to your hands. Smaller handles tend to give you a harder time and cause more strain on your hand compared to brushes with thicker handles. If you get a chance to drop by your local craft store, you can manually check out how the handles feel.
Before I end this article, let me just add one more thing. Purchasing a brush is just the start. To extend the lifespan of your brushes, you should always look after it. Peter Thuborg from Age of Miniatures has a great article on how you should take care of your brushes. I could give you a rundown in this article but I believe that would be a bit counterproductive since he’ll be able to explain it better than I do.
Additional articles worth a read
- Best miniature brushes – https://ageofminiatures.com/best-miniature-brushes/
- Top 10 best brushes for painting miniatures – https://www.fauxhammer.com/top-10/top-10-best-brushes-for-painting-miniatures-2019/