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  RaphaŽl is a nice brush (and big! :o)Feb 15, 2012 4:22 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The successful part of that package of art supplies that arrived yesterday was a new type of brush: a RaphaŽl 8404, size 3--I picked a size 3 since that's the same size number as the brushes I'd been using, Winsor & Newton Series 7s, but the RaphaŽl sizes are actually about one size larger; you can see the "size 3" RaphaŽl sorta dwarfing the "size 3" W&N here:
 
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(The tape on the end of the W&N's handle signifies that it's my old W&N, the one I'm just using for white paint (which is kinda gloppy and rough on bristles) now--not that the handle broke or anything.)
 
I've done these past two A* pages with the RaphaŽl, and I have to say I'm exceedingly pleased with its performance. Yay French brush (the company, which is named something else that is rather boring, was founded in the late 1700s, which they say makes them the longest-running brush manufacturer around today)! And you might not have suspected it but it is actually cheaper than the W&N, or perhaps I should put that the other way around and say the W&N is more expensive, about twice as much for a similar physical size.
 
Now, my original A* brush was a German one (a Da Vinci "Maestro") that was also half the price of the British Winsor & Newtons, but that one was about the same size, had some small bristle problems from the beginning, and only lasted about half as long before it lost what useful point (the sharp tip the bristles are supposed to form when wet so you can paint tiny lines) it had started with. So far, the bristles of the RaphaŽl feel at least as nice as the W&N, and there are, well, a lot more of them. Also, I dunno if it's the increased size, or some difference in the bristles, but I've found I can do some really long delicate feathering with the RaphaŽl--like with the shading on Selenis' pants today, and on her hand yesterday--that I simply never found the W&N really wanting to do.
 
It's nice to have a bigger brush, too, since it can do bigger lines in a single stroke; and particularly with ink wash, it comes in handy in its greater capacity for carrying water and ink--this means I have to go back to the well less frequently, and since I'm currently mixing ink wash grays "on the fly" in the brush itself, rather than pre-mixing them in tidy separate jars, this means I can do larger areas of the same tone, so in general the work should be less patchy and dabby (that isn't really a word) looking.
 
In his book on inking that a kindly reader got for me recently from my Amazon Wish List (<3), professional inker Klaus Jansen says he does most of his work with a RaphaŽl size *4*--which would be a W&N size 5, approximately. :o I suppose it takes more control to handle larger and larger brushes, especially if you still want to be able to do small lines with them, which I do, but I think I'm going to get myself a size 4 and see how that goes, because if I can still do small lines with it, then in theory it will be even more useful than the size 3 I'm using now.
 
 
 
 
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