NOTE: There is an update to this post. Please see: Brushes (a retraction)


Not unlike any other painter, I own far too many paint brushes. I’m a sucker for fancy in-store brush-displays and sales and I have used dozens of different kinds of brushes. So, obviously, I’m a brush expert (…pause for laughter).

I use two kinds of brushes. Broad bristle brushes for the initial layout and scrubbing in large masses (underpainting), and fine pointed rounds for just about everything else. With regard to the rounds, I want to tell you about a couple new favorites.

First, Blick’s “Master” series, Kolinsky Sable. These are fantastic detail brushes. I’m partial to size #2 and #4 and usually have three or four of these out at a time when painting. They’re great. The hairs are very soft and hold a great shape with a surprising amount of spring. I also find these to be incredibly versatile. Depending on how you gather your paint on the palette (or how you pick it up with the brush), the shape can range from a long flat to a needle point round. (This is true with any good pointed round, and one of the reasons I find no need for any other brush shapes.) The brushes keep such a great point that there’s rarely a need for anything smaller. And it gets better…

Blick Master Series brushes are guaranteed for life. If at any time you are dissatisfied with the materials or craftsmanship of any Master Series brush, return it to Blick for a replacement.

A lifetime warranty on a paintbrush is just… insane. Brushes wear out, I don’t care who you are or what you do to your brushes, they age like everything else. I called and spoke with one of the customer service reps for Dick Blick and asked them a series of specific brush-wear questions. The verdict: If ever the brush performs at a lesser quality than that which it performed initially, it is considered defective and will be replaced. It’s crazy. There’s a review on their website from someone claiming to have returned an 8-year old brush for replacement. And… This policy spans their whole “Master” line of brushes. They offer a bristle and a synthetic in addition to the sable. I have a few bristles, and not surprisingly, they’re wearing out (that’s just what bristle brushes do). I haven’t tried returning them yet, but I’ll report back when I do.

The Dynasty Sable doesn’t come with the warranty, but it’s another great brush. (I feel guilty saying less about this one, because it’s an excellent brush, but Blick’s lifetime warranty steals the spotlight.) Because the Dynasty brush is less pointed and mops more, I think these two brushes make a great team. I find myself using the Dynasty for larger form modeling and darks, and Blick’s Sable for fine detail and lights.

And I have to say that I am not being compensated in any way for this endorsement. They’re just good brushes.

Comments (2)

  1. 6:22 am, May 4, 2011Adam O  / Reply

    I honestly never considered the quality of my brushes. But who could argue with a life time warranty? Definitly going to search for Blick’s next time I’m at the store. Many thanks for this review. I always enjoy reading your helpful painterly advice.

    • 10:42 am, May 4, 2011thomas  / Reply

      Hi Adam- Yes, definitely check out these brushes from Dick Blick. Note that they’re only available through Dick Blick though (online or one of their stores).

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