Friday Quick Tip: Rosemary & Co. Brushes

Today's quick tip is more of a product review. Unless you frequent the Coolminiornot Shop, live in England or are a lady named Rosemary who makes brushes, you probably have never heard of Rosemary & Co. brushes. Many people are familiar with the Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes, which are great. And expensive. If you are looking for a brush with similar properties and quality, but at a lower price, definitely check out the Rosemary & Co. Pure Kolinsky Sable brushes.

I recently ordered up a few of their different series in size 0 to see how they they fare and to get a handle on their variety of different shapes.

Pictured above (from left to right) are the Series 22, Series 33 and Series 44. The 22 and 33 are pretty similar in size and length, with the Series 22 have a little fuller bulb and the 33 having a sharper taper. The Series 44 is a little crazy and reminds me of those huge pin striping liners used by auto artists that are more brush than handle. I haven't found a specific use for it yet, but next time I need some pin striping on my Falcons, I know which brush to use.

The tips are excellent and have a great point and the brushes have proven to be very durable under my ham-handed painting technique. And the best part is the price: I've found they are about half the price of the Series 7. I purchased mine from the Coolminiornot Shop, who carry most of the series in sizes popular for painting miniatures.

But a size they don't offer is one that intrigues me the most is the Series 1 Mop. Now, this isn't a brush for the price conscious (size 0 goes for about £38!), but these big chunks of Kolinsky Sable are packed into big, bulby, hand made, quill-stlye ferrule with a sharp tip. I'd love to splash washes with a brush like this or try some really fine wet blending, water color-style.

Brush Poll time: What is currently gracing your painting table and how is it holding up?


  1. I use GW brushes. I know they're not the best, but they're much better then most give them credit for.

    They're good enough, and cheap enough that I don't need to be super anal with them; I could replace them if they get trashed.

  2. I've got a set of Citadel brushes that I've used and abused for about 8 years. They are good brushes and I agree-- they are better than the reputation they get. They have been my main workhorse for many years until recently I began using Princeton Art & Brush Co brushes that were a gift.

    I haven't tried the new GW system brushes though, since the FLGS display of them leaves them looking a little ratty (no bristle protection). I went in with a little water and paper towel and none of them would make a decent point.

  3. I forgot to mention, compared to the Citadel and Princeton brushes, the Rosemary & Co's seem to be softer and easier to flex the bristles. I prefer the softer motion, especially when painting odd curves, since the natural tendency of the brush to snap back straight is lessened. Of course, there are times when you want some firm snap.

    In the end, they are all tools-- pick the right tool for the job. But the more tools you have, the better chance you have the right one for what you are working on.

  4. Currently gracing my painting table are a mix of brands of brushes.

    My main brushes are 2 Winsor & Newton series 7 (000 and 00), they simply cannot be beaten for quality. Have been using them since February and they are still perfect.

    For larger surfaces and base coating I use a Revelle (size 1) and some old GW brushes (red handles) that have long since lost any shape or point and are now mainly for messy jobs like moving paint from pot to palette and bases etc.

    I've heard good things about the Rosemary brushes but since I can get my series 7 for cheaper, I'll be sticking with them!



  5. I recently switched from W&N series 7 to Rosemary&Co series 33. They wear out a bit quicker, but overall their quality is identical to the W&N and they're a lot cheaper.

  6. I currently have Raphael Kolinsky 3404s ranging from 3/0 up to 2. I also use several Windsor and Newton Series 7 brushes, but I've not found anything that stands up to the quality of those Raphaels. They aren't cheap, but they last forever and are resilient.

  7. I use GW brushes mainly - hard to get anything cheaper when I got a decades worth at staff discount when I worked for them. Walk into art stores and have a "how much?" constantly emanating from my mouth.

    Not to say they're really really good brushes - but I've got enough that I can afford to just chuck em after they start to splay out.

  8. I currently have 9 different Winsor and Newton brush from 0 through 2 and then a set of the older style Reaper Pure Sable brushs from a 5/0 to a 2. I generally do most of my painting wiht the 1 or 2, and detail work with the 0.

    I have found that in the US you can order the Winsor and Newton brushs through dickblick and get them for about 50% of retail, and over $100, you would get free shipping. I got a couple of friends and were able to order the brushs we wanted and had free shipping.

  9. I'm currently using the newer Black Handle GW brushes (won a full set in a painting contest) as my primary work horse brushes. However I have a W&N Series 7 #0 I use for anything more then base coating and first block high lights/applying washes.

    I do however think there is nothing better then a GW brush when it comes to Dry Brushing.