Bad Sable brushes
In one of the footnotes I read something I strongly disagree with. Here's the email I just wrote to Scott:
I've been eagerly reading your new book, Making Comics. Some of the stuff feels familiar after 12+ years in the biz, some is totally new. I've never before learned how the facial muscles affect expression explained before. Bravo!
Anyhow, I wanted to disagree with the brilliant Paul Smith opinion, "Winsor-Newton makes the finest brush in the world...every once in a while."
They're at least 95% perfect when made. They only go bad after the art supply store opens up the bags and leaves them to dry out. Just like human hair, sable fur can frizz and become unmanageable if left in dry hot conditions.
I buy my brushes in the airtight bags that Winsor Newton ships them in. I believe they come three to a bag now. They always come out of the bag perfect.
Because they're expensive I get very finicky about how I treat them. I store the bags in my fridge (just as a fine sable coat should be kept in a refrigerated room during the summer). If I only use part of a bag I take the leftovers and store them in an airtight freezer zip bag, with a clean paper towel doused with distilled water. 50F and 50% humidity is ideal, but you don't want it so wet they rot.
I clean the brushes after use with B&J Master Brush Cleaner. Do not mash the brush into the hard cleaner! Scrape some up with your finger nail, work it until soft, and massage into the brush hairs. Rinse and repeat (seriously). After you're done, flick excess water from the brush and work a little more B&J in as a leave-in conditioner. Hang to dry point down. There are special racks for doing this, sometimes called a 'metal brush washers'.
I've had no problems with sable brushes since I started doing this.
"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." H.L. Mencken