Some years ago I was searching for inexpensive but good brushes for students and came upon the Ebony Splendor brushes (sold at ASW and Jerry’s). When I saw them in the catalog I didn’t hold out much hope, but when I got them and tried them I was really happily surprised. Since that time they have become my primary brushes and are what I recommend to my students. Due to their low price, when they become “scraggly” at the tip, I don’t feel compelled to hang onto them the way I would with a more expensive brush, I just throw them out and buy a new set – for the cost of a single brush! And if I happen to lose one, I’m not upset! You can get a set of either 3 flats (1/4 in., ½ in. and 1 in.) or 7 rounds – each set about $17-18 (of course the prices have gone up – mine were in the neighborhood of $12.99!). They are also sold separately. (And if you are counting – there are only 6 of the rounds in the photo; somewhere along the way I’ve lost one of the smaller ones).
I also like this Cheap Joe’s American Journey #8 round which was a gift to me – it’s got a great point.
Another one I like is this Black Velvet ¾ in. 3008S flat by Silver. It’s made of squirrel hair and black synthetic, but very soft and really holds a lot of paint. I purchased it at the Chicago Art Expo last year upon the recommendation of Karen Vernon. I can’t remember the price, maybe in the $20 range?
Some of us swear by sable, others like synthetic. Anyone care to share info about their favorite brush – what kind is it and why do you like it so much?