As a mixed-media artist, I find myself using a lot of different paintbrushes, for a lot of different techniques. A couple years ago, I picked up a Royal & Langnickel Soft Grip brush at my local Michaels – paying no attention to the brand, not really knowing anything about brushes or bristle-types or anything – but just knowing that it was flat and kind of big, and most importantly, had a nice, soft cushion for my weak, sore hands. Having neuropathy and rheumatoid arthritis made this extra thickness and cushioning very appealing to me. That brush is still one of my favorite brushes today, so when the opportunity arose to review the line, I jumped at the opportunity!
From the Royal & Langnickel website:
You can see from their description that there are 144 unique brush styles and sizes, with 6 different hair types. You may have also noted the “single price point” note. This is a HUGE plus – and I’ll talk more about it at the end of my review.
While my favorite for a long time were the Golden Taklon brushes, I’ve since come to appreciate the natural bristle mops for using with my watercolors, and I’m certain that there is something in this line for everyone. Here is just a small assortment from the line:
In the picture you can see several golden taklon (including a fan, an angular, a couple rounds, and a couple flats); a white nylon bright; a white bristle mop (looks blue from use); a sable mini-mop and a very small sable round; a bristle foliage (angular); a bristle glaze (the dark bristle); and a long-handle white bristle flat. (I’m not going to go into what each of these brushes is for, as that is not the purpose of this review, but I did want you to see that there is a wide variety of brushes available in the Soft Grip line.)
Here I show the difference between the regular handles and the long handles. The regular handles have the patented, cushiony Soft Grip on the handles just at the one spot. However, the long-handled brushes have Soft Grip rings that continue up the brush for quite a ways, to further assist in comfortable handling of the brush (and for ME, I know, they help prevent me from dropping the brush so much – they are “grippy”).
Here I show you the difference in length between the regular handles and the long-handled brushes. For myself, I prefer the regular handles. I’ve found they are easier to handle and are lighter weight – both of which are important with my hand problems. I just don’t have the muscle strength in my hands to maneuver the longer handled brushes on a regular basis. For those of you without hand problems, though, it would simply be a matter of preference – I don’t think you would find the weight difference that noticeable.
Now, I want to show you one more brush. This is the very first Soft Grip brush I bought – the golden taklon brush I mentioned at the beginning of this review. I’ve had this brush for about 2 years now. And I have to be totally up front with you…I do NOT follow the rules when it comes to my brushes. I know I should, but let’s face it – I have 3 young kids, I often get interrupted, and it’s just easier to throw my brush in a jar of water and forget about it for a few hours…or a few days…or, ahem, a week or two. I’ve destroyed many brushes this way…bristles fall out, handles separating from the ferrule, etc. But not my Soft Grip brush. It has lasted through it all – and not just lasted, but it still performs perfectly. Let me show you. It’s a flat brush (well, technically it’s a Stroke B brush…but I honestly don’t know the difference), so let me just paint a couple lines so you can see for yourself that the lines are still smooth and even.
I have also used this brush for applying decoupage to MANY canvases and other items, in addition to using it for painting, and it has given me great results.
Finally, let me show you how the brush sits in my hand, with the Soft Grip cushion.
(I’m not actually left-handed, but I can’t take a photo with my left hand!) I also want to show you, just for reference, how bad my hands get when my Rheumatoid Arthritis flares up. This is just so that you better understand – when I find something that makes it more comfortable for me to create art, I am serious about it! (Sorry it’s so blurry – again, I can’t really take photos with my left hand!)
To finish off, I made a quick card with the mop brush and my watercolors. I love how well the mop brush holds water – it’s perfect for this method of applying lots of wet color and letting it drip down.
It’s no secret by this point that I love these brushes. But let’s talk bottom line…money. This just adds to what I love about these brushes. Not only is it a good quality brush, one that lasts and is able to withstand my abuse, but every single brush costs the same amount. How much? $2.99 each. That’s it. For $2.99 each, I don’t even feel pressured to make sure I take excellent care of them – worst case scenario, if I left one sitting out with decoupage on it, I could afford another one. But in 2 years of using them, I’ve NEVER had to replace one of these brushes because of it being ruined! Now that’s something I can recommend to ALL of my artist friends!
Disclosure: brushes provided for review. If you would like to purchase Soft Grip Paintbrushes, please support CTD and use our affiliate links:
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