I'm starting to take oil painting classes and the teacher said i'll need brushes made of natural fibers, like hog hair, or other animals. she assured me they don't kill the animal to get the hair, but i'm still a little weary.
bristle - animal hair used for brushes, mostly from pigs but also from *sable, horse and badger. The hair may be from a slaughtered or living animal. Found in many 'natural' brushes eg shaving/hair/cosmetic make-up/paint (decorating, painting and artist) brushes.
I've used synthetic brushes, and while I'm no art afficianado, no one has ever looked at one of my paintings and said, "You know, it's ok, but it would be so much better if she'd used animal hair brushes!"
Actually, I'm an artist, having exhibited professionally in galleries, shows and competitions. I do mixed media (watercolor and acrylics) and haven't done much with oils. My teachers and mentors recommended natural bristle brushes for both watercolor and acrylics, but I always went with the best synthetics I could afford. It didn't seem to hurt my painting any. You might try www.jerrysartarama.com or www.cheapjoes.com for decent prices on really good synthetic brushes. The new synthetics are really really nice. But they usually have price tags consistent with "natural" brushes. Good luck with your art class. I hope you're using the less allergenic turpentines/brush cleaners as well. The originals are extremely toxic!
I'm an art student and I've always used synthetic, I can't say it's affected my work.
Edit - Just to say my favourite brushes at the moment are nylon, which are nice for soft work, which may be what your teacher want's natural fibres for (I've never used them though so I wouldn't know).
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