Watercolor Brushes and Oil Painting

So I am new here and have not yet even started painting. I'm still in the collecting materials phase. I have a question about brushes. I was given 4 Winsor Newton Cotman brushes for watercolors (6, 10, 12 which have a round beveled tip; a 777 flat brush; and then a 1.5" brush that says "Flat Wash"). So basically I'm wondering if I can use any or all of these for oil painting or if I should just sell the lot on ebay? I already have the recommended brushes coming. Thanks in advance.


  • jdfick

    You can never have enough brushes. The large one can be used for toning canvas, making gradient backgrounds, or gesso coverage. The smaller brushes loaded with SDM and pigment can fill small details or lay thin straight lines. The smaller brushes can also be used to draw the first shapes on a canvas using a thin umber mixture. Also blending soft pastel.

    Oils usually needs the robust hog hair bristles to effectively move the paint around. However, SDM relaxes this requirement.


  • Cool. Thanks guys. That gives me a better sense of things.
  • edited November 2013
    jdfick At last I found someone who is also at the 'collecting stage' I am almost there with my materials and I look forward to starting my first piece. Iv'e been using oil paint for a while but not with Mark's method. As for the brushes, don't get rid of your brushes, they may come in handy for prep. Oil painting brushes are much stiffer as you will tell when they arrive. I'm nervous about starting but excited too, how about you?
  • dreamlight66 I'm right there with you. Nervous but excited. So far I've built an easel, a pallet table, the color checker, and the proportional divider. I've got paints, brushes, and medium materials on the way from DickBlick. I'm nervous because I tend to be a perfectionist and am afraid I'll become discouraged by my own inability to meet my own standards. I guess that's what MC calls the Artist's Curse. Anyway, I'll look forward to watching your progress. Cheers!
  • jdfick One thing I will advise is to watch Mark's portrait DVD over and over if you have it and give yourself a break, sometimes we have to go wrong to go right if you know what I mean? I'll be watching out for your's also. Take care.
  • Keep them, and relax, its not brain surgery, its paint, allows for a do over! :-h
    [Deleted User]savignano
  • I just finished my collection phase. I rented a space, built 2 easels (1 for canvas, 1 for board to hold up picture with which to compair), stained my canvas, and drew my subject. I start preparing paint with SDM today. I too am nervous to start. I have never used oil paint before. I typically draw my subjects but ran across Mark's method and decided it was time to try.
  • Do what Dreamlight66 says. But then, Use a throw away canvas to experiment! Try things before you commit to the main painting. Don't let your brain get in your way.
  • I too remember the nervous and excited feeling when I first started… the good news is I still get! Mark's teachings if you follow them to a T will open the doors to a whole new world. Sending you a warm welcome. >:D<
  • mbishop I think if you're going to try oil painting then Carderville is definitely the place to do it. Great advice on here and we can learn together. :)>-
  • Thank you for the advice. And warm welcome.
  • I got all but white mixed with SDM. I have to make the special mix for the white.
  • I hope you used glass containers.
  • I know several oil painters who use watercolor brushes. I also know artists who use fingers (me, for one), rags, paper towels, rubber bands all bunched up and a toothbrush. I once confessed to another artist (when she gave me a compliment) that I cheated and used . . . can't remember what it was that I used. She snorted and said, it wasn't cheating if it got the paint on the canvas.
  • I just bought these online at Jerrysartarama’s store. They have resin handles and the response is amazing. I love how they stay clean and so far have lasted longer. I tend to abuse my brushes.
  • Hi,
    Don't use the same brushes for watercolor and oil paints. You can try some cheaper brushes as a beginner. And don't be getting nervous just set your goal and keep practicing to achieve it.
  • I've used a simplistic meme for the difference in brush properties; watercolor brushes absorb and release paint predictably,  oil brushes push paint around now.
  • This looks to be a very old thread someone has revived.
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