Thursday, July 14, 2011


Here is the second of the two species of brush that I carry. I have but one of these, I carry three, or perhaps four bristle brushes (of course I have spares for each in my brush quiver) but only one little pointy brush.

This is a rigger, for many years I used sable riggers but now I am happy enough with the "golden Taklon" synthetic hair. The one I use is a #4 series 7050 script , and at present they cost 3.64.You can get them from Jerrys here.

I call all long, thin, sable- like rounds "riggers" as a convenience, however different lengths of hair or different manufacturers may actually call this sort of brush a script brush, a scriptliner or for the really whip like ones, a rigger. I believe that ship painters may have used those to paint the rigging on boats. I don't know much about ship painting, it is it's own little netherworld.


I am particularly fussy about the condition of these brushes, because as they wear, the tips of the hair explode as they abrade to the unattractive thatched end that no longer provides a crisp line. As soon as they begin to lose their neat tip, out they go!

Don't leave a rigger behind uncleaned at the end of a painting session, if paint dries in one of these it will quickly be ruined. Even if you only clean them real well in your solvent, rather than with soap and water, make sure you never forget to put these away clean and protected in your brush quiver, wallet or pastry belt area.

The rigger is what I use to put little branches in, define the rake-boards of a house or other little details or things with man made straight lines. However! this little brush is dangerous, it tightens up and can rob your work of painterlyness . It's overuse can rapidly give your painting a brittle, seized up and crabbed look, so use it gingerly.


Say, that might make a dandy neck tattoo!.


Kevin Mizner said...

I've owned two boats. They both went under. Now when I want to cross a body of water, I find a bridge.

stapeliad said...

LMAO Riggermortis!!!

stermyn said...

I share the same birthdate as David Cassidy. Directly after your workshop I purchased large quantity of WN brushes from Jerrys. Had to as you cracked all of mine in half and threw them into a bush. They were worn but not solidified with dried paint. I need new ones already! Brush quality is of the essence. said...

I use a rigger for all my ellipses but the painting knife is what I use 96.3% of the time.

Yes! painting knives wear out. They flex and the metal fatigues. They can no longer go back to flat. I have even broken them. But the worse thing is that I can't use a painting knife after someone else has used one of mine. It is either because they don't know how to paint with them or they use them in such a way that ruins it for my idiosyncratic handling. So I throw those away.

I also use the thin edge of a knife to make this straight lines And that edge doesn't stay smooth enough very long with scraping and mixing. So I have a couple of knives put aside for edges.

Painting knives..they get paint up there and they are easy to clean.

Bob Carter said...

I've always had trouble controlling a rigger, but I'll give your Loew Cornell 7050 script brush a try. Any tips on using them? I usually feel I'm trying to control a noodle. By the way, at the bottom of the Jerry's page you linked they show LC's dagger brushes. I have a couple of these that I've used occasionally to draw in rigging on sailboats (yes, I do boats -- forgive me Father, for I have sinned). They make a good straight line and are easier to control. said...

I know Stapleton does not need anything to be said in his defense of throwing away brushes after one or two uses but I would like to say something about the use of material and how a professional paint may view them.

If you are a painter who regularly sells work over 3k, materials are a very small part of your cost. Using up a $25
brush on a painting where you will gross 5k makes sense. It's the time and talent that is a big part of the cost of the painting. If using up a new brush every time makes it more efficient to paint then you do what you have to do to get the job done and out there.

When I instruct the first thing I tell students that the easiest way they can improve their work is "not to settle" for good enough. That goes the same for materials. Paint the best that you can and choose the materials that are the best for the job at hand. That doesn't mean the most expensive.
as Kevin says..Use the bridge.

finnsheep said...

Love your brush advice. Never knew what a rigger was before reading your blog and figured those fine lines were the result of artistic magic of some sort.

Brushes can be very mysterious.
I was trying to order some synthetic ones for (look away if need be) rosemaling and found that the numbers (#4, #1, etc) assigned to brushes are whimsical at best.

Ordered some #4's that turned out to have bristles about a quarter inch long! Finally ordered some inexpensive Kolinsky golden taklon rounds on ebay where they had actual measurements in inches.

Libby Fife said...

So, I have been following the saga of the worn out brush. Got me thinking about other things that get worn out or are sub standard that I wouldn't tolerate: sewing needles, thread, pots and pans, paints that provide scanty coverage, paper that buckles when you look at it, warped canvasses, and on and on. Thinking about brushes in this sort of context helps me to toss them sooner or at the very least, not try to use them.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Kevin Mizner;
Why didn't one teach you?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Stapeliad ;
Watch out for that!

Stapleton Kearns said...;
I had no idea that knifes were affected by a different user.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Never happened!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bob Carter;
I think those daggers are what they use to pinstripe cars.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The numbers vary from company to company and nation to nation.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Libby Fife;
Pencils too.

Sergio Lopez said...

Hmm methinks you wrote this article for the sole purpose of being able to use the "riggermortis" line!