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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Brush Fetishes

The goodly Richard Thompson has triggered my brush fetish with a tantalizing website. Rosemary, (curiously, a former gynecologist,) is rumored to make the finest brushes around. If you share any of my jones for great brushes, you'll enjoy her lush descriptions.

My Winsor & Newton series 7 red sables are an industry standard. I used to use a #4 but age and deteriorating strength have forced me to adopt the #3. Anything larger feels like a vast imposition.

Like Richard's finely tuned sense of the quality of pen nibs (10/8/2007), I can feel a good #3 from a bad #3 the moment I dip it in the ink. I think the difference resides in the single hair in the middle and I cannot imagine the skill involved in building such a great brush just right.

I used to think about the irony of my brushes when I would draw cartoons about the Cold War back in the 80's. The Kolinsky red sable from whose tail hairs my brushes are made is bred only in Russia. (Rosemary points out that, ounce for ounce, Kolinsky hairs are three times the price of pure gold.)

But what prompted this whole post is a tip on Rosemary's website about brush maintenance. Long ago I wondered if brushes should be washed with shampoo rather than bar soap to get the last of the ink out. Then I wondered if they would benefit from a bit of conditioner. It seemed a funny idea, but it kept making sense to me so I've been quietly doing such for several years. And now I find that Rosemary concurs.

Surely her unique blend of expertise can be trusted.


at 10/22/07, 10:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought the title said "bush fetish".

i was expecting a confession stating you've finally realized every other cartoon is about the bush administration.

i wont hold my breath.

at 10/22/07, 12:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, have you bought any of her brushes yet?

at 10/22/07, 3:42 PM Blogger Jim Borgman said...

Actually I just emailed Rosemary. She responds that series 22 and series 33 would be her equivalent to what I've been using. Those are more reasonably priced than the larger Kolinskys she offers, so even with the bonecrushing exchange rates I may place an order.

at 10/22/07, 7:11 PM Anonymous Weekly Cartoonist said...

Ink, shampoo, rinse, repeat.
Shampoo: Good idea!
I used to paint with Winsor & Newton
small brushes, and now ink with Loew-Cornell brushes (1,0, 00).
Is there more of a blast than being an artist set loose in an art supply store? (Although for a couple decades it wasn't as exciting as it is now -- too many choices and too little money.)

at 10/22/07, 9:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love it if she'd make me a few brushes using my own hair. I knew I should have held off on getting that haircut!

at 10/23/07, 10:30 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you normally use brushes or pen nibs when you draw? I don't know much about the process but am very curious.

at 10/23/07, 3:03 PM Blogger Terrence said...

I clean my brushes and nibs with Simple Green. Harsh stuff, but even that gunk made for the specific task of cleaning brushes out doesn't get them cleaner.

at 10/23/07, 7:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually get mine from my dentist for free.

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