I thought I'd do something a little different today and show you how I maintain my brushes. I know a lot of people burn through brushes pretty quick, or end up using these ragged, sad looking things until the end of time. I tend to try to maintain and take care of my brushes and find that I don't have to replace them that often. I'll go years using the same standard brush from GW... and yes, I use GW brushes. They work just fine and they're super easy to get your hands on. I know a lot of people recommend other things, but honestly... I think it comes down more to technique than anything. A bad painter with good tools paints bad models. A good painter with mediocre tools paints good models! The good painter just gets pissed and buys better tools. The moral of this story is that before you worry about the quality of your brushes, you should worry about how you're using them! Haha.
Anyways... I do the following more or less monthly.
First I gather together all of my paint brushes. I don't really use that many different kinds. I DO actually use the three large dry brushes all the time. Having three keeps me from having to fully dry them between colors.
Anyways, the magic is this stuff. "The Master's Brush Cleaner and Preserver". It's available pretty much anywhere brushes are sold. I get mine at A.C. Moore in the US. It's basically brush soap with some wax in it.
Add a little water and work your brushes through it. If you're brushes are really dirty, the lather that works up will have some color to it. Keep wiping it off and going until the lather is all white... unless your brushes are caked with white paint, at which point you're screwed.
I got this little brush dryer thing at a hobby store. I have no idea what it's called, but you can probably find one at a solid arts and crafts store or on Amazon.
So, a little knowledge about brushes. The metal band near the bristles is called a ferrule. Inside the ferrule, the bristles are glued in and the ferrule keep everything nice and tight. If paint gets into the ferrule, it dries and causes the bristles to splay apart. If water gets into the ferrule, it can dissolve the glue over time and causes the bristles to fall out. I hang the brushes upside down after using them so that any residual water moves down the bristles and away from the ferrule. It's a minor thing, but it also serves as a good place to store the brushes.
And we're all done! Takes about 15 minutes for my brushes. I generally watch TV while doing it. I think I was watching an episode of Murder She Wrote while doing this. Oh, Jessica Fletcher... you're my best friend.