Lint: It's a Fact of Life
The biggest pain in the backside for painters is lint and dust in your fresh paint. Here are a few tips for preventing lint or brush fibers from becoming a permanent addition to your paintwork.
Dust and vacuum your workspace. It goes without saying that the best way to prevent dust bunnies from using your wet models as a couch is to vacuum often and dust your workspace, lamps, computer, and everything else in your studio or painting area.
Replace old brushes often. The only time I've had a negative experience with a client was when a few hairs became stuck in the paint. I didn’t notice them at first, but my client definitely was not happy when she unboxed her model and inspected it closely. I realized that the hairs were from using worn cheap brushes. I replaced all of my brushes and repainted the model free of charge. The client was happy and her model has since placed at several shows for her. Brushes are the most expensive aspect of painting, which is why it’s so important to take good care of them.
Flick your brushes. Before each session, flick the bristles of your brushes before using them, obviously away from your model so none of the dust lands on it. This prevents dust or lint from getting mixed in with your paint from the brushes. This is the worst thing that happens when painting. You end up scratching your model down to the primer trying to scrape the lint out of the paint or you completely botch the shading.
Be careful with paper towels. Paper towels can be your best friend, or your worst enemy once they become too worn during use. While pricier than your typical kitchen roll, it is worth it to invest in the blue shop towels as they tend to soak up more of the oil-based vehicle (which in turn helps your paintwork dry a little faster) and shed fewer fibers when wiping your brushes on them.
Place your wet models on a lower-than-top shelf of a bookcase to dry. If at all possible, place wet models on a deep shelf so that it is covered on the sides and top. Lint and dust will still creep their way onto your model, but much less so than on a desk or a high shelf somewhere.
If you do find dust has settled onto your model, leave it alone until it's touch-dry and use a dry brush or coffee filter (thank you Lynn Cassels-Caldwell of Snowdrift Studio for this suggestion) to gently brush the dust or lint from the surface of the paint.