UPDATE 2: Actually, my Series 7 is fine. No, it's great. We had a little spat, but we patched things up and now I love her again. Actually, if you must know, I tried a bunch of other brushes — and found some really great ones, too! — but I always come back to my Series 7, and it always kicks ass. Get one!
UPDATE: Wait, wait, wait... Scratch all this. My Series 7 has gone to crap. I now have a new favorite brush. Go read about it here. As any self-respecting, brush-using comic artist does, I've become obsessed with finding the perfect inking brush. I've found the absolute best info on the subject at Comic Tools, which is just a terrific site for anyone doing comic work. There's also a great page that compares some of the top brushes for inking at Mike Crowell's site.
After working with a fairly wide variety of brushes for the past year or so I finally find myself in a position to make some recommendations. As noted everywhere, I have to agree that the Winsor & Newton Series 7 is far and away the best inking brush money can buy. It's certainly the best I've tried. I have recently acquired a size 2 from the series and I can't believe how good it is. It's true what they say: you can go from the tiniest line to a big fat stroke just by varying your pressure. And what's great is, it's easy! It just feels like you'd want it to feel. Great snap, holds a ton of ink, draws the finest lines of any brush I've tried. Everything you've heard about the excellence of this brush is true.
What's weird, though, is that everything I've read also says that the Winsor & Newton Series 7's quality control is notoriously low. Legend is you get a good one every twenty or so brushes, and that you just have to try them in person until you find one that's not crappy. That's the conventional wisdom. But I just ordered one on the Internet from Dick Blick, and so far it's fantastic.
This can only mean one of five things: 1) Either the Series 7's quality control has improved and it's now possible to order online and get a good one; 2) the Series 7's QC is not as bad as everyone says; 3) I'm a total dolt and don't know a good brush from a hole in the ground; 4) the brush will fall apart in short order; or 5) I'm the luckiest son of a bitch alive.
My guess is that Winsor & Newton has recently made some improvements to their Series 7 quality control process. But that's only a guess based on the facts that: 1) I've never been a very lucky person, so it's doubtful I'd be lucky in this case; 2) the same people who recommend all the brushes I like have made the same complaint about the Series 7, so it's doubtful they're all wrong; and 3) I've been using a wide array of brushes and have gotten a pretty good feel for what's good and what's not. I really don't even want to consider the possibility that the brush will crap out in a week or so, so I'm sticking with possibility number 1.
So I just wanted to say that if you can't get to one in person, but you can afford to take a chance on one of these puppies online (they are a bit pricier than most), Dick Blick seems to have good ones, and good deals, and my experience has been great thus far.
And I also want to confirm — yet again — that the Winsor & Newton Series 7 truly is a fantastic brush.