Not long ago I wrote about the Winsor & Newton Series 7 brush I purchased. In short: I loved it. Unfortunately, after about a week or so, my Series 7 became unable to keep a point. The tip kept splitting and my line would break up. This is not good. It appears that all the talk of Winsor & Newton's unreliable quality control is likely true.
So I tried another highly recommended brush, one with reportedly better quality standards: The Raphael 8404.
The Raphael is only very slightly inferior to the Winsor & Newton in performance. And most of this comes down to the amount of ink the brush holds. The Winsor & Newton holds a ridiculous amount of ink; the Raphael, slightly less. In most every other way, the Raphael is quite comparable to the Winsor & Newton.
But what makes it a standout is its reliability. I've been using this brush for everything I've done over the past two months, and it's managed to keep its shape and remarkable performance. While it's not quite a good as a working Series 7, it's still easily better than any other brush I've tried, and it's a real workhorse.
Speaking of other brushes I've tried, I've also tried the Rosemary brushes, once recommended — and later not recommended — by Comic Tools. They're not bad, but somewhat anemic in terms of ink capacity. They just don't hold much ink. I also tried an Escoda brush, which I'd heard was good, and was not particularly impressed.
So, if you're looking for a superior brush you can rely on, at this point I can pretty confidently recommend the Raphael 8404. It's terrific.