These are my favorite brushes and paper. I use them the most often – round #1, #3, and #8 brushes with the hot pressed 140lb. paper from Arches. I like how smooth it is and how well it takes the color. I’d tried other cheaper papers before finally getting the Arches – such a difference! The cheaper papers are thinner and pill up or start to peel away with too much brush work…I rarely work my colors on the paper, so that shouldn’t be a problem for me! I get most of my brushes out of a dollar bin at my local art supply store – I check the bristles to make sure they’re in good shape and have a nice tip – expensive or cheap brushes, it all depends on how it feels on the paper, how it holds the color…money doesn’t seem to be the deciding factor for me. I have some cheap brushes I love, and some higher end brushes that I use often. I’m not brand loyal there!