Sorry guys, but I have to disagree with your assessments of the myths of the hobby!
I used cheapo craft store brushes for years of drybrushing, and they got shredded in record time. Sometimes I would trim the bristles as you said, depending on the brush shape. However, earlier this year I got some of the Citadel drybrushes just for the heck of it, and they still look like new after about 8 months of use. Haven't used the Army Painter brand, but I assume they will hold up good too. Well worth the $5-8 for the more expensive brushes.
On a side note, maybe for Christmas I will invest in some Windsor&Newtons and see if they really do make a difference.
On the water cups, I've been painting a lot of white lately and not only am I cleaning my brush in the usually red or blue water, but I even use that water directly to water down my white paint! Same for metallics. I usually paint the metals on my models first (not sure why, just like doing it that way) and I don't change the water before painting the rest of the model. The amount of pigment in the water is just so minute. Sometimes I will use my cup of water for days at a time.
Anyway, it's all opinion. Just thought I would share mine.
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