To save on expensive solvent, try this when cleaning up brushes. Find two cans with plastic lids, one can smaller and one larger. Pour the proper solvent in the smaller can to clean the brush. After cleaning, pour the used solvent into the larger can. The sediments will settle out in a day or two so you can reuse the clear solvent that will remain on top.
When using a paint pad, apply the paint with long, straight strokes, all in the same direction. Do not pull the pad back over the painted area. Also, be aware that paint pads have a tendency to leave lap marks if you do not feather the paint carefully where one stroke meets another.