Artist Brushes 101: A Guide to Different Types of Paint Brushes and Their Uses
There are so many different types of paint brushes on the market that, if you’re a beginner, it might seem a little bit overwhelming to select which brushes you need. Artist paint brushes have specific purposes and uses, thus, buying the correct tools is extremely crucial to achieve a certain style when painting.
Get to know the different types of artist brushes and their uses by reading our short guide below!
Types of Paint Brushes
There are various types of paint brushes and they also come in an array of shapes and sizes. It’s important to know what they are used for, as the final result of your artwork will depend on your brushwork. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most commonly used types of artist brushes:
1. The Round Brush
Round brushes are one of the most widely used artist paint brushes as they can be utilized for different mediums such as watercolor, acrylic, and oil. The brush has a rounded base or ferrule with a pointed tip and is available in a variety of sizes. Rounds are great for doing detail work, outlining, or for filling in small spaces.
2. The Flat Paint Brush
The flat paint brush has a square head that’s great for filling wide spaces across your canvas. They are typically used to produce very broad strokes, though can be turned on its side to get thinner lines.
3. The Filbert Brush
The filbert brush is a flat paint brush, but with rounded edges. This brush is extremely versatile because of its shape and can be used for blending as well as detail work. When used flat, the filbert brush gives a broad stroke; when used on its side, it produces narrow and detailed lines.
4. The Rigger or Liner Brush
The rigger or liner brush is a fine and thin brush with long hairs, most commonly used for painting very detailed lines. These brushes are perfect to use for both oils and watercolors.
5. The Angled Brush
Also called slanted or angular brushes. Like the filbert brush, they are very versatile and are great for creating curved strokes as well as detailed lines by using the tip.
6. The Fan Brush
The fan brush is characterized by its fanned out bristles and is an excellent tool for blending and feathering. It’s also the brush to use if you need to create very fine lines or if you’re painting grass or hair.
7. The Mop Brush
The mop brush is a large and round shaped brush and is known for its ability to hold lots of paint. This characteristic makes it very ideal for watercolor paintings and is great for broad washes.
Now that you know more about the different types of artist brushes, it’s time to get familiar with the anatomy of your brushes. Artist paint brushes are composed of three basic parts: the brush head, the ferrule, and the handle.
The Brush Head
The brush head is made up of the toe, the belly, and the heel. The toe is the very tip or end of your brush, the belly is the widest part of your brush head, while the heel is where the bristles are secured inside the ferrule.
There are different kinds of bristles used in artist paint brushes. They can be soft or coarse, or made of natural or synthetic hairs. Natural brushes, which are coarse and made from animal hair, are often used for oil-based paints. Synthetic brushes are mostly used for water-based mediums as they hold paint well and do not expand when wet. Keep this in mind when you’re buying your brushes!
Typically made of metal, the ferrule is part of the brush that secures the handle and brush head in place. You’ll know if your brushes are well-constructed if the ferrule remains rust-free and doesn’t come loose over time. The part of the ferrule that is attached to the handle is called the crimp. This should also remain secure to keep the brush heads from falling off the handles.
Handles are made of wood or plastic with the length varying from short to long. Most watercolor artists prefer short handles, while those who dabble with oil and acrylic paints are partial to longer handles as they can keep the brush a bit farther from the painting.
Now that you know more about the different types of paint brushes and their uses, you’ll be more equipped in finding out what specific materials you’ll need to improve your craft. Leave a comment below to share your preferences with us!