Brushes Basic Knowledge

July 4, 2018

Brushes are the essential tools to create a painting. Know more about your brushes before purchase or use are necessary to maximize their functions. 



Paint brushes come in a lot of shapes and sizes, which is overwhelming to some who new to painting. They are also made from different materials which are specified to use on different paint. 

As you paint, you will become increasingly familiar with the way the brushes handle the paint and what they can accomplish for you. Pretty soon the paintbrush will become a part of you that you intuitively know how to maneuver.


                                            Part of paintbrush


Artists' brush bristles; types include:
  • watercolor brushes which are usually made of sable, synthetic sable or nylon;

  • oil painting brushes which are usually made of sable or bristle;

  • acrylic brushes which are almost entirely



These are the most common brushes and their specialty;

  • Round and Pointy Tip good for: sketching, outlining, detailed work, controlled washes, filling in small areas. Creates thin to thick lines - thin at the tip, becoming wider the more its pressed down. Use with thinned paint rather than thick paint.

  • Flat good for: bold strokes, washes, filling wide spaces, impasto. You can use edge for fine lines, straight edges and stripes. Long haired flat brushes are ideal for varnishing.

  • Bright good for: short controlled strokes. Thick and heavy color. Better for working up close rather than holding the brush at a distance from the canvas.

  • Filbert good for: blending, soft rounded edges like flower petals. This brush is sort of a combination of the rounds (because they can be used for detail) and flat (because they can cover more space than round).

  • Fan good for: natural hairs are good for smoothing, blending, and feathering. Synthetic hairs are better for textural effects, clouds, and leaves on trees. For acrylics, use strong and sturdy one, otherwise the hairs will clump when paint is added.

  • Angular Flat (shader) good for: curved strokes and filling corners. It can reach small areas with tip. also can be used to cover lots of space, similar to flat brushes.

  • Detail Round good for: details and short strokes. Holds more color than you might think!



Paint brushes surely are expensive. There are wide variation of brands and range from the cheap ones to expensive ones. One thing is for sure, your paint brushes durability depends on how you care for each one. 

  • CLEAN YOUR BRUSHES IMMEDIATELY AFTER USE. Never let paint (especially acrylics) dry on your brush. 

  • DON'T GET PAINT ON THE FERRULE; the silvery bit that connects the hairs of the brush with the handle. In general, try not to get paint on the ferrule. When paint gets on the ferrule, it's usually connected in a large blob between the ferrule and the hairs, and the result (even after you wash it) is that the hairs will spread apart and wind up frayed.

  • NEVER STORE YOUR BRUSHES VERTICALLY IN WATER OR SOLVENT. The pressure on the brush can permanently misshape the bristles, bending them or spreading them out so they no longer come to a point. If they are left too long to rest on the bristles, most brushes will never regain their original shape.
  • STORE CLEAN BRUSHES HEAD-SIDE-UP OR HORIZONTALLY. This to prevent the bristle on your brush become deformed.
When the brushes taken good care of, they will last long. Do not be afraid to explore and try the brushes' wide variations to create different fun effect. Most art shop sells sets of brushes as basic combination. The more you use them, the more you know what's needed for your artwork.
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