If you are starting out with painting, a visit to the art supply store can get rather confusing, especially when it comes to buying brushes. Having to select them from the paintbrush section with its vast collection may not be an easy task. After all, every type of paint - water-colours, acrylics, oils, and gouache requires different types of brushes.

Furthermore, each style of painting demands its own technique and specific tools - brushes foremost among them. From wide brush strokes for landscapes and still lives, to the detailed work required for portraits and miniature paintings, each brush is selected based on bristle type, brush tip, and more: the handle, the weight, and size of the brush.

If you're wondering what it'll take for you to end up with the right set of brushes for your painting, you need not look any further. We have a detailed guide to ensure that even if you're buying a brush for the first time, you end up getting the right ones. Also, if you are interested in online painting classes for beginners to build your artistic skills, you can find drawing classes near me here.

Parts of a brush
Every brush comprises bristles, handle, and  ferrule Source: | Source: pixabay.com

 

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Anatomy of a Brush

Good quality paintbrushes are a must if you want to produce a great work of art that you can frame and hang on your wall. Professional painters buy nothing but the best that is available in the market. You can buy these products from Amazon which offers the best price and smooth delivery.  Before you choose your pick, you need to know the equipment well.

The brush comprises 3 parts:

  • Bristles: These help to transfer paint onto the paint surface
  • Ferrule: Holds the bristles and attaches them to the handle
  • Handle: The part which is held in the hand and is the interface between the user and the tool

Regardless of whether you use water-based or oil-based colours to paint, you need to invest in quality paintbrushes. The choice of bristles of the brush which is its most important part has to be given due consideration. The inch of bristles come in varying lengths—long, medium, and short. They depend on the shape of the brush and its use.

In general, medium or long bristles work well with fluid paints and, depending on the shape, can be used for fine detail or coverage. Short bristles can be particularly useful for detailed brushwork or when employing techniques like stippling. Based on the material of the bristles, it can be categorized into 2 types:

Natural Brushes

These are mostly made from sable, hog, squirrel, badger, ox, pony, etc. These are best for working with oil paints as the oil conditions the bristles or hairs making them more pliable. You can also use them while working with water-colours. The bristles soak up water and redistribute onto canvas. It's best not to use them while painting with acrylic colours as they damage the bristles. Natural brushes are more expensive.

Art supply
Investing in quality art equipment is always a good idea. | Source: pixabay.com

Synthetic Brushes

These are typically made of nylon or polyester or a mix of both. Not only are these more budget-friendly, but they are easier to clean and less prone to breakage on rougher painting surfaces. Synthetic paintbrushes are less susceptible to damage from solvents and paints. These work well with acrylics, oils, and water-colours.

Types of Paintbrushes

The perfect paintbrush helps to bring an artist's work to life. Whether you are working with oil, acrylic, or water-colour paints, having the correct brush will help you to produce a perfect piece of art. While your choice of the painting canvas will play an integral role, the brushes you end up using will have an equally important part to play.

Whether you visit an online shopping store like Amazon or visit a physical shop, there will be hundreds of paintbrushes to choose from. This might make things very confusing. From different shapes and sizes to synthetic or natural bristles, there are a lot of choices to be made. So, how do you know which is the best paint brush set for you?

Round

If you are using thinner paints like water-colour, this brush is ideal. It will help you to add fine details, fill in smaller areas and do line-work. This brush has a close gathering of bristles with a round or pointed tip. By changing the pressure on the brush, it’s easy to produce lines that vary from thin to thick.

Flat

This is a very useful brush. You can use it to fill up large spaces like the sky. The versatile nature of the brush makes it fit for bold strokes, impasto, or washes. You can also make fine lines with this brush by using its edge.

Bright

A bright brush is pretty much a flat brush with shorter bristles and edges that curve slightly toward the center. They are useful for short, controlled strokes. With shorter and stiffer bristles than a flat brush, these paintbrushes work well with heavy body paints when doing impasto and with thin paints to help drive the pigment into the canvas.

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Artist
Choice of brush should be based on painting technique and the type of paint being used. pixabay.com

Filbert

This flat brush offers the best of what round and flat brushes have to offer. It has domed edges that are either medium or long-bristled and can be used for detail as well as coverage. It gives a lovely thin line when used on its side and paints broad brushstrokes when used flat.

Fan

The splayed-out bristles of a fan brush are an ideal choice when you are want to create textural effects on natural elements like trees, clouds, etc., and landscapes. It can even be used for blending, feathering, and smoothing backgrounds if it has natural bristles. With synthetic bristles, you can add subtle textured highlights to darker areas.

Angle

These are flat brushes with an angled edge. If you need to make curved lines or fill up corners, then this brush is the one for you because the tip can easily reach these spaces.  But they also come in handy for applying paint to larger areas, making them another versatile tool.

Mop

When it comes to using water-colours, you should opt for mop brushes. They come in larger sizes and have soft bristles with a rounded edge.  They are wonderful at creating washes of colour.

Rigger

These were originally used to paint the rigging of ships in paintings and that's how they've got their name. These long, thin round brushes work well with fluid paint.  A rigger brush has much longer hair than other types of brushes and is used for painting straight lines in oil, acrylic, or water-colour. Also known as liner brushes, make long continuous strokes that are useful for painting fine details like branches, as well as for lettering and calligraphy.

Choosing the Right Kind of Brush

A drawing tablet or an interactive whiteboard may be fun to paint on, but nothing beats using a real brush to paint on a canvas. Carefully selecting your art equipment like brushes, paints, canvas, drawing pencils, etc. is important to produce an impressive painting. When you are painting with acrylic, oil, or water-based paints, the paintbrush becomes a crucial tool and has to be selected with care.

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Canvas on wall
By learning painting techniques, you can paint your own canvas for the wall. | Source: pixabay.com

While focusing on the quality of your brush is important, ultimately it will come down to the kind of painting that you going to produce. Here are some tips to help you choose the right set of high-quality brushes:

Finish of a Painting

Once you’ve narrowed your choices by choosing either a synthetic or natural-bristle brush, you only have a few more decisions to make. You’ll notice that some brushes have bristles that are cut at an angle and some have square ends. If you’re planning to use the brush either to paint trim or cut in before rolling walls, then you can use a brush with an angled tip. The angled tip makes it easier to control the line of paint for a more accurate job. Choose a square-tipped brush if you’re painting wide, flat surfaces.

Invest in High-Quality Brushes

On most occasions, you will be tempted to buy an inexpensive brush and throw it away after use. This does make sense if you’re doing something like spot priming with alcohol or oil-based stain sealer where the quality of the finish isn’t important and cleaning would require the use of a solvent.

But, for most serious projects that you intend to frame and put up on your walls projects,  you’ll be glad you spent extra on a high-quality paintbrush. Good quality brushes hold more paint, provide smoother results, last longer, and can be easier to clean.

If you are an aspiring artist, then to achieve professional-level skills you need to learn to paint from an expert. You can begin by picking up basic painting techniques through online painting classes for beginners. You can find such classes on websites like Superprof that connect students with teachers in various subjects including painting across India. It's time to get going!

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.