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Types and Shapes of Art Paint Brushes

As an artist, exploring different materials and mediums can be quite intimidating. This is especially true if you have just decided to start painting, for example, in watercolor or acrylic color -- the sheer variety of brushes can overwhelm and demotivate a beginner artist.

But don’t fret, as we are going to look at some types and shapes of brushes that are used for painting, and hopefully remove some of the mystery surrounding all these different brush types.

This will not only help you choose the right brush – depending upon your expertise in your chosen art medium – but also give you some better insights for when you decide to try something new.

The Size of the Brush

The size of a paintbrush is printed on the handle, and indicates how long or wide the bristles are. The higher the number, the bigger the bristles. Keep in mind that actual brush sizes are often inconsistent between different manufacturers, so a brush from one company may be different from a similarly labelled brush from a different company.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to find out the actual size of the brush (in millimeters or inches) before buying it.

Thickness of a Paintbrush

If you aren’t familiar with watercolor or fluid paint, it is important to know that a thicker brush will hold more paint as compared to a thinner one. Hence, one must take various factors into consideration before choosing a paintbrush. You may want to buy a tinier brush for better precision and fine details.

However, if you wish to paint on larger surfaces without stopping, a thicker brush will do the trick.

Apart from that, if you wish to experiment with dry-brush techniques, choose a brush that holds less paint.


Types of Brushes

  1. Filbert Brush

This is a flat brush with a rounded point. A filbert brush allows you to produce a tapering mark on the canvas when used with varying pressure.

  1. Round Brush

A good quality round brush enables you to paint thin lines with various details. This is especially possible if it is a Kolinsky sable hair brush. It is also used to create broad strokes and can hold a good amount of fluid paint.

  1. Flat Brush

When buying a flat brush, one must look for a brush that snaps back when bent gently or one with good spring to it. A smaller brush can be used for precise and small brush marks, whereas a larger brush can be used to maintain a longer streak.

  1. Sword Brush

A liner brush, when steeply angled, is known as a sword brush. You can paint lines of various shapes and sizes by using the brush at different angles. It can also be used to make calligraphy markings.

  1. Mop Brush

This brush can hold a lot of liquid. It is an ideal choice for ‘washing’ the canvas or larger areas when using watercolors.

  1. Fan Brush

A fan brush is used to blend colors and can be used to paint hair, grass, or thin branches.

  1. Liner Brush

Also known as a liner brush, it is a thin brush with long bristles. Rigger brushes are used to produce consistent lines and details. They can be used to draw the thinnest lines such as cat’s whiskers or writing a name on the painting.

Painting takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s best if you have proper knowledge about paint brushes before jumping into it. We hope this content was useful and will serve you well as a basic guide for the different types of paintbrushes.

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