Brush up your artistic knowledge. If you’re just as overwhelmed by the number of artist paint brush types as you are by the rainbow hues of acrylic and oil paints, then you need to go back to the basics. Artist paint brushes can be pricey, and if you’re going to spend a hefty chunk of change on one, make sure it’s the right shape and made of the right material.
Artist Paint Brushes: Quick Guide to Buying and Using
Size Matters: Short or Long Handle?
When you browse the artist paint brushes in their neatly divided shelves you will notice some have short handles and others have long ones. It’s too good to have of both when you first start painting, to see which ones suit your painting style.
If you’re an expressive painter, like Vincent Van Gogh (I know, you wish you were, don’t we all, a long-handled brush will allow you a wider sweep of the brush. These also work for painting on an easel and painting with a bit o distance between you and the canvas.
The short-handled brush will be your best friend when you peer closely at the canvas and work up the details in your painting. When you use a short-handled brush, you’ll be painting in “close up” and you can zoom out with long-handled brush.
Are They Real? Synthetic vs. Natural
Synthetic artist paint brushes take the top spot for acrylic painting. They don’t absorb water and they hold up well to the thick, quick-drying acrylic paint. Synthetic brushes also maintain their shape better than natural brushes and they tend to be cheaper.
Natural artist paint brushes are a great choice for oil painting, especially bristle brushes. Sable brushes are natural and expensive. They make a great gift.
Artist Paint Brushes Come in All Shapes
A fan brush is the most appealing to young artists, simply because it looks like it can do cool things on canvas. Use a fan brush for blending paint colors.
The bright artist paint brush’s flat edge makes it ideal to use with heavy paint.
The flat artist paint brush has long bristles and a flat edge used for blending and smoothing. They are great for detail work.
A filbert is not a nut, it is a paint brush with a slightly rounded edge.
A liner brush is exactly what it sounds like: it’s used to make precise lines.
The round brush is a bit of a misnomer because when you buy it new the tip is pointy. They are the workhorse of artist paint brushes and can be used for both detail work and for pushing heavy paint around. Use the round brushes to match your canvas size. Buy a set for a variety of tips.