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Art Paint Brushes: Artists Brush Shopping Guide

Updated on March 13, 2011

Artist Paint Brushes

An artist who paints needs paint brushes, quite obviously, but there are ranges and different sizes of brush types out there that are for different paints or different ways of painting, so which ones are for what?

Well for watercolour paints, you will need the finer sable brushes or the equivalent in synthetic fibres for the watercolour to glide off the brush onto the paper or canvas for your painting and some of these can be fine point brushes or thick brushes for adding in large washes of colour such as blue sky and grass green that would fill a large area.

Watercolour brushes as they will use watercolour paints will need to soak up the paint quite well and so sable brushes would be better really, although synthetic brushes are okay, they just happen to be too stiff when painting serious pieces for me, unless they have undergone some in depth testing and close match sable manufacturing.

But anyway painting is about mixing and matching what tools you find right for the job, so who am I to tell you what to use...see a quick overview of a few good brush types below to give you an idea of what to use.

Paint Brushes

£1 paintbrushes cheap art brushes.
£1 paintbrushes cheap art brushes.

Fan Brushes At Amazon, Buy Them If You Need Them

A Fan Brush

 A fan brush is for blending colours mainly and this brush is one of the best brushes for me, as it is a versatile tool for painting in all types of similar textures like grass and hair.

Also if you get used to painting with brushes you can use the brushes to create all different types of effects like smoothing out brush strokes created with paint and a random process that I myself experiment with called scumbling which is when you paint to create a mark rather than an ordered brush stroke.

A fan brush is mainly used with oil paints, but I have found other uses for it with acrylics and even watercolours, so it's about just trying things out with brushes that you use.

Rigger Paint Brush

 A rigger paint brush is one of them very useful brushes for painting in lines to either construct your painting or other fine line work that needs your attention, but tree branches come to mind and blades of grass and the line work on buildings could be a few examples of what the rigger brush can be used for.

The bristles are typically long, similar to sign writing brushes and they are excellent for painting in details on any painting.

A Flat Brush

 These flat brushes come in all sizes, so it is best to either get a sable one or hogs hair brush, these are for painting broad brush strokes, but you can also use the brush to create thinner brush strokes by turning the brush on it's side.

A flat brush will add to your brush tools by being able to carry paint in the bristles and applying that paint in broad strokes, like a large brush would.

These are available in soft bristles and stiff bristles.

Round Brushes, Great For Fine Detail and Combined Broad Brush Strokes

Round Brushes

Considered the traditional brush for painting and one that is commonly used with other brushes, again they come in a range of sizes and thicknesses for painting fine details and large parts of your painting.

Every artist should have round paint brushes in their tool box.

Art Brushes

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      such a loser thing i ever haven't seen before!!!!...

    • waynet profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Tully 

      8 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      And you have to have proper english to make me understand your comment! do you mean two images at the top and 43 images underneath, with a tiny ribbon around it?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      u have 2 show images of materials visibely in order to make me understand thank u.

    • RosWebbART profile image

      Ros Webb 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Great info! I have bookmarked this hub for further reading.. RosWebbART

    • waynet profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Tully 

      9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Like many of my hubpages, this one requires an update...cheers mike!!

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      9 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Nice work, very informative. In my younger days, I was an art supply buyer for a college bookstore. Your post brings back fond memories of sampling products and trying to guess what would be most appropriate for college students. Thanks for sharing!

    • waynet profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Tully 

      9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Cheers Robert!

      This was intended as a basic overview of the main brushes I use, although there are other types of brushes out there I thought I would just target the main ones.

      That tip would certainly make random grass blade effects look well random if you cut a fan brush that way...

    • robertsloan2 profile image


      9 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Good overview on artist brushes! These are the basics, they're all useful in so many ways. One book I read suggested a grass texturing technique by getting an extra fan brush and then giving it a sort of punk cut with scizzors, randomly cutting out chunks of it. Then swish that through the paint and flick whole clumps of grass or pine needles at once. Very useful for foliage too.


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