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How to Choose Your Paint Brushes?

Choosing the best pencils or paint brushes for your next project isn't always an easy decision. After all, different effects require different tools so it can be difficult to know which to use. To simplify the process of choosing paint brushes, we make two major distinctions: the type of hair the paint brush is made of and the shape.

 

If you're struggling with which paint brush to use, the best thing to do is to try the various shapes. For example, you could start with only bristle rounds. Then, try and paint with only flats, and then finally filberts.

 

Remember, it takes time to become familiar with the various shapes. Practice makes perfect. So how do you pick the perfect tool? Here are some tips to help you decide which paint brush to use, for any painting.

Natural Bristle Flat Paint Brush

Natural Bristle Flat Paint Brush

Remember – whichever brush you choose, if you want it to last, you need to look after them properly. 

 

01. Two types of hair

The first way I categorise paint brushes is by the type of hair they use. The two main types of hair are bristle (A) and sable (B). Both come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be made either from natural animal hair or synthetic fiber.

 

02. Bristle brushes

Bristle brushes are made of thicker, stronger and sometimes rougher hair. They originally came from animals such as wild hogs, but now synthetic bristle brushes are very common. Bristles are great because they can hold a lot of paint.

 

Check out more information about bristle brushes.

 

03. Bristle marks

To help you choose which paint brush to use, here is an example of some marks made with bristle brushes. Bristle marks tend to be rougher and the paint strokes can be easily seen. These are often called "painterly" strokes.

 Natural Bristle Round Paintbrush

 Natural Bristle Round Paintbrush

04. Sable brushes

Sable brushes are generally made of finer and softer hair. Sables can be made from soft animal hair such as a mongoose or mink, or from soft synthetic fibers. I like sables mostly for blending edges and creating softer and more subtle marks.

 

05. Sable marks

Here is an example of some marks made by sable brushes. Sables make very clean marks and the paint strokes tend to be hidden. Because of this sables are great for achieving a more "realistic" look in a painting.

 

06. Three paint brush shapes

The three most common shapes are: flat (A), filbert (B) and round (C ). All three shapes can come in both bristle and sable hair. They also come in many different sizes.

Synthetic Filament Round Paint Brush

Synthetic Filament Round Paint Brush

07. Round brushes

The first common brush shape is round. Round brushes are shaped like sharp tear drops or large needles.

 

08. Flat brushes

The next common brush shape is flat. Flat brushes have a rectangular shape. Flat brushes make square shaped marks. They can also make chisel like lines, especially when using a sable flat. There square shaped marks are great for defining planes and form in a figure or portrait painting.

 

Check out more information about flat paint brushes.

 

09. Filbert brushes

The final most common brush shape is filbert. Filberts are combination of both round and flat. The have the rectangular shape of a flat brush, but also come to a point like a round brush. Because of their unique shape, filberts can create a wide variety of marks.


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