Types Of Paint Brushes For Art

  1. Different Types Of Paint Brushes For Art
  2. Types Of Paint Brushes For Art
  3. Art Paint Brushes Wholesale

There are numerous types of art paint brushes available which come in many different sizes and shapes. Paint brushes can have soft or stiff bristles, which are made with natural hairs or synthetic fibres. They are often are designed for specific uses and types of paint, which is why most artists will own a wide selection of them.

The main brands of print brushes include general Art Supplies manufacturers such as Winsor & Newton and Daler Rowney; but the most renowned manufacturer among serious artists is Pro Arte Brushes who specialise in providing the widest selection of high quality art brushes available today.

  • Acrylic - Acrylic paints are extremely versatile, and ideal for fine brushwork, glazing, staining, water.
  • These brushes come in different sizes and yes, of course, in two different bristle types. While the natural bristles brushes are best suited for oil-based colors, synthetic brushes can be used for both the water and oil-based paints. Depending on the shape of the bristles, brushes are used for different purposes.

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The most common styles of brush tips are:

These brushes come in different sizes and yes, of course, in two different bristle types. While the natural bristles brushes are best suited for oil-based colors, synthetic brushes can be used for both the water and oil-based paints. Depending on the shape of the bristles, brushes are used for different purposes. Painting brush is an essential tool for any artist. There is a wide range of brushes on the market. Easy to get overwhelmed and buy something that doesn't actually suits your needs. This article will guide you through important nuances and distinctions that will help you to make a right decision.

  • Round tip brushes have a pointed tip, with tightly packed long bristles and they ate used for detail work. Other varieties of round tips include a Liner tip which has longer bristles, a Script tip which has extremely long bristles and a Stippler tip which has short bristles.
  • A Flat tip is useful for applying colour evenly and quickly over a wide area of the canvas or paper. This type of brush has reasonably long bristles or fibres.
  • A Filbert tip is a flat brush which had a dome shaped end. They allow coverage of paint over a large area and can also be used for fine detail painting.
  • A Bright tip is smaller type of flat brush which has shorter and stiffer bristles. They are suitable for heavy applications of paint such as impasto painting and they are also useful for dabbing paint into the heavy weave of a canvas.
  • An Angle tip is similar to the filbert variety; they are general purpose and may also be used for fine detail painting.
  • A Mop tipped paint brush has a large tip that has a rounded edge. They can be used for a soft wide application of paint and also for applying thin glazes over layers of paint which are drying, while not disturbing the previously applied paint.
  • Fan tipped brush can be used for blending large areas of colour.
  • Rigger tips are rounded and have long bristles. They are appropriately named rigger tips because they are traditionally used to depict the rigging in paintings of ships. They can be used with oil paints and watercolours and should be used whenever fine lines need to be depicted.

Natural Hair Brushes
Natural hairs are the traditional choice for artists and are thought by many to be superior to synthetic hairs. The most common types of natural hair include Sable and Squirrel which are soft and Hog hair bristles which are firm.

Sable hairs come from a species of Marten (the same family as pine martens) which originally come from forests mainly in Russia – Martens are now farmed specifically for their hair. It is an extremely soft hair which works particularity well with thinned acrylics and watercolour paint. Squirrel hair brushes are very soft and flexible and have a long pointed tip. They can hold significant amount of paint and they are very absorbent. They are usually used with watercolours, tempera or gouache.

Hog hair brushes have a very stiff tip and they keep their shape and stiffness over a long period of time. They are suitable for many uses with oils or acrylics. Hog hair brushes are generally inexpensive and artists who use them will often own a wide selection of them.

Synthetic Hair Brushes
Synthetic hairs are commonly made from nylon and come in a variety of thicknesses which determines the stiffness of the bristles. They are much cheaper their natural counterparts and until relatively recently were only used by amateurs, beginners and student artists; but now with the latest high-tech manufacturing techniques used by manufacturers such as Pro Arte Brushes, synthetic brushes can be made which have almost identical properties to natural hair.


A paintbrush is a brush used to apply paint or sometimes ink. A paintbrush is usually made by clamping the bristles to a handle with a ferrule. They are available in various sizes, shapes, and materials. Thicker ones are used for filling in, and thinner ones are used for details. They may be subdivided into decorators' brushes used for painting and decorating and artists' brushes use for visual art.

Brush parts[edit]

  • Bristles: Transfer paint onto the substrate surface
  • Ferrule: Retains the bristles and attaches them to the handle
  • Handle: The intended interface between the user and the tool

Trade painter's brushes[edit]

Brushes for use in non-artistic trade painting are geared to applying an even coat of paint to relatively large areas.

Following are the globally recognized handles of trade painter's brushes:

  • Gourd Handle: Ergonomic design that reduces stress on the wrist and hand whilst painting.
  • Short Handle: The shorter handle provides greater precision when painting small spaces such as corners, trims & detail areas.
  • Flat Beavertail Handle: This shape is rounded and slightly flattened to fit perfectly into the palm of the hand whilst painting.
  • Square Handle: Square shaped handle with bevelled corners is featured mainly in trim or sash brushes and is comfortable to hold when painting.
  • Rat Tail Handle: This handle is longer & thinner than the standard making it easy to hold to give greater control.
  • Long Handle: Rounded and thin, a long handle is easy to hold like a pencil giving great control & precision when cutting in & painting tricky spaces.[1]

Decorators' brushes[edit]

A paintbrush, with parts identified
Decorators' brushes
Using a paintbrush

The sizes of brushes used for painting and decorating.

Decorators' brush sizes[edit]

Decorators' brush sizes are given in millimeters (mm) or inches (in), which refers to the width of the head. Common sizes are:

  • Metric: 10 mm, 20 mm, 40 mm, 50 mm, 60 mm, 70 mm, 80 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm.
  • Customary: ​18 in,​14 in, ​38 in, ​12 in, ​58 in, ​34 in, ​78 in, 1 in, ​114 in, ​112 in, 2 in, ​212 in, 3 in, ​312 in, 4 in.

Decorators' brush shapes[edit]

  • Angled: For painting edges, bristle length viewed from the wide face of the brush uniformly decrease from one end of the brush to the other
  • Flat: For painting flat surfaces, bristle length viewed from the wide face of the brush does not change
  • Tapered: Improves control, the bristle length viewed from the narrow face of the brush is longer in the center and tapers toward the edges
  • Striker: Large round (cylindrical) brush for exterior painting difficult areas

Decorators' brush bristles[edit]

Bristles may be natural or synthetic. If the filaments are synthetic, they may be made of polyester, nylon or a blend of nylon and polyester.Filaments can be hollow or solid and can be tapered or untapered. Brushes with tapered filaments give a smoother finish.

Synthetic filaments last longer than natural bristles. Natural bristles are preferred for oil-based paints and varnishes, while synthetic brushes are better for water-based paints as the bristles do not expand when wetted.

A decorator judges the quality of a brush based on several factors: filament retention, paint pickup, steadiness of paint release, brush marks, drag and precision painting. A chiseled brush permits the painter to cut into tighter corners and paint more precisely.

Brush handles may be made of wood or plastic while ferrules are metal (usually nickel-plated steel).

Artists' brushes[edit]

Short handled brushes are for watercolor or ink painting while the long handled brushes are for oil or acrylic paint.

Artist's brush shapes[edit]

The styles of brush tip seen most commonly are:

  • Round: pointed tip, long closely arranged bristles for detail.
  • Flat: for spreading paint quickly and evenly over a surface. They will have longer hairs than their Bright counterpart.
  • Bright: shorter than flats. Flat brushes with short stiff bristles, good for driving paint into the weave of a canvas in thinner paint applications, as well as thicker painting styles like impasto work.
  • Filbert: flat brushes with domed ends. They allow good coverage and the ability to perform some detail work.
  • Fan: for blending broad areas of paint.
  • Angle: like the filbert, these are versatile and can be applied in both general painting application as well as some detail work.
  • Mop: a larger format brush with a rounded edge for broad soft paint application as well as for getting thinner glazes over existing drying layers of paint without damaging lower layers to protect the paintbrush
  • Rigger: round brushes with longish hairs, traditionally used for painting the rigging in pictures of ships. They are useful for fine lines and are versatile for both oils and watercolors.
  • Stippler and deer-foot stippler: short, stubby rounds
  • Liner: elongated rounds
  • Dagger looks like angle with longish hairs, used for one stroke painting like painting long leaves.
  • Scripts: highly elongated rounds
  • Egbert

Different Types Of Paint Brushes For Art

Types of brushes
Brushes used in one stroke painting
Types of paint brushes for artists

Some other styles of brush include:

  • Sumi: Similar in style to certain watercolor brushes, also with a generally thick wooden or metal handle and a broad soft hair brush that when wetted should form a fine tip. Also spelled Sumi-e (墨絵, Ink wash painting).
  • Hake (刷毛): An Asian style of brush with a large broad wooden handle and an extremely fine soft hair used in counterpoint to traditional Sumi brushes for covering large areas. Often made of goat hair.
  • Spotter: Round brushes with just a few short bristles. These brushes are commonly used in spotting photographic prints.
  • Stencil: A round brush with a flat top used on stencils to ensure the bristles don't get underneath. Also used to create texture.

Artists' brush sizes[edit]

Artists' brushes are usually given numbered sizes, although there is no exact standard for their physical dimensions.

From smallest to largest, the sizes are:

  • 20/0, 12/0, 10/0, 7/0, 6/0, 5/0, 4/0 (also written 0000), 000, 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30. Brushes as fine as 30/0 are manufactured by major companies, but are not a common size.

Sizes 000 to 20 are most common.

Artists' brush bristles[edit]

Closeup of an oil paintbrush

Types Of Paint Brushes For Art

Types include:

Types Of Paint Brushes For Art
  • watercolor brushes which are usually made of sable, synthetic sable or nylon;
  • oil painting brushes which are usually made of sable or bristle;
  • acrylic brushes which are almost entirely nylon or synthetic.

Turpentine or thinners used in oil painting can destroy some types of synthetic brushes. However, innovations in synthetic bristle technology have produced solvent resistant synthetic bristles suitable for use in all media. Natural hair, squirrel, badger or sable are used by watercolorists due to their superior ability to absorb and hold water.

Bristles may be natural—either soft hair or hog bristle—or synthetic.

Soft hair brushes
The best of these are made from kolinsky sable, other red sables, or miniver (Russian squirrel winter coat; tail) hair. Sabeline is ox hair dyed red to look like red sable and sometimes blended with it. Camel hair is a generic term for a cheaper and lower quality alternative, usually ox. It can be other species, or a blend of species, but never includes camel. Pony, goat, mongoose and badger are also used.
Hog bristle
Often called China bristle or Chungking bristle. This is stiffer and stronger than soft hair. It may be bleached or unbleached.
Synthetic bristles
These are made of special multi-diameter extruded nylon filament, Taklon or polyester. These are becoming ever more popular with the development of new water based paints.

Artists' brush handles[edit]

Art Paint Brushes Wholesale

Artists' brush handles are commonly wooden but can also be made of molded plastic. Many mass-produced handles are made of unfinished raw wood; better quality handles are of seasoned hardwood. The wood is sealed and lacquered to give the handle a high-gloss, waterproof finish that reduces soiling and swelling.

Metal ferrules may be of aluminum, nickel, copper, or nickel-plated steel. Quill ferrules are also found: these give a different 'feel' to the brush, and are staple of French-style aquarel wash brushes.


  1. ^'Choose The Best Paint Brush World's Finest Handcrafted Paint Brushes'. Monarch Painting Australia's Finest Handcrafted Brushes, Rollers & Accessories. Retrieved 2019-02-24.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to paint brushes.
Look up paintbrush in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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