A round brush has bristles that taper to a pointed tip making them very useful for detailed brush strokes. Excellent for initial sketches when painting and can produce a varying line width depending on the pressure applied. Useful for filling small areas.
The flat brush is a very versatile brush that can be used to spread paint quickly and evenly over a surface. It can also be used on its edge for finer more precise brush strokes. Produces a square ended brush stroke.
Bright brushes, although similar in shape to that of flats have a shorter stiffer bristle. Particularly useful when wishing to employ thick paint styles like impasto.
Filbert brushes are flat brushes with long bristles that form into a rounded end and can be used to achieve a variety of marks. Very effective for blending in figurative works.
Angled brushes, like the filbert, are very versatile and can be used in both general painting application as well as detail work. Can be manipulated to achieve a variety of line widths and effects.
Fan brushes great for smoothing, blending, and feathering. They can be used to add texture effects on clouds, leaves and trees for example or to achieve a very subtle paint application.
The mop brush is a larger brush that holds a lot of paint. They are used to apply large areas of colour in one go, for example when laying down a watercolour wash.
A rigger has much longer bristles than other brushes that help it produce precise, consistent line work. It gets its name from its traditional use of painting the rigging of ships. However, it is also great for landscape painting, especially the long boughs of trees or tall grasses.
Brush Bristle Types
A natural hair from a species of weasel. Sable is favoured for its softness, flexibility and ability to hold a fine point. Kolinsky sable is regarded by many as the best bristle for watercolour brushes.
Uses: Watercolour, Oil
A hard wearing natural bristle that is known for its durability. Stiff yet springy making it good for applying thicker paint mediums. Available in a variety of qualities for cheaper student ranges to Artists quality.
Uses: Oil, Acrylic
Synthetic bristles are a manmade fibre often consisting of nylon or polyester. A versatile material that is manufactured with a variety of properties to mimic it’s natural counterparts.
Uses: Watercolour, Oil, Acrylic
Artists' brushes are sized using several different identifiers. Some are measured in millimetres or inches where the larger the number the larger the brush. Others are simply given a number. (unfortunately, this number is not universal amongst suppliers and does not relate to an exact standard describing their physical dimensions) However, as with brushes using the metric or imperial standard, these brushes also increase in size as the number gets bigger. (see below)
SMALL - 5/0, 4/0, 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 - LARGE