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How to Choose the Best Paint Brushes

By Chelsea Reed

As the knife is essential to a chef and the compass is to an explorer, so is the paint brush to an artist. The best brushes become an extension of the artist’s hand and mind. That’s why it’s important to know how to choose the right paint brushes for your artwork.

anartistpaintingatthe beachBeginners and seasoned artists alike will appreciate this handy how-to guide for paint brush selection. Let’s begin!

8 Basic Brush Shapes

Did you know that the shape of your brush directly affects how your painting looks? There are eight basic kinds of brush shapes, each serving their own purpose. They are:

  1. Flat– A square-bristled brush with a straight edge. Useful for painting lines and quickly covers a wide area with paint.
  1. Angle– A Flat brush with an angled edge. It covers a wide area like a Flat and is handy for painting corners and curved strokes.
  1. Bright– A Flat brush with inward- curved edges. This is good for painting controlled short strokes if you’re up close to the canvas. Lays thick layers of color.
  1. Round– Round-shaped brush with a pointed tip. Handy for sketching, filling small areas, and painting detailed work in thicker lines. This shape works best with thinner paints.
  1. Filbert– A Flat brush with an oval-shaped end and longer bristles than a Bright. It paints like a combination of a Flat and Round brush and it blends color shades nicely.
  1. Fan– A brush with bristles shaped like a fan. Fan brushes with natural bristles are soft and blend colors easily. Stiffer synthetic Fans are good for applying texture. They are frequently used for painting grass, clouds, and trees.
  1. Rigger– The tall, thin bristles of a Rigger brush are great for painting words and thin lines.
  1. Detail Round– This brush is like a Round and a Rigger with shorter bristles. It’s great for painting touch-ups and the smallest of details!

Choosing Your Paint

Do you enjoy the richness that accompanies oil painting, or acrylic’s fast and easy handling? The type of paint you decide to work with will affect the brushes in your repertoire of supplies, so make sure they are compatible with your specific paint when you shop for brushes.

Quality over Quantity

Buying your brushes at the discount store may be tempting, but you might not be happy with how they perform. The quality of the brush’s bristles and construction has a direct impact on your artwork. Why risk your brush breaking or shedding pieces all over your lovely painting? It’s truly better to invest in longer lasting brushes and avoid costly mistakes.

Much like researching brushes for painting your house, the right brushes for your artwork make a big difference between an okay-looking painting and a painting that’s absolutely marvelous. For inspiration to get started on your own masterpiece, you’re welcome to study how artists use many different kinds of brush strokes in the paintings at Seaside Art Gallery.

Chelsea Reed is a freelance copywriter. She writes articles, blogs, websites and online content from her base in North Carolina.