Types Of Paint Brushes For Art

If you are a newbie to the world of painting then, first of all, we would like to welcome you to this wonderful world of art. This art of painting is like a magic where you will be able to explore the world beyond imagination and get to play with colors you might have never even seen before. And to make this magic possible you will need a magic wand. What this magic wand is? You guessed it right! I am talking about the paint brush you will need while filling that canvas with your creativity. So let’s find out more about these Different Types of Paint Brushes and learn about their Names and their Use.

  1. Types Of Paint Brushes For Artists
  2. Different Types Of Paint Brushes For Art

A filbert brush is a type of flat brush which has medium to long hairs that come to a rounded point or an oval-shaped end. It gives a lovely thin line when used on its side and paints broad brushstrokes when used flat. Artist brushes come with many different types of bristles. The bristles will generally determine what medium a brush is suitable for. For example, oil painting requires bristles which are resilient and have a nice spring. Acrylic paint is not as harsh so you can use bristles which are a bit finer. WEKSI Paint Brushes for Kids, 34Pcs Paint Supplies Include Paint Cups with No Spill Lids Palette Tray Muti Sizes Paint Brushes Set for Kids Gifts School Project Art Party 4.6 out of 5 stars 171 $12.99. 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. Brushes for use in non-artistic trade painting are geared to applying an even coat of paint. 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.

Mostof the magic that you create while painting is due to the way you maneuver thepaint brush. So there is no doubt why the paint brush is one of the most belovedtools of an artist. If you are new to this realm of painting then the firstthing you should know is what kind of brush you should use. Now, that can be abit daunting if you don’t know much about the paint brushes. But why worry whenyou can simply learn all about different types of paint brushes right here!

The painting brushes come in varying sizes and shapes with different bristles. Each of these is used for different purposes and gives details to the painting in their own unique ways. Choosing the painting brush depends upon what kind of details and strokes you want in your painting.


Anacrylic wash brush is the biggest of the lot with a square end and medium tolong hairs. It is ideal for varnishing because it gives the maximum coveragesmoothly and quickly what with it being thicker than any other brushes. Itgives nice bold strokes and its edge can be used to create fine lines, straightedges, and stripes.


Asthe name suggests the angled brush has an angled or slanted tip. This is thereason why it is also known as the slanted brush. Some might even call itshader due to its flexibility when it comes to filling small areas to biggerones without any effort. It is a perfect brush for curved strokes and fillingcorners.


Thinkof flat brush as the mini version of the wash brush. Where the wash brush hasbristles with slightly round edges and is very thick, the flat brush is not somuch. The flat brush is perfect to use when you want a lot of paint coverageand the surface you are working on is small for a wash brush. Not to mentionthat this brush will allow you to maneuver it more easily.


A fan brush looks exactly like the name suggests – a fan. It is flat and has spread hairs and is an ideal choice when you are planning to paint nature elements and landscapes. It can even be used for blending backgrounds or adding subtle highlights to darker areas. You can pick a fan brush with natural hairs which are great for smoothing, blending and feathering or else opt for synthetic hairs for interesting textural effects and leaves on trees.

Arts and crafts paint brushes



Imagineyou holding a pencil and that is what you will feel while holding a roundbrush. It gives you more control over the flow of paint with it being narrower thanany other brushes. The round brush can mainly be of two different types. One isthe simple round brush with a sharp point which allows you to paint fine linesand details with it. The other round brush will be narrower even than the roundbrush with a more sharply pointed tip. It is excellent to get fine lines anddetails in delicate areas.


Ifyou think no other brush can be thinner than a round brush then you are so verywrong. A liner brush, also known as rigger brush, is a thin brush with verylong bristles. The tip of this brush can be flat or square and if it is angledthen it is called a sword brush. When you want to create very fine and thinlines, this is the brush that you will need to pick. Since the brush has a verysmall tip, it is often used to write out letters and numbers. Artists mostlyuse this brush to sign their work. And believe it or not, but this extremelythin brush can hold a great deal of fluid paint.


A filbert brush is a type of flat brush which has medium to long hairs that come to a rounded point or an oval-shaped end. It gives a lovely thin line when used on its side and paints broad brushstrokes when used flat. It is a hybrid of round and flat brushes and has both of their best features – it can give details to your work as the round brushes and cover more space like the flat brush. With its variety of marks, the filbert brush has become the favorite of many artists, especially the figurative painters.

Now that you know all about these different types of paint brushes, you wouldn’t get flustered in the paint brush aisle in an art store. Just pick the one that you feel the most comfortable with and explore your creativity. And let the worries go away and have fun with this color play!


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
Types of brushes
Brushes used in one stroke painting

Some other styles of brush include: Extra fine paint brushes.

  • 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 include:

Types Of Paint Brushes For Artists

  • 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.

Different Types Of Paint Brushes For Art

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]

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.
Good paint brushes for art
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