A Beginners Guide To Paint Brushes
You might assume all paint brushes are virtually the same, just different shapes and sizes, but upon further inspection you’ll soon realise that each paint brush comes with its own uses and benefits, and no two styles are the same.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the difference between each brush and the uses and benefits it withholds, depending on what type of painting you’re looking to create.
Below is a list of the 8 main brush types you will typically come across as an artist, all of which can be found here: https://stationeryisland.com/collections/brushes
Flat Brush - Used for painting colours that are smooth and crisp. Also great for creating long lines and dispersing colour quickly.
Angled Brush - Best used for painting clean lines. If you need to paint a line close to another object, an angled brush is best.
Fan Brush - Great for creating texture, fan brushes make it easy to create multiple lines or dots at once.
Liner Brush - When it comes to fine details and small areas, liner brushes are best. Their smaller, elongated bristles work perfectly for small, precise lines.
Round Brush - Truly a great all-rounder brush (pun intended). They can be used for a multitude of things, including washes, lines and covering large areas quickly.
Miniature Round Brush - Compared to the larger Round Brush, the Miniature can achieve much more detail and precision. Although the Round Brush can technically create the same fine lines as the miniature (due to the fine point on both brushes) the Miniature’s short brush fibres hold less colour and therefore allow for more accuracy and finer strokes.
Filbert Brush - Filberts can add a wide variety of marks and textures from thin to thick. Because of their versatility, they’re a great brush for painting figures and heads.
Aqua Brush - Best used with watercolours and to blend out brush pens. Once filled with water, you gently squeeze the plastic brush handle to add water to your paper through the bristles. You can also use Aqua Brushes to help water down paint pigment if you added too much colour in one area. These brushes are a really great addition to your kit if you’re someone who enjoys painting with brush pens and/or watercolours.
Now we know the difference between each brush, let’s look at the maintenance and care guide for paintbrushes, which is essential to keeping your brushes in good condition.
Brush Maintenance & Care Guide
Brushes are typically replaced every 1 - 2 years for full time artists, however if you’re just starting out and you take great care of your brushes they will be sure to last you even longer.
The most obvious way to know if your brushes are ready for an upgrade is when they fray outwards instead of drying to a nice clean point or edge.
Another giveaway is if your bristles begin to shed, that’s a tell-tale sign your brushes are ready to be recycled.
Before disposing of your used paint brushes, it’s always a good idea to check if they can be donated to help a charity in need. Below is a list of places that are often accepting second hand art supplies, make sure to call up your local charities to find out more.
- Charity shops
- Community groups
- Retirement homes
- Nurseries and other Day Care centres
- Carers Groups
- Disabled Care Facilities
More than likely many of these places would be happy to receive your unwanted art supplies, which is an amazing alternative to landfill.
Avoid leaving your brushes sitting in a cup of water. This will damage the bristles and cause them to break easily. Instead, if you need to lay your brush down, it's best to let it rest flat on a dry area like a reusable cloth or paper towel.
If you're painting with watercolour, you can wash your brushes using just clean water. If you're painting with other mediums such as acrylic, it's best to wash your brush immediately after you're done with gentle soap and water. Once clean, reshape the bristles using a clean cloth or your fingers and lay flat to dry.
Try to avoid mixing the type of paint brush you’re using with a different medium. For example, paint brushes with stiff bristles are best for mediums like acrylic, and soft bristles are best for watercolour. If you do mix the mediums you’re using, be sure to thoroughly clean the brush with soap and water when finished.
Storage for your brushes is fairly easy, as long as they’re in a clean and dry place you can decide how you’d like to store them. Some people like to use a recycled jar as a paint pot, others may use a large pencil case, and you can even get a desk organiser and store your other painting supplies in there.
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