The brush is one of the most important tools in the artist’s arsenal. Knowledge of their features helps to quickly and efficiently translate all ideas into reality. Today we will get acquainted with the most common types of pile and brush shapes.
The brush consists of three parts:
Handle – plastic, wooden or removable metal (for travel options). The length depends on the size and manufacturer.
Clip – sets the appearance of the hair bun and connects it to the handle.
The hair bun is the main component of the brush. Created by hand or machine assembly.
The clips are produced in two types:
Classic metal braid – used in most brushes
French mount – used in brushes made of natural and artificial bristles for watercolor techniques, as it absorbs more water and paint.
Now let’s try to understand the main types of pile: what are their features and strengths.
The most popular natural bristle, suitable for liquid paints. When wet, the tip gathers into a sharp cone, allowing you to work with small parts. The soft pile absorbs and retains water well, evenly giving it along with the paint to the paper. This property allows you to create smooth gradients and air fills.
A versatile option to work with any material. Suitable for both liquid and heavy paints. The hair bundle is more elastic than that of a squirrel, therefore it holds its shape better, but it gives off water faster when working. Due to the fact that the pile is tougher, when working with watercolor glazes, damage to the lower layers of paint is possible.
Created to imitate natural bristles, synthetics provide artists with great flexibility in terms of the softness and firmness of the hair bundle. Elastic pile easily collects into a sharp tip, gives great control in work, but at the same time it takes and gives off water poorly. When working with acrylic or oil, rinse the pile thoroughly – the paint is difficult to wash off, and if it dries next to the clip, the brush cannot be reanimated.
Favorite option when working with fonts. The elastic hair of the goat takes and gives off water well, while the paint gives off a little worse. It does not go into a sharp tip, so it is better to choose speakers or synthetics for working with miniatures. The main advantage is temperature resistance, which allows using the brushes in the hot batik technique.
A popular option for newbies is durable brushes at an affordable price, while retaining some of the qualities of a squirrel bristle. The pony’s hair is slightly thicker than that of a squirrel, so it draws in less water, which gives more control when working. When wetted, the pile does not collect into a sharp tip, so it is not suitable for working with small details.
A favorite when working with thick paints. Coarse hair allows you to thicken and apply paint, leaving textured strokes. Does not collect in a sharp tip due to the stiffness of the hair.
Now let’s go over the basic shapes of the brushes.
The most common form, presented with classic and elongated pile. Allows you to easily vary the thickness of the line by changing the pressure. Suitable for both large formats and miniatures.
Thin round brushes with extra long bristles for fine, straight lines. Used when working with liquid or pre-diluted paints, the brush holds a large volume of liquid, allowing you to work for a long time without refilling the brush with paint.
A variety of short-bristled round brushes. Used for thin uniform lines, long strokes. Suitable for lettering and working with fonts. Just like with font brushes, you can work for a long time without adding paint.
A variety of flat brushes with an oval-edged bunch. Used for flat strokes. When used perpendicularly and as pressure changes, the line thickness and shape of the stroke vary.
Gilbert or “cat’s tongue”.
A domed bristle brush, also called a cat’s tongue. Combines the properties of a round and a flat brush, allowing you to work with large and small fills and details. Depending on the pressure applied, the thickness of the line and the shape of the stroke will vary.
Hard bristle brushes with a flat tip, suitable for stencil and glazing techniques. The paint is applied with vertical strokes in an even layer, without hammering under the edges of the stencil. Thanks to the perpendicular cut, it is easy to create textured strokes with an interesting shape.
Flat brushes produce smooth strokes with a clear edge. Able to hold a lot of ink, suitable for large and small formats. Often used in the wet technique, the edges of the strokes are softened. Often used when depicting nature and architecture.
They are flat brushes with a shortened bristle. The short pile increases the elasticity of the bundle and gives more control when working for crisp contours. Often used when creating smooth gradients.
A brush with a flat fan-shaped bun. Used to create smooth gradients, glazes and large fills. Often used in landscape and portrait painting as they create soft contours during work.
Flat brushes with natural, soft bristles for working with gilding. They are used for smoothing out sheet metal on the glue surface.
Flat brushes with angled bristles for precise strokes and crisp lines. The sharp tip easily adjusts the size of the stroke as the pressure changes. Priority choice for precise strokes.
Wide flat-bristled brushes. They hold a lot of paint, are used for priming, glazing and varnishing. The large size of the hair bundle allows you to work with large, textured strokes.
Despite the daunting variety, there is no wrong choice. Each brush opens up new facets and approaches to work. Our art market offers brushes for all kinds of tasks and materials. And our consultants will be happy to help if you find it difficult to choose.