Paintbrushes are very important to an artist just as much as paint or canvas. You can’t paint without one. When I first started painting, I just had 2 brushes. Size 4 and size 8 flat brush. It was so difficult to get work done with just two. I then bought a set of round and a set of flat brushes. Things improved. I could get a lot more done with so many brushes.
Paint brushes to me are like little magic wands. I’ve bought so many, that now I’ve lost count of how many I have. With every new kind of brush you use, it is like you’ve learnt a new spell. As you paint you’ll become familiar with the way each brush handles paint and what it can create if you guide it.
The photo below shows you the different kinds of brushes that you can choose to work with.
You can see I’ve labeled each kind of brush in the image above. They have different purposes. I have to also mention that a particular kind of brush may do a kind of paint stroke, like the fan brush is very useful in landscapes when you’re painting trees or waterfalls. A wash brush can help you spread a lot of paint on the canvas. These are very helpful especially when I’m working with acrylic because acrylic dries fast and the brush helps in spreading paint faster. But as you continue working with these different brushes, you’ll find your own way of using them.
The brushes I commonly use are ‘The Filbert’ for almost everything, ‘The Wash brush’ for backgrounds mostly and ‘The liner brush’ which I use for most of my fur paintings and tiny detailing.
You don’t need a whole lot of brushes to be a good artist. You can manage fine with just a few. Although when you are working towards a deadline you may want to have a few extra to save you cleaning time while you’re painting. For example, say you’re painting a tiger and working with liner brushes for fur. Now if you’re painting white fur and suddenly have to switch to say yellow ochre, you have to keep a spare liner brush because getting the white paint off the one you’re holding is time consuming. So if you have say, two or three liner brushes, you can just switch back and forth and it’ll be a whole lot easier.
I just want to mention a few more things that you need to know about paintbrushes. The image below is labeled for better understanding of the parts of a brush.
The kinds available are Synthetic hair (taklon, nylon, etc) and Natural hair (Hog, Sable, etc). I prefer using the Taklon brushes as I feel they hold more paint and are less prone to damage as compared to the natural hair (plus they’re cheaper).
There is just one thing you need to know about the ferrule; when you’ve washed your brushes and they’re still wet, don’t place them straight up in a stand which will cause water to collect in the ferrule resulting in shedding of the hair/bristles, instead place them flat on a surface until they’re dry.
Also when you don’t wash your brushes properly, the paint may get collected in the ferrule causing your bristles to fan out and lose its shape.
The handle is usually made of wood or fiber. All you need to know is ‘the lighter the handle, the better’.
Few more things to remember:
- Never let paint dry out on the brush.
- Don’t pull the bristles.
- Don’t get paint on the ferrule.
- Don’t rest your paint brushes bristles-down.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to buy extra paintbrushes when they’re available cheap especially if you’re seriously considering being a professional artist. The prices of paintbrushes only keep increasing.
I think that is loads of information to begin with. I hope it helps.
P. S: Brushes are available cheap on eBay.
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My crazy collection of paintbrushes…