Last updated: August 19, 2021

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Today we will talk to you about the artist's best friend: brushes. We will tell you about each of the features that make it up, because although it is a perfect tool to create beautiful works of art, there is some information you should have before purchasing it.

Knowing which is the ideal brush for you will depend on what you want to achieve in your work, because there is a great variety of them and if you want to get a much more professional result, you must acquire a brush that suits you and that is also of the best quality.

In this new issue we will provide you with the necessary information so that your purchase is completely satisfactory, and we will also tell you about the best brushes on the market so that you can make an excellent choice.




Summary

  • The brush is a tool used by artists that has an elongated handle and a bunch of bristles or hairs on its tip and is mainly used for painting, although it can have other uses.
  • There is a great variety of brushes, they can be differentiated from the way in which their hairs are located, to the function they perform; today we want you to get to know each one of them.
  • Before acquiring such a useful tool as the brush, you should know that there are certain characteristics that you should take into account, such as the materials used to manufacture the handle, the durability, the type of bristles, among others, as this will allow your purchase to be completely successful and satisfactory.

The best Brush: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about brushes

We tend to believe that buying a brush is an easy job, however, there are many aspects that we need to know about them before making the purchase, as this will allow us to have better points of comparison at the time of purchase. In this buying guide we will provide you with the information you need to do so.

Brushes are undoubtedly an artist's best friend, so having one of excellent quality is almost indispensable. (Photo: Vadim Guzhva / 123rf.com)

What is a brush and what are its advantages?

A paintbrush is a tool with a thin handle, with a bunch of bristles or hairs at its tip and is mainly used for painting, although it can be used for other purposes. This tool is an artist's best friend.

Just as there are many types of paints, there is a great variety of brushes, which have a specific characteristic that is reflected in the work of art that is made with it; these characteristics can range from its thickness, the bristles, among others.

This wonderful tool is a favourite among artists not only because of the incredible things it can do, but also because of the ease of handling it, as it has a thin handle and soft bristles, making it quite light to hold.

Advantages
  • They are an excellent tool for artistic painting
  • They are light to use
  • They have multiple uses
Disadvantages
  • They are not all suitable for all types of painting
  • They must be cleaned each time they are used
  • The bristles can deteriorate quickly if used frequently

Buffered, fan, round, flat or detail brush - what should you pay attention to?

In the world of brushes there is a great variety, as each one of them has a specific function when it comes to working on a work of art, so it is of great importance to be aware of them if you wish to acquire one.

Buffered brush: This brush has a thick, round handle with stiff hairs that have been cut off at the tip, so that a flat, circular surface is created. This brush is widely used for watercolour artwork, as it is perfect for working with different tonal effects.

Fan brush: This brush has become popular not only in the art world, but also in different areas. It is a thin-handled brush with soft hairs delicately placed in a semi-circular or, as the name says, fan shape. This brush is perfect for creating colour transitions.

Round-tipped brush: This is one of the most common brushes, its bristles are placed in a circular manner and its handle is usually thick. It is mostly used by artists to add edge details, brushstrokes and certain fills.

Flat brush: This brush has a thin or medium handle and its soft hairs are perfectly aligned in order to be flat. This type of brush is mostly used to cover large surfaces with better precision.

Angled brush: This type of brush can have different types of handles, however, one of the things that differentiate them from the others are their angled hairs. It is mostly used to create irregular shapes and for small areas.

Buffered brush Fan brush Round tip brush Flat brush Angled brush
Uses Mostly in watercolours To create colour transitions Large details, brushstrokes, fills To cover surfaces To create irregular shapes
Price High Medium Low Medium High
Thick Thick Thin Thick, medium and thin Thin or medium Medium

What are the differences between professional and regular brushes?

You may think that all brushes are the same, however, being a tool to create art, there is a great variety of brushes, among which we can find those of a professional range and the school ones:

Professional brushes: During the manufacture of this type of brushes, every single part of the brush is carefully made. Generally, these brushes have bristles made of natural hair, as they have a higher absorption power that allows the creation of a more professional work.

School brushes: Being a type of brush that is not used more frequently, the details and care during its manufacture tend to be left aside. This type of brushes usually have synthetic bristles and a plastic handle, and their ferrule is not always fully adjusted to the handle.

Purchasing criteria

A tool as wonderful as a paintbrush helps us to create beautiful works of art and it may seem almost silly to think that there could be drawbacks to purchasing one. However, there are a few things to consider before you make your purchase.

Handle materials

Knowing every feature and aspect of the products we buy is of great importance, even the materials with which they are made, as this will help us to make our choice much clearer.

Wood: Wooden brushes are mostly made of oak or fir wood. They are much more resistant and of excellent quality. The brushes dedicated to a much more professional area are made of excellent quality wood.

Plastic: This type of brushes are not so popular, at least not in the professional artistic world. They are usually purchased for young children to take to their school activities, as they are less likely to break.

Splint

The ferrule of the brush (the connection where the bristles are located) is made of a type of semi-hard metal. All types of brushes have this connection, as it is an essential part of the brush parts.

You may think that the ferrule is an almost insignificant complement, that it is just a simple connection between the bristles and the handle of the brush, however, it is important to know that this connection is of great importance to maintain the firmness of the brush.

The ferrule of the brush must be fully closed and all the way around the brush, as this will give better support to the bristles. If the ferrule of your brush is open on one side, it may be of very poor quality and will not be efficient enough for your painting.

Synthetic bristles

The brushes are made with different types of bristles, these are undoubtedly the most important part of them, as they will facilitate the painter's work when he wants to achieve much more professional and clean details in his works.

Although natural bristles are more delicate, there are fewer and fewer brushes created with this material, which is why different companies have resorted to synthetic materials such as polyester fibres with a sharp point.

This material is used in different techniques, which are called Taklon and Toray and although they are made of the same material, they differ according to their colours, as Taklon is white and Toray is light orange in colour.

Natural hair bristles

The quality of these bristles is considered extremely exceptional, as they are quite delicate and allow for a more refined and complete finish. This type of bristle is made from various animal hairs, such as:

Kolinsky sable hair: Coming from the tail of red sable. These are mostly used to make specialised brushes to create watercolours, as the hair of this type has a great power to absorb water and paint, this allows the works to have a much fuller and cleaner finish.

Squirrel hair: Coming from the tail of the squirrel, this type of hair has a great softness, so brushes with bristles of this type are quite delicate. This type of hair is quite similar to that of the martens, as they also have a great power of absorption of water and paint.

Ox-ear hair: Coming from the front of the ox's ears, this type of hair can be black, brown or even blonde. It is usually a much cheaper alternative when it comes to creating brushes. It is a fairly strong and durable type of hair. Ideal for all types of brushes.

Goat hair: Sourced from the spinal vertebra of the goat. This type of hair is quite common in Chinese type brushes, as it is considered quite delicate and thin, so it is perfect for brushes used for fluid techniques.

A good brush will help you to apply your desired techniques in a more professional way. (Photo: 578foot / 123rf.com)

Brush number

You should know that when acquiring such an important tool as the brush, the number of the brush is really important, because, depending on the use you are going to give it, it will make your work easier or more difficult.

In the world of brushes there are mainly 12 brush numbers, which differ from each other due to the thickness of the handle and the tip. They are ordered from smallest to largest, so the ones with the smallest number are the thinnest types of brushes.

The type of bristles of the brushes is quite important if you want a more professional work. (Photo: Natallia Khlapushyna / 123rf.com)

Length of the handle

Another of the most important points when buying a brush, is the length of the handle, because although it is usually considered something really superficial, it is of great importance if you want to work with this tool in a professional way.

Long handle: Brushes with a long handle are generally used when the painting is being done in a horizontal position, as this allows the artist better mobility and lightness.

Short handle: Brushes of this type are also of great importance and are generally used when painting in a vertical position; artists mostly prefer the use of short handle brushes when dealing with oil paints.

Durability

As with all types of products, the durability of the product will always depend on you and how well you maintain it. In the case of brushes, you should know that if they are not kept in a good condition, they may deteriorate much faster.

One of the recommendations to extend the durability of your brush is that with each use it should be cleaned with water or with products specialised in removing all types of paint, because if you use a product that is not suitable for the bristles, they could deteriorate to the point of hardening.

(Featured Image Source: 578foot/ 123rf.com)

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