If you are interested in painting with acrylics, finding the best products for your projects can be overwhelming, especially when buying brushes. When you visit a local craft store, you will see various brands that have short handles, long handles, natural bristles, synthetic bristles, and so on.
If you are confused about what types of brushes to purchase don’t worry we have you covered. This post will cover the different brushes and available so you can purchase the best brushes for your painting projects.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on an affiliate link, Nevue Fine Art Marketing may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate relationships include, but are not limited to, Bluehost, Tailwind, Skimlinks, SareASale and StudioPress. To learn more visit Affiliate Link Disclosure Policy
There are three essential parts to a brush. They are the handle, the head, and the ferrule.
The handle – is the part of the brush that an artist holds when painting. The handles are usually made of plastic or wood and come in different shapes and sizes. High-quality acrylic brushes will balance on your fingers.
The head – are the bristols of the brush that holds and applies paints to canvas. The bristols are made from synthetic or natural fibers and come in different shapes. The point where the bristols meet the ferrule is called the heel. The tip of the bristols is called the head, and the fattest part is called the belly.
The Ferrule – The ferrule is the piece of metal that attaches the head of the brush handle. Excellent quality brushed will have ferrules that will not rust over time.
Which Bristles Are Better
The two different types of bristles for artist brushes are natural and synthetic bristles.
Natural bristles are usually made from animal hair and are best for oil painting. Most natural bristles are made from hog hair and are have a stiff, rough bristle. These brushes are suitable for applying textures strokes to the canvas but not ideal for smooth strokes or fine lines.
Synthetic brushes are usually polyester, synthetic sable, and nylon and work well with water-based acrylic paints. Sable brushes are preferred by artists who like a soft brush that holds a lot of paint.
Many professional artists use synthetic fibers because they withstand harsh acrylics, are easy to rinse, clean, and withstand constant moisture.
Brushes are available with on or short handles. Your artistic style will determine the size of the handle. If you like to paint freely with your hand further away from the canvas, a longer handle will work best for you. If you want to have your hand closer to the canvas, a shorter handle will work best.
You will also have a choice between a wooden handle or a plastic handle.
The size of a brush is indicated by a number on the handle which means how thick the brush is at the heel. Sizes range from 20/0 (smallest) to 30 (largest). Different manufacturers have different measurements for the same number, so if you want to buy supplies online, remember the measure of the brush before purchasing, not just the size number. Similarly, the brush’s width may be different from the width of the stroke in which the brush was applied to paint. The actual width of a stroke will depend on the type of brush and the amount of pressure used.
Brushes come in many different shapes, and each shape will produce a distinct mark on the canvas. Various brushes will create other effects like thin lines, a large brush stroke, or a textured line.
Here are available different brush types.
Round brushes are the most popular brushes for artists who paint with acrylics. They come in a large variety of sizes. A number labels the size of the brush. The lower the number, the smaller the diameter of the brush.
Larger brushes can cover large and smaller areas because of the tip. Round brushes work well for painting landscapes, water, objects, outlines, etc. For fine details, a smaller brush size would work best.
Liner brushes are in the round brush category and have long bristles. The long strands make them more challenging to control, but you can create some detailed paintings with a bit of practice.
The spotter brush is similar to the Liner brush. The only difference is that they have shorter bristles which make them easier to control. If you are new to painting with acrylics, these might be better for painting fine details.
A wider flat brush is also known as a wash brush, and the sizes range between 1/4″ to 2″. The 2″ works well for large areas ant the 3/4″ is used for detailed work. Wash brushes hold a lot of paint and water and are used to paint a large area fast, like a background or a large area of a subject.
Short Bristle Flat Brushes
Falt brushes that have shorter bristles are also known as bright brushes and are very easy to control. If you are learning how to paint, these will be great brushes for you to start with. The sizes are labeled with a #simble like “#12 bright.”
Short bristle flat brushes are used for painting medium-sized objects, trees, and bushes because they are easy to control and produce a more precise stroke on the canvas.
An angled brush is a flat brush with an angled edge. These brushes create a precise stroke, and the thickness of the line can vary depending on the pressure you apply. These brushes work well for cutting in fine details. The size of the brushes is labeled by inches, like a 1/4″ or 1/2″.
The fan brush is a unique brush that is commonly used for painting trees. There is a learning curve for painting with a fan brush, but you will be able to paint beautiful landscapes and trees with a bit of practice.
Filbert brushes are a cross between a round brush and a flat brush. The brush hair is flat, but the tip is rounded. These kinds of brushes work well for painting objects like flower petals.
Palette knives are different from standard brushes because they are made of metal or plastic instead of synthetic filaments or natural hairs. They are used for creating thick textures and work well on larger sizes.
Popular Synthetic Paint Brushes
Popular Natural Hair Acrylic Brushes
How To Clean Acrylic Painting Brushes
Check to see if the brand you are using has directions for proper cleaning. If there are no instructions on the package, try visiting their website.
The best way to keep your brushes like new is to clean them after your painting sessions.
First, rinse as much acrylic paint off of the brush as possible with warm water. Dry bristols with a paper towel and store them with the bristols upright.
If there is dried-up paint, use The Master Brush Cleaner to remove the excess paint. Dried-up paint will ruin the bristols quickly.
Final Thoughts On Paint Brushes For Acrylics
There are many different brushes available for acrylic artists. A good place to start is by purchasing a set of paint brushes with different types so you can experiment with different techniques.
More Art Supply Related Articles
So you’ve decided that you want to learn to paint with oils. Great decision! But what oil painting supplies do you need to get started? Oil painting is a great way to express yourself and become a better overall artist but the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that you have the right … [Read more…]
Are you interested in learning how to paint, but you do not know if you should start with oil paints or acrylic paints, which is better for artists? I remember watching Bob Ross every weekend as a child, and it is nice to see that he is becoming mainstream again. Bob showed you how easy it is … [Read more…]
Pentel is a well-known brand for high-quality markers, pens other designer art supplies. Most of their products tend to be higher priced than other brands, but they have kept the cost down on their oil pastel sticks and are a perfect choice for student artists or someone who wants to experiment with … [Read more…]