Types of Paint Brushes

Paint brushes are the lifeblood of any artist who is serious about producing high-quality work. Whether you have taken up drawing as a hobby or are planning on becoming an artist, it is important to understand all aspects of the tools you use for your paintings.  Paint brushes are tools used by the artist to paint on any medium. Choosing types of paint brushes depends on the artist’s effect, the texture of what they are painting, and other factors. When it comes to art, technique and materials are all influential. The same is true of paint brushes. It seems that every artist has their own opinion on the best kinds, shapes, and sizes of paint brushes to use.

If you’re starting out as a beginner artist, then you may be wondering the best way to get started. There is a lot to learn, and if you’ve never painted before, it may feel overwhelming at first. This post will focus on the different types of paint brushes that you can use and explain their difference. This article also covers a range of options and also gives you information to help you choose the best one for your circumstances.

Anatomy of a Painting Brush

Paint brush with red painted tip

Here we will look at the anatomical structure of a painting brush before seeing all the different variations of this tool. The quality of a painter’s brush improves by dividing it up into various smaller components.


Painter’s brushes have hairs or filaments on the head, which constitute bristles. Usually, these brushes are made with animal hair or synthetic fibers. They come with a combination of these materials. Toe refers to the point at the top of the hair, belly to the middle, and heel to the bottom of the hair.


A metal band connects the bristle securely to the handle via this part. Ferrules consist of metal alloys such as tin, brass, aluminum, or copper, coated with nickel or chrome. Crimp refers to the portion of the bushing that clamps the handle. Ferrules are an integral part of the brush since stability is at risk if they do not fit correctly.


The last part of the brush is its handle. Most of its parts consist of wood or bone. The size of the stem depends on the number on the handle and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Different Types of Paint Brushes

types of paint brushes

A variety of brush shapes and sizes are available with different bristles. These elements give a painting its own unique details in their own way and serve different purposes. In selecting a painting brush, you should take into consideration the type of details and strokes you wish to include in your artwork.

Wash Brush

With its square end and medium to long hairs, the acrylic wash brush is the most robust of the bunch. Since it is thicker than any other brush, it is perfect for varnishing since it gives maximum coverage quickly and smoothly. Using this pen, you can get a stroke nice and bold, and its edge is perfect for creating fine lines, straight edges, stripes, and any other kind of pattern.

Bright Brush

These brushes are designed the same way as flat brushes but have shorter bristles. As a result, they are more controllable and more suitable for smaller and more precise strokes.

They are useful for smoothing out the paint and spreading it thickly on a smaller scale. Due to its high level of control, you can switch from thin to thick strokes with ease.

Bright brushes also leave square-edged marks on the paper, just like flat brushes. It can hold a good amount of heavy paint so that can use it with heavy paint. However, it is not recommended to layer wet on wet.

Bright brushes remove underlayers rather than adding more paint because of their short, stiff bristles.

Angled Brush

Angular brushes have bent or slanted tips, as suggested by their name. It is also called a slanted brush because of this characteristic. Due to its ability to fill small areas with large ones while requiring little effort, some might even refer to it as a shader. With this brush, you can do curved strokes and fill in corners with ease.

Flat brushes are often called sword brushes. Angled brushes are a variation of flat brushes. They are named after their angled bristles. This types of paint brushes makes precise strokes and color placement in tight spots easy because it has clean edges. In addition, they are good for creating curves.

Rigger or liner brushes are quite similar to this type of brush. Angular brushes are distinguished from liners by their pointed tips. Angled brushes have steeply angled tips. They are sometimes called striper brushes.

When you use the tip of this brush, you can draw extremely thin lines. You can draw fuller lines by touching more of the brush’s hair on the surface as the brush is held at an angle.

It is also extremely useful in calligraphy, as you may have guessed. Using this brush-like object in various ways is possible, such as rotating it as your hand moves or lowering or raising it. Additionally, you can use this to draw detailed things, such as tree branches.

Flat Brush

The flat brush serves as a miniaturized version of the wash brush. While the flat brush is very thick and has bristles with round edges, the wash brush does not. The flat brush is perfect to use when you want a lot of paint coverage, and the surface you are working on is small for a wash brush. Not to mention that this brush will allow you to maneuver it more easily.

Flat brushes come in various sizes, appropriately named for their wide-set and flat arrangement of bristles. It produces a range of strokes from thin lines to bold ones. They are also used for painting large areas and for blending. Flat brush techniques are useful for creating beautiful mountains or landscapes.

There is often confusion between a flat brush and a wash brush. However, when compared to a wash brush, the bristles are not as thick and quite sharp.

For broad strokes, flat brushes are excellent since they provide a great deal of coverage. This types of paint brushes is so popular because it covers such a large area without compromising control.

Its versatility makes it useful for a wide range of tasks. As a result of the long bristles, color patches can lay down smoothly and can make bold strokes easily. Additionally, you are able to create crisp, thin lines with them because of their edge. This makes the stroke distinctive and easy to identify.

Fan Brush

Fan brushes look just like they sound – like fans. If you’re interested in painting landscapes or nature elements, this is an excellent choice. A subtle highlight can be added to darker areas or even blended in with a background. If you prefer natural hairs, a fan brush is perfect for smoothing, blending, and feathering, or you can get an interesting textural effect with synthetic hair by applying it to leaves on trees.

Round Brush

We now move on to round brushes. A wide array of techniques can be used with them, including thick and thin lines, washes, and fills. Round brushes make it easy to get varying line widths. As well as standard round brushes, you can get pointed round and detail round for a variety of effects.

It comes with a soft edge with rounded corners, and it’s usually smaller than a flat brush. In order to focus on various details in your painting, they will give you the most control. You feel as though you are holding a pen in your hand because of the narrow handle design.

You can use these brushes when you need to add details and have more control over your work. This enables you to control the flow of paint and its size. In order to achieve unique effects when painting, experiment with wet and dry round brushes.

If you can imagine holding a pencil, you can imagine what it is like to hold a round brush. As it is narrower than any other brush, you have more control over how the paint flows. You can basically choose between two types of round brushes. One option is the simple round brush with a pointed tip, which is ideal for painting fine details and lines. Another round brush will have a more sharply pointed tip even though it is even narrower. It is perfect for detailed work in delicate areas.

Liner Brush

The round brush is the thinnest brush there can be, so you are so very wrong. Liner brushes are thin brushes with very long bristles, also known as rigger brushes. Depending on its shape, this brush can either have a flat or square tip, whereas a sword brush has an angled leading edge. The brush you need for creating very thin and fine lines is this one. This brush is used to draw letters and numbers since it has a very small tip. Artists generally use it to sign their work. Even though this brush is extremely thin, it can hold a great deal of liquid paint.

Rigger Brush

Liner brushes are also sometimes known as rigger brushes. Rigger brushes can use to outline and detail intricate designs. This brush is also ideal for lettering due to its fine tip. Their small size can hold plenty of paint despite their small size. In addition to creating smooth, continuous strokes, you can also use many short, fine strokes for details.

Brushes with rigger bristles have long, sharp bristles. This brush type helps to emphasize details. By holding large amounts of paint, the tool makes it possible to paint smoothly and continuously without having to re-insert paint every few seconds. This is ideal for drawing fine lines.

The use of this type of brush is also widespread in calligraphy. Because of the small tip, you can use it to write letters or numbers. This is a common tool for artists to sign their names with. When applying paint, this brush tip is dipped into the water first to make it flow smoothly.

Filbert Brush

Filbert brushes are flat brushes with medium to long hairs that have an oval or round end. It gives a thin, delicate line on its side, while when used flat, it produces wide brushstrokes. The round brush and flat brush have been combined to provide the best of both worlds. The round brush can give you details like the round brush, and the flat brush can cover more area like the flat brush. Artists, especially figurative painters, enjoy using the filbert brush for its variety of marks.

Almost any painting can benefit from the use of a filbert brush. The brush has a flat edge and a rounded chisel. This brush has a crescent shaped head due to the trimmed corners. There are many sizes available, so you do not need to worry about the size.

Its striking stroke work makes it extremely useful. Furthermore, the shapes of the brush enable an effortless application of color over round shapes.

Filbert brushes have an oval shape that makes them versatile tools. They are useful for washing because they can hold a lot of water. Additionally, after getting wet, the bristles stay together.

As a result, you can blend and stroke them smoothly. Brushes of this type are excellent for painting leaves, flowers, figures, and so on.

Filbert brushes are easy to dress. First, wet the brush and blot off excess water with a paper towel. Afterward, soak it on one side of the paint, then blend on the wax to ensure the paint slowly fades.

Other Brushes Worth Noting

Paint brushes and paints

Artists most commonly use the brushes mentioned above. While some brushes are not quite as common as others, there are still some worth mentioning.


Some watercolor brushes are similar to this type of brush. They feature a thick handle made of wood or metal. The brush’s soft, thick hair becomes a fine tip when wet. Asian ink wash paintings use this type of brush.


Hake brush has a large wooden handle and is another Asian style brush. The handle of this type of brush is quite broad. Its hair tip is extremely fine and soft, so it can cover a large surface area. Goat hair is commonly used to make bristles.


These brushes have a few short bristles but are similar to round brushes. Photographs or any work requiring great attention to detail and delicacy are commonly edited with them.

Water Brush

Brushes and fountain pens come together in this brush. A brush head adorns the top, and the handle doubles as a water reservoir, so it’s a pretty useful tool for artists. It’s easy to remove the two parts. A trickle of water keeps the bristles moist while you use the brush.


The bristles on this brush are short and tightly packed. These brushes are designed specifically for stenciling and are available in various sizes. Paint can be dabbed and swirled over the stencil without it seeping underneath due to the flat hair-wrapped top of the brush.

Final Words

Paint brushes are an important tool for artists, but there are all sorts of paint brushes out there like tools for other jobs. Now that you’re familiar with the different types of paint brushes available to you, it’s time to pick the right ones. We hope that this guide has helped you better understand what paint brushes are out there and how they can help you reach your artistic goals. Hopefully, you’re now aware of all your options and can make an informed decision about which ones best suit your needs as an artist.

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