To the novice painter at least, there are a confusing number and type of brushes to choose from. However, once you understand the differences between them, your choice of artist paint brushes is much simplified.
Different Strokes/Different Brushes
The characteristics and design of different brushes tend to reflect how they are to be used and that, to a large degree, depends on the type of paint you are using.
Oil and acrylic painting often tends to be on a large scale, with paint applied quite thickly and often in sweeping strokes. Watercolour, on the other hand, is often on a much smaller scale, more delicate and in greater detail.
To allow for these differences, brushes for oil and acrylic painting usually have relatively long handles so you stand further back to view the overall picture and can also make more flowing strokes. The bristles of these brushes tend to be relatively coarse, often made of hog hair, to hold the greater quantity of paint that is applied.
Watercolour brushes generally have shorter handles since work is usually at a closer range. The bristles are much finer, often of sable, and are able to hold enough paint for large washes of colour to be applied. These brushes tend to taper to a point for detailed work.
It is possible to interchange the brushes for different mediums but in general they are best kept separate.
Caring for Your Brushes
A good art brush, such as those we sell, can last for years as long as it’s looked after properly. That generally means cleaning it thoroughly after each use. To do this:
- Remove excess watercolour or acrylic paint by rinsing in clean water and then drying on a cloth, or remove oil paint using turpentine, white spirit or a similar product
- Rub artists’ brush soap into the head of the brush, making sure you do this thoroughly and cover the full length, and work into a lather
- Rinse in warm water and repeat until the lather is white rather than the colour of the paint
- Dry excess water from the brush with a clean cloth
- Leave the brush to dry completely.
Failure to do this properly will result in the brush hairs becoming brittle and splitting, causing the head to go out of shape. Brush soap contains oils that add moisture to the hairs and prevent this happening.
Whatever medium you paint in and whatever type of artist you are, we have an artist brush set to meet your needs. We also sell rollers for applying large areas of background colour and palette knives for mixing your paints.- Read Less