Types of Paint Brushes and Their Uses

Types of Paint Brushes and Their Uses – Complete Guide

Once you get started on your journey of learning to paint, you will realize that the proper knowledge of paint brushes is something that is very crucial for your progress.

So, to help you from standing helplessly inside the crafts store, we have written this guide on the types of paint brushes and their uses.  

Before we get started, it is important to know that there are various paintbrushes specially crafted for certain painting methods. Certain brushes will help you use watercolor, while others are more suited for acrylic or oil paintings.

However, the major factor differentiating one type of brush from another is the bristles used to craft the brushes.

Difference Between Paint Brushes Depending on the Painting Medium

The bristles on paint brushes might differ depending on which type of paint you want to use. For water coloring, investing in natural bristles is a great idea as natural hair can absorb more water than synthetic brushes.

However, for acrylic paint, it is better to opt for synthetic brushes instead. That’s because the chemicals in acrylic paint are very strong and will wear out the natural brush much faster.

Lastly, you can either use natural or synthetic bristles for oil paintings. Though you will need brushes with significantly longer handles as the canvas for oil paint is usually much broader than other mediums. Also, you will need to keep your hand as far from the canvas while using oil paint as the paint takes very long to dry.

And ruining the masterpiece of your hard work with a simple smudge is the last thing any of us want. So, it is better to purchase brushes according to the type of paint you will be using.

Now that we got the basic knowledge regarding bristles out of the way, let us jump straight into the structure of paint brushes to help you understand why we need different sorts of brushes while painting.

The Structure of Paint Brushes

Let us start from the handle of the brush. Usually, the brand, series, and size number are written on the handle of the brush to help you differentiate the brush from the other ones.

The metallic part that acts as the connecting part between the handle and the bristles is called a crimp. Always make sure the crimp is sealed tight before purchasing the brushes so that the handle and the bristles do not pull apart.

And as for the bristles, the part closest to the crimp is called the belly of the brush. The belly and the tip of the bristles are what helps you identify brushes with ease. Brushes with a bigger or rounder belly help contain a lot of paint while the tip indicates the strokes you will get from this particular brush.

Now, let us delve into the different types of brushes!

9 Different Types of Paint Brushes and Their Uses

Different paint brushes will help you create unique strokes while painting.

Let’s get right into the names of these specific brushes and the purposes they serve!

1. Wash Brush

wash brush for painting

This type of brush is mostly used for water coloring. A wash brush usually has a flat top and a belly that can retain a lot of water. You can easily spread one color over the entire surface with these brushes and give it a light wash of colors.

2. Angle Bright Brush

Angle Bright Brush

Though the name may sound a bit intimidating at first, this brush is a very basic angle brush. You can create multiple textures and patterns by using this brush to make angles. The brush is a bit on the broader side, so you can cover a wide area with the brush.

Pretty much a staple brush as this brush is essential to creating angles easily.

3. Round Brush

This brush has the narrowest tip among all the brushes, making it a staple brush if you want to create any range of pencil-thin strokes. You might need to use a lot of control to maneuver the brush to get the perfect strokes of paint.

Even though it takes a while to get used to this brush, the beautiful strokes are absolutely worth it.

4. Flat Brushes

A basic flat brush is very easy to maneuver as you have more control over the crush due to the short and flat bristles. When you need to work on small areas, you can use the sides of this brush to draw in small strokes and use the broadside for a wash of paint.  

5. Bright

This brush might look very similar to a flat brush to the rookie eye; however, this brush can retain more paint and water than flat brushes. The brush can create patterns without damaging the gentlest of papers, as you do not need to apply too much pressure while holding the brush.

6. Liner Brush

A very precise brush for delicate, thin strokes. When you need to create very fine lines or paint numbers on paintings, this brush will give you the control you need to draw using small strokes. This one is a very staple brush in any brush kit, as you cannot outline or detail strokes without this brush.

7. Egbert

This brush looks like a hybrid of the liner brush and the filbert brush. You can retain a lot of paint with this brush and create delicate patterns.

8. Fan

The name comes from the fanned-out appearance of the bristles that will aid you in spreading the paint over paper. You can use this to draw asymmetric patterns, such as drawing grasses by wetting the brush. It also works seamlessly to blend the paint into the background and show a contrast of light and shadow.

Also, it can be used to cover a huge cover or spread out the paint and water if you happened to use too much liquid in a certain place.

9. Filbert

If you are drawing figures and are in need of a brush that can hold paint and has an oval end to draw details or fill in shapes with color, this brush is the one for you. Also, a staple brush that has multiple use and purposes, this brush is a must-have.

You can use the sides of the brush for thin strokes and the flat side of the brush for broader areas.


Though you will not need to have every single of the brushes mentioned in the guide, having the staple brushes will help you as a beginner, and as you progress forward, you can purchase more brushes that will help you add details to your paintings.

And with the help of our guide on types of paint brushes and their uses, you now know exactly which brushes you need for your paintings!

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