Painting Brush Parts and Techniques

Regardless of painting in oil or acrylic, you may want to have an understanding of what parts of the brush are best for different oil painting techniques.

When it comes to this issue, the key part of the artist brush is the head. No other part of the brush has much to do with painting techniques in general. Some artists use the handle of a brush to paint a canvas but this is not very common.

There is also no standard for brush parts but brush sizes range from10/0 (which is tiny) to 30 in size.  You can get them as small as 30/0 but the most common artist brush sizes range from 000 to 20.

Brush shapes can be round, pointed, stippled, Egberts, fans, brights and liners. Each different type of brush head has a different purpose or can create a different type of line. For instance a brush with a stippled tip is good to create a technique like pointillism which is mainly seen in expressionist or impressionist works. 

This is just an example of how brushes for different aspects of a painting are ultilized. Fans are used in water color to create airy effects such as sky, clouds or reflections on water.

Generally they are categorized by shape or type. Watercolor brushes are usually made of sable or nylon. Sable brushes are often used for oil painting as well. Acrylic brushes are usually made out of nylon. Most synthetic bristles that exist are made out of nylon.

Watercolor brushes are an entirely different story and tend to be made out of things like squirrel hair, badger hair or sable. These animal hairs are used because of their unique ability to absorb and hold water.

Brushes can also be made of squirrel, pony hair, camel hair, goat hair and ox hair. Brushes made from hog bristle (also known as China bristle brushes) are stiffer brushes that do not absorb much water.

The handles of brushes are usually made out of wood or molded plastic. Most are made of raw wood but more expensive paintbrushes will be lacquered or painted. This is not so that the brush looks more attractive. It is because it seals the wood so that it does not get swollen with water or cracked because it gets too dry when exposed to turpentine.

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