Art Resources: A Quick Guide to Artists’ Brushes

By Milan Art Institute on February 25, 2021
Art Resources: A Quick Guide to Artists’ Brushes

Photo caption: Artists rely on their brushes to create their masterworks. If you’re not sure which brushes to choose, you may want to go with a brush set. Photo courtesy of Milan Art Institute.

One of the things that sets exceptional (and memorable) artists apart from other artists is their brush strokes. An accomplished artist’s brush strokes are as unique as that artist’s fingerprints, and many artists, like Vincent van Gogh, were particularly noted for the power, beauty and passion that their brush strokes had.

Artists who have command of these tools are in a position to boldly leave their mark on the world. That’s why it’s so important to know the different types of brushes that exist. 

The purpose of this art resource and guide is to walk you through the different types of artists brushes there are, as well as to give you some pointers for making loose, transcendent brush strokes that will move your art collectors.

Video caption: Van Gogh: Techniques and Methods, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Types of Artists’ Brushes

The Flat Brush: This rectangle-shaped brush allows you to make a number of different kinds of strokes.

The Bright Brush: Similar to the flat brush, but with stiffer, shorter brush hairs.

The Filbert Brush: This brush has a rounded tip. Make rounder brush strokes and softer edges with this brush.

The Round Brush: These are pointy with long hair and are great for detail work.

The Fan Brush: Use this brush when you want to blend or add some subtle texture to your work.

The Glaze Brush: This large, soft brush allows you to cover large areas of your canvas.

The Shader Brush: These brushes are stiff with short hairs.

The Cat Tongue Brush: Shaped like a cat’s tongue - hence the name - these brushes are a little similar to the filbert, but with a pointier end.

The Liner Brush: A small, detail brush.

The Script Brush: Similar to the liner, but with longer brush hairs.

The Liner Brush: A very small detail brush with long brush hairs.

The Egbert Brush: Also similar to a filbert brush, but with longer hair that resembles a flat brush without a rounded end.

The Mop Brush: Used for washes of thinner paint, this brush is very full and round.

Video caption: How to Clean Your Brushes

How to Create Loose, Emotion-Filled Brush Strokes

In the Mastery Program, art students are taught how to create looser, more masterful brush strokes. This does take time and practice, but the results speak for themselves.

1. Don’t Fix Mistakes by Reworking Brush Strokes

You should lay your brush strokes down in layers, trying to avoid blending the strokes. Stabbing, dabbing and over-mixing brush strokes make them look muddy and steal their vibrant emotional power. Put the brush strokes down, allow them to dry and then go back over the painting and fix mistakes after the paint has dried.

2. Put Your Brush Strokes Down With Confidence

Ironically, if you care too much about the outcome of your painting, your paintings will often look stilted and the brush strokes will lose their impact. Therefore, it’s best to lay down your brush strokes with confidence. Again, you can always correct them later.

3. Never Repeat the Same Stroke or Color

Once you lay down a brush stroke on your canvas, change the color and the stroke of your brush strokes the next time you put brush to canvas. This allows you to avoid blending your brush strokes and keeps your paint colors looking lively. 

Along the same lines, using different brushes throughout your painting allows you to add more variety to your work. Your heart, passion and technique will show in your work, making your work more emotionally gripping to those who see it.

Final Words On Artists’ Brushes

The brushes you choose have a significant impact on the paintings you’re able to create. They can mean the difference between creating a just okay painting and a potential masterwork. The key is to learn what types of artists’ brushes there are and how to lay down your brush strokes in a loose, expressive manner.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to paint making masterful brush strokes filled with passion and emotion, look into our Mastery Program. This professional-level program will teach you this and other important art techniques.

Learn More Art Techniques to Create Powerful Art

Basic Materials all Artists should have for Drawing and Oil Painting

7 Things Artists Should Know When Choosing Their Brush

How to Remove Paint from Clothes from Home

Milan Art Institute
Milan Art Institute

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