What Are the Different Types of Paint Brushes That Exist Today?


Humans have created paintings for at least 45,500 years. As art styles have evolved, so have the tools we use to express ourselves and create paintings.

Paint brushes are used with many types of art mediums, including watercolors, whether synthetic or natural watercolor brush sets, oil paints, acrylic paints, and gouache paints. They are also used for more practical purposes, like painting houses and applying wood stains.

If you’re a budding artist or DIYer who isn’t sure what paint brushes they need, you’re in the right place. Read on for a breakdown of the many types of paint brushes and the ways you can use them.

Household Brushes

When you’re painting on a large scale, you need a large paint brush. Using too small of a brush can make the project take hours longer than it needs to!

Household brushes are used for painting the following:

  • walls
  • furniture
  • ceilings
  • wall murals
  • trim
  • banisters

Household brushes come in various shapes and are made with different materials to make them better suited to certain tasks. Brushes with shorter handles are easier to control and are better for fine details. Brushes with angled bristles result in clean lines and are best for surfaces with grooves. Foam brushes give you a very smooth finish and are best to use with wood stain and urethane.

Art Brushes

Not all art brushes are created equally. The bristles are made from various materials which allow the brushes to handle different painting mediums.

Synthetic or nylon brushes are best for gouache and acrylic paints because they are durable and can withstand acrylic resin. Sable hair or natural hair brushes are best for watercolors because they can hold a lot of water at one time, and oil paints because they hold their shape very well.

Different bristle shapes help you achieve specific textures and details.

  • round brushes: all-purpose, controlled washes of color, outlining, details
  • pointed round brushes: fine lines, details, delicate work, spotting
  • square, flat brushes: bold lines, stripes, large washes of color
  • filbert (flat and oval-shaped) brushes: blending, larger details
  • fan brushes: smoothing, feathering, blending
  • angular flat brushes: curved strokes, corners

Digital Art Brushes

As our media has become more and more digital, so has our art. Artists love digital painting for its flexibility, vibrancy, and undo button.

The problem most digital artists face is a lack of texture and depth in their pieces. Without physical layers of paint, it can be difficult to keep your digital art from feeling flat.

Many artists have created their own digital paint brushes, which change the pattern, shape, and opacity of the colors you digitally paint with. The best Procreate brushes help you to mimic the texture of real paint, taking your digital art to a new level.

Purchase the Types of Paint Brushes You Actually Need

When you know what each paint brush does, you can spend your money wisely and only purchase the types of paint brushes you really need. Hopefully, you will use the above guide to inform your decisions and begin your painting journey today.

If you found this post interesting, be sure to check out the rest of our blog to satisfy any curiosity and scratch any mental itch.

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