Brush Selection

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Free Brush Charts

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Brush Shapes

Angular

Bright

Fan

Filbert

Flat

Hake

Highliner

Mop

Mottler and Spalter

One-Stroke

Oval Wash

Quill

Round

Sash

Script

Square Wash

Angular

Angular

Description and Usage

Flat ferrule, short-length hairs, set with longer hairs at one end. Useful for precise strokes, and for lines and curves, with thick or heavy color.

Media

watercolor
acrylic
decorative

Fiber

bristle
synthetic

Bright

Bright

Description and Usage

Flat ferrule, short-length hairs, usually set in a long handle. Width and length of brush head is about equal. Useful for short, controlled strokes, and with thick or heavy color.

Media

oil
acrylic
decorative

Fiber

sable
mongoose
bristle
badger
synthetic

Fan

Fan

Description and Usage

Flat ferrule, spread hairs. Natural hair is more suitable for soft blending, and synthetic works well for textural effects. Useful for smoothing and blending, special effects and textures.

Media

oil
acrylic
decorative

Fiber

bristle
badger
synthetic

Filbert

Filbert

Description and Usage

Thick, flat ferrule and oval-shaped medium to long hairs. Long handles. Natural hair is more suitable for blending because the hairs hold together when wet. With its soft rounded edges, the filbert is suitable for blending and figurative work.

Media

oil
acrylic
decorative

Fiber

sable
mongoose
bristle
badger
synthetic

Flat

Flat

Description and Usage

Flat ferrule, square-ended, with medium to long hairs. Provides lots of color capacity and easy maneuverability. Use for bold, sweeping strokes, or on edge for fine lines. Use heavier filling for heavier paint.

Media

all
media

Fiber

sable
mongoose
bristle
badger
synthetic

Hake

Hake

Description and Usage

A hake brush is an oriental-style wash brush on a long flat handle. It is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

Media

watercolor

Fiber

squirrel
goat
ox
bristle
synthetic

Highliner

Highliner

Description and Usage

Also known as an outliner. Round ferrule, square-ended brush, with extra-long hairs and a short handle. Large color carrying capacity. Useful for delicate lettering, outlining, and long continuous strokes.

Media

ink
sign paint

Fiber

sable
squirrel
synthetic

Mop

Mop

Description and Usage

A mop is a round, full version of the wash brush, made of soft, absorbent natural hair. It is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

Media

watercolor

Fiber

squirrel

Mottler and Spalter

Mop

Description and Usage

Mottlers and Spalters are large flat brushes with long or short handles and can have long or short bristles – available in natural hair or synthetic fibers. Often used for faux finishing techniques, murals, washes, varnishing or priming, these brushes hold a large amount of paint and cover large surface areas.

Media

watercolor
acrylic
oil
decorative

Fiber

bristle
squirrel
pony
badger
synthetic

One Stroke

One Stroke

Description and Usage

Flat ferrule, square-ended medium to long length hairs. Short handles. Large color carrying capacity. Useful for painting block letters in a single stroke.

Media

oil
ink
decorative
sign paint

Fiber

sable
squirrel
ox
synthetic

Oval Wash

Oval Wash

Description and Usage

Wash brushes come in varied shapes. The oval wash has rounded hairs, flat ferrules, and produces a soft edge, with no point. A wash brush is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

Media

watercolor

Fiber

squirrel
ox
bristle
synthetic

Quill

Quill

Description and Usage

Plastic or natural quill ferrule, with a permanent or detachable handle. Long hairs, and a natural-shaped tip. The writer has a round ferrule and a short handle. Useful for lettering and poster work. Good on smooth surfaces such as glass.

Media

ink
sign paint

Fiber

sable
squirrel

Round

Round

Description and Usage

Round ferrule, round or pointed tip. Useful for detail, wash, fills, and thin to thick lines. A pointed round is used for fine detail. A detailer is a pointed round with very short hair.

Media

all media

Fiber

all hair
synthetic

Sash

Sash

Description and Usage

The long handles and tapered bristles are perfect for detailed work on large paintings. Also good for delicate decorative painting.

Media

oil
acrylic
decorative

Fiber

bristle

Script/Liner

Script

Description and Usage

Pointed, narrow brush with very long hair. Liners are shorter and narrower. Short handles, round ferrules. Large color carrying capacity. Useful for delicate lettering, highlighting, outlining, and long continuous strokes.

Media

watercolor
decorative
ink
sign paint

Fiber

sable
ox
synthetic

Square Wash

Square Wash

Description and Usage

Wash brushes come in varied shapes. The square wash can produce varying shapes and widths, and often has a short, "flat-footed" handle for scraping, burnishing, and separating watercolor paper from blocks. A wash brush is useful for laying in large areas of water or color, for wetting the surface, and for absorbing excess media.

Media

watercolor

Fiber

squirrel
ox
bristle
synthetic

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Brush Hair Types

Badger Hair

Camel Hair

Hog Bristle

Kevrin/Mongoose Hair

Kolinsky Sable

Ox Hair

Pony Hair

Red Sable

Sabeline

Squirrel Hair

Synthetic

Badger

Badger

Description and Usage

For blending oil paint on canvas, Badger Hair is an age-old tradtion. It comes from various parts of the world and is more readily available than most animal hair, although the quality varies greatly. Badger hair is thickest at the point, and relatively thin at the root, so it has a distinctive "bushy" appearance.

Media

oil

Camel Hair

Camel

Description and Usage

Camel Hair does not come from camels at all. It is found in watercolor and lettering brushes and usually is made of squirrel, goat, ox, pony or a blend of several hairs, depending on the desired softness and intended cost of the brush.

Media

lettering
tempera
watercolor

Hog Bristle

Hog Bristle

Description and Usage

Hog Bristle is obtained from hogs in several parts of the world, the most sought after coming from China. Bristle is unlike any other natural filler in that it forms a V-shaped split or "flag" at the tip and tends to have a natural curve. A brush with "interlocked" bristles, with the curves formed inward to the ferrule, has a natural resistance to fraying and spreads medium to thick paints smoothly and evenly. A selection of pure hog bristle brushes is recommended for oil and acrylic painting, and is a far less expensive alternative to good-quality softer hairs.

Media

acrylic
oil

Kevrin/Mongoose Hair

Kevrin/Mongoose

Description and Usage

Kevrin/Mongoose Hair is strong, resilient, and makes a good long-wearing, medium to professional quality brush for oil and acrylic painting.

Media

acrylic
oil

Kolinsky Sable

Kolinsky Sable

Description and Usage

Kolinsky Sable is not really from a sable at all, but comes from the tail of a species of mink that is a member of the weasel family found in Siberia and northeastern China. It is generally conceded to be the best material for oil and watercolor brushes due to its strength, spring and ability to retain its shape ("snap"). It holds a very fine point or edge. This is considered a professional grade of hair, and if properly cared for, Kolinsky will last for many years.

Media

oil
watercolor

Ox Hair

Ox Hair

Description and Usage

The best quality comes from the ears of cattle or oxen. The Ox Hair has a very strong body with silken texture, is very resilient, has good "snap", but lacks a fine tip. Therefore, it is most useful in medium gradewash brushes, or flat shaped brushes. Frequently, ox hair is blended with other natural hair to increase the resiliency of a brush.

Media

lettering
watercolor

Pony Hair

Pony Hair

Description and Usage

Pony Hair is soft but strong, from mature animals at least 2 years of age. It is primarily used for scholastic grade brushes, but often blended with other hairs for inexpensive watercolor and touch-up brushes.

Media

acrylic
scholastic
tempera
watercolor

Red Sable

Red Sable

Description and Usage

Red Sable is obtained from any member of the weasel family with "red" hair, not at all from the animal known as the sable. It is found in a variety of brush styles for many varied mediums, with quality and characteristics varying greatly. A good quality pure Red Sable is a good alternative to the more expensive Kolinsky, with similar performance and durability. Often, weasel hair is blended with ox hair to make a more economical brush, but the fine point is sacrificed.

Media

oil
watercolor

Sabeline

Sabeline

Description and Usage

Sabeline is actually select, light-colored ox hair dyed to resembled red sable. Lettering and watercolor brushes often use Sabeline mixed with Sable to lower the cost of a brush.

Media

lettering
watercolor

Squirrel

Squirrel

Description and Usage

Gray Squirrel (Talayoutky), most highly in demand for lettering brushes and quills, is native to Russia and nearly always fell in short supply. Brown squirrel (Kazan) is more readily available, and is used mainly for medium quality and scholastic watercolor brushes. A very fine, thin hair, taken from squirrel tails, it points as well as Kolinsky, but has very little "snap" because the hair is not very resilient. It works best with liquid paints and inks.

Media

lettering
watercolor

Synthetic

Synthetic

Description and Usage

Synthetics are man-made of either nylon or polyester filaments. They can be tapered, tipped, flagged, abraded or etched to increase color carrying ability. Often, synthetic filaments are dyed and baked to make them softer and more absorbent. The common name for this filament is "Taklon". Advantages of synthetic brushes are: 1) They are less prone to damage from solvents, insects or paints. 2) They are easier to keep clean than animal hair brushes because the filaments don't have animal scale structures to trap paint. 3) They are less prone to breakage and are durable on many different surfaces. 4) They are better suited for painting with acrylics because a synthetic filament will withstand the caustic nature of acrylic paints with less damage.

Media

all

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Brush Measurement

To be most accurate, we measure all of our brushes according to the following:

Length — The distance from the edge of the ferrule out to the tip of the hair in the center of the brush.

Diameter — The distance across a round brush at the fullest part or belly of the hair.

Width — The distance across the fullest part of the hair. We measure brushes while they are dry. Width is not the width of paint stroke that the brush will make. The width of a brushstroke will vary according to the amount of pressure used, the angle at which the brush is held, the media used and the flexibility of the brush hair.

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