Brush Tips

Painting Brushes: Little Tools with Big Differences

Most artistic painting brushes appear small and uniform to the untrained eye. Many people really just view them as thin sticks with a bunch of short bristles glued to the end. To painters, however, there are big differences between all of the various brushes. Each one has certain qualities which produce unique results when moving and mixing mediums. Each kind of brush has a specific role to play in the construction of an individual's arts and crafts ideas.

Multi-purpose brushes and utility brushes are the ones painters use to create backdrops on their canvasses. These are large, flat, and have long fibers at the ends. They can pick up a lot of paint and release it easily and smoothly. They are ideal for painting large sections, because they can cover a lot of canvas at once. Liquitex Free-Style Large Scale brushes are perfect examples of this kind of brush. Liquitex brushes are made from synthetic fibers, durable, easy to clean, and cheap. They can be purchased at any art supply store or online store for a very reasonable price.

When artists want to involve people, animals, vegetation, and geological formations in their paintings, they have to use a smaller set of art brushes with finer bristles that are specially shaped to create specific effects. The set will include round and detail round brushes, which are used for sketching, detailing, and painting small areas. There should be bright, shader, and Filbert brushes, too. Bright brushes have bristles that curve inward at the tip and are good for painting in short strokes. Shader painting brushes are angular and flat at the end. They are perfect for filling in corners, and make terrific curved strokes. The Filbert brushes leave much softer markings on the canvas. Their bristles are oval-shaped and great for making things with soft, rounded edges.

A good set of artistic brushes, like Museum Emerald brushes, will contain fan brushes in addition to the aforementioned ones. These brushes have flat bristles that are spread apart. If the bristles are natural, the brushes will be great for smoothing, feathering, and blending. If the bristles are made from stiffer synthetics, then the brushes will make intricate textural effects, like tree leaves and blades of grass. The set should have brushes with pointed round tips, too. They are much narrower than other round brushes and have sharply pointed tips. They are used primarily for making fine lines and putting in detail. Many artists like to buy their brushes in complete sets from a manufacturer’s online catalog, for convenience and quality assurance. Individual brushes are available for sale in most arts and crafts stores, however, for artists that purchase theirs on an as-needed basis.

The make-up of the bristles in the brush heads is also more important to artists than it is to other people. This is because artist know that certain kinds of fibers will only work well in specific kinds of paint. For example, synthetic brushes have bristles made from a blend of nylon and polyester. They work well with acrylic paints, because those paints have a lot of water in them and require brushes with non-absorbent bristles. Oil brushes are made with either natural pig bristles or sable fur, and more expensive than the acrylic brushes. They have a tendency to soak up a lot of water, so it is best to use them with paints that do not have much of it, like extremely thick oil paints. Watercolor brushes also have tips made from long, ultra-absorbent hair. These are meant for soaking up very thin, water-based paint. They will become gummed up and stiff if used with acrylic and oil-based paints.

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