Paint Basket Member Art Forum

Author Topic: Types of brushes  (Read 1101 times)

nolan

  • Administrator
  • Master Artist
  • *
  • Posts: 11188
    • Draw With Nolan
on: July 10, 2010, 04:03:25 PM


The brush market is huge, with many manufacturers competing for your hard earned cash. Then each manufacturer has it's own impressive range of brushes to choose from. With such a wide variety, how do you decide which to buy and which are unnecessary?

First and foremost the brushes you buy should be practical. It is pointless trying to use a fine brush to block in a huge area of canvas or a soft bristled brush to scrub in brush marks. Is that the only consideration though? Definitely not, let's dive in and look at some of our options.

General

Let's first get an idea of how brushes are constructed



Generally they are made up of three parts :
1) The bristles are the 'hairs' you paint with.
2) The handle is the section you hold.
3) The ferrule has two functions. The first is to hold the bristles onto the handle. The second is to hold the bristles in the shape that they were intended to be. The process of squeezing the ferrule onto the handle and bristles is called crimping.

If we look at these components in turn we find that we can get many variations and uses from such a simple tool.

The Bristles

The bristles can be long, short, hard soft, round, flat etc. and each variation gives us a different painting effect. Many different materials can be used as bristles - hog, sable, ox, squirrel and ringcat hairs are some of the natural hairs used. You can also buy imitation hair brushes where the filament has been extruded to resemble natural hairs. The type of hair will also determine if the bristles are hard or soft. Harder bristles are better for blocking in areas of colour and impasto effects. Softer bristles are better for detail work, blending and smoothing. Each brush has a number on it, this number is related to the bristle size. The bigger the brush, the bigger the number. We will be taking a closer look at how the bristles can be shaped to give us different painting effects shortly.

The Ferrule

Mostly the ferrule is manufactured from stainless steel, but other materials are also used like plastics. The ferrule will either be extruded into a precise fitting tube which is then crimped (squeezed) onto the bristles and handle. In another method it will be rolled around the handle, folded back to form a tube and then crimped to the handle and bristles.

The Handle

It's hard to believe, but a handle is not a handle when it comes to art brushes. You get cheap and nasty handles that are rough to hold, made from cheap wood that disintegrate after soaking up your cleaning fluid etc. A quality handle will be manufactured from a durable, light weight wood like pine, sanded and then varnished or painted. The varnish is either sprayed on or dipped. The better quality handles are given a few coats of varnish or paint, (usually 3 or more), until the handle is silky smooth and comfortable to hold.

Let's now look at some specific brushes and their uses.

Round



Rounds have long thin bristles that curve inward at the end to form a point. They are used for laying in areas of colour, glazing and detailed work. Using the tip gives a dotted effect. Use your rounds for gentle blending too.

Flat



Flats are essential to any artist. They have long bristles as the round, but the ferrule has been flattened so that the bristles sit next to each other in a line. Flats can hold a lot of paint so thick broad strokes are a pleasure with this brush. Painting the edges of a subject is also a breeze with a flat. Using the tip can give crisp dashes of colour and by turning the brush you achieve a dotted effect. Flats also work well for blending.

Bright



Brother of the flat, it has shorter bristles and is sometimes called a 'short flat'. As the bristles are shorter, they tend to be stiffer. This is useful for creating texture in the paint or rough blending. The stiffer bristles also let you paint in a reasonable degree of detail.

Filbert



Second cousin to the flat, the filbert bristles curve inward at the end creating a flat, rounded edge. They also come in long and short bristle versions. Filberts are great for laying in impasto effects as well as dabbing in bushes and trees. By turning the brush you can achieve broad stroked as well as thinner lines.

Fan



Distant uncle of the flat, often wrongly accredited with starting the punk culture. The fan brush also has flat bristles, but they have been fanned out at the end. This makes the fan brush an extremely versatile tool. You can achieve very soft blending, dabs of varying lengths, lines and by rotating the brush, even dots. You can also use the fan for fine detail work by only holding a few bristles in your hand.

Hardware



Big daddy of the flat, it is used for quickly blocking / shading in a large area of the canvas. Also gives some lovely effects when painting trees and bushes.

Varnish



The varnish brush has long soft flat bristles to ensure that no bristle marks appear when painting with it. Use it for soft blending or smoothing and not just for varnishing your paintings.

Rigger



The rigger brush has long soft bristles and is the tallest brother of the round. The rigger get's it's name from the days when sailing ships still ruled the seas. Artists needed a way to paint the long fine lines of the rigging in one stroke. By lengthening the bristles of the round, the rigger can hold more paint and thus achieve those long thin lines. You can also use your rigger for small fine detail, painting waves, foam on breaking waves, tracks in the road etc. Remember though the bristles are long and not very sturdy so the rigger is no good for blending. The rigger also requires well thinned paint to work effectively.

There are many other brushes out on the market, these are just the most common. Don't be afraid to try out a different brush type, variety is the spice of life.

A last word on the quality of brushes. Always buy the most expensive brush you can afford as the more you pay for the brush, the longer it is going to last. If you have never used the type of brush you are about to buy though, then it is better to opt for the cheaper version. This way you will not have wasted your money if you don't like using the type of brush. If you do like it, then you can go buy the quality version.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 02:44:38 PM by nolan »


Kelley

  • Easel
  • *
  • Posts: 1491
  • Failure is not falling down, but staying down.
Reply #1 on: October 09, 2010, 01:34:24 PM
Do you have examples of use for each type of brush?  I have several brushes, but have only used three flats (not any rounds as of yet).
Kelley


nolan

  • Administrator
  • Master Artist
  • *
  • Posts: 11188
    • Draw With Nolan
Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 03:13:51 PM
I'll see what I can do


nolan

  • Administrator
  • Master Artist
  • *
  • Posts: 11188
    • Draw With Nolan
Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 12:38:02 AM
here are some samples for you.



nolan

  • Administrator
  • Master Artist
  • *
  • Posts: 11188
    • Draw With Nolan
Reply #4 on: October 11, 2010, 12:39:42 AM
more


Kelley

  • Easel
  • *
  • Posts: 1491
  • Failure is not falling down, but staying down.
Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 05:30:56 PM
I just purchased a rigger to paint the sailboat.  I'll post once I'm done.  Thank you showing the different brush uses.  This is excellent and useful information.
Kelley


nolan

  • Administrator
  • Master Artist
  • *
  • Posts: 11188
    • Draw With Nolan
Reply #6 on: October 11, 2010, 05:36:02 PM
looking forward to seeing your updated seascape O0


 

SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal