Artist Brushes are possibly the most important investment an artist can make, because the quality of the brush used has almost as much power to damage or beautify a work as the orchestrating artist. When making an initial investment in brushes it’s wise to choose a set. Having a number of different brush types, sizes and shapes of brushes provides the artist with as many options as possible to create the vision within his/her mind’s eye. Brush Care is important! We provide insight on proper brush care, as every type of brush hair is different!
Brush construction is an intricate and impressive process that seemingly defies our age of technology. The brush heads of natural brushes are still shaped by hand and the tips of the brushes are the natural tips of the hairs on the animal. Any cutting and shaping that is done to the brush hair takes place on the side of the hair that is bound within the ferrule. Most brushes have three parts: a tuft of natural or synthetic hairs, a ferrule and a handle. The hairs are arranged and then cemented into the ferrule. The best brushes have ferrules that are seamless to keep solvents from leaking inside.Although certain brushes are recommended for specific types of media, brush selection should be based on personal choice. Long handle brushes are generally good for oil and acrylic painting and short handle brushes for watercolor–this is based on the painter’s work distance. Because acrylics dry quickly, they can damage the hairs on a natural brush more easily than a synthetic. Therefore, synthetic brushes can be recommended for acrylics. Bristle brushes are often recommended for the beginning oil painter because they’re economical and hold a good deal of paint. Natural soft hair brushes absorb water well and are good for watercolors.
Brushes are numbered in size ranging from multiple zero (which contain very little hair) to double digits (containing small fistfuls.) There’s no mystery about flat brushes–the size given refers to the distance across the flat of the ferrule where the hairs emerge. Choosing rounds is more confusing, as numbering systems differ by manufacturer, but all generally have the size printed on the handle. When getting started, it’s best to pick out brushes that look like the right size for your work and forget about their numbers
Another type of "brush" is the Airbrush. While one wouldn't think of this as a traditional brush, with the right skill set they provide unmatched control over paint application with a wide range of pressure application techniques, subtractive and gradient techniques.