Updated: Jan 7
The eight common artist brushes are flat, bright, round, rigger, angle, filbert, fan, and mop. Artist brushes come in long and short handles as well as in natural and synthetic hairs. Artist brushes are made of four parts: bristles, ferrule, crimp and handle. Bristles are the hair. The ferrule - a metal bit that connects the hair to the handle - is usually made of wood or acrylic. Crimp fastens the ferrule to the handle.
Longer handles allow for more gestural work and shorter handles are more suited to detail work. Natural hair brushes usually use hog, sable, and squirrel hair. Acrylic and oil brushes tend to have longer handles and watercolour brushes have shorter handles. Acrylic and oil brushes require stiff coarse hair (usually hog hair) to spread thick layers of paint. Watercolour brushes require fine hair (usually sable and squirrel) for holding liquid and doing washes.
Synthetic hair brushes come in stiff and soft varieties that are made of nylon or polyester that can be used with acrylics or watercolour.
Bright—good for impasto work.
Flat—good for bold strokes and coverage.
Mop—good for blending and glazing.
Round—good for outlining and detail work.
Angle—good for curved strokes and filling corners.
Filbert—good for blending and detail work.
Fan—good for blending, smoothing, and feathering.
Rigger—good for fine lines.