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Which Paint Brush Should I Use?

by | Mar 21, 2023 | Art Lessons | 0 comments

End the Confusion About Paint Brushes!

There is a lot of confusion around brushes. Which one should I use? What is the difference? Do I need all these?? While we could experiment with trying out all the brushes there are, we would probably need to cash out our retirement funds to do so. I developed this guide to help you find a path through the confusion, and to aid your painting journey!

The Basics

There are a few terms that we need to cover before we dive into the details. Here are parts of the brush: (Feel free to save and share this on Pinterest.)

paint brush

Paint Brush Shapes

I have a video for you to explain the different types of brushes – the angled shader, round, filbert, etc. 

Fiber/Hair Type

One of the most important choices when selecting a brush is the material for the brush fibers themselves. If you are an oil or acrylic painter, you need a brush that can handle being used on canvas. If you are a watercolor artist, you need a brush that can hold more water, and distribute that water onto the paper. Softer, non-scrubbing bristles. 

In general:

Natural Hair – More suitable for soft bending. Hairs hold together when wet. 

Synthetic – More suitable for textural effects. 


Long Handles – generally 9″ or more. Great for painting while standing up

Short Handles – generally 5-6″. Great for painting at a table (you don’t poke yourself in the eye!)

Nothing replaces trying out some for yourself. A soft synthetic may blend more than a stiff natural hair brush. Sometimes we need to get the feel of it. However, I hope that this guide helps you on your brush journey. 

Brushes I love:

Contains affiliate links – no extra cost to you. These links go to Blick. Please purchase from your local art store if possible! My favorites are Lenz Arts in Santa Cruz, CA, and Central Arts in Medford. Got a favorite locally owned store (non-big-box)? Leave it in a comment below!

Liquitex Freestyle Paddle Brush

Silver Bristol Synthetic Brushes 

Get a free PDF guide of which brushes are for what techniques!