Choosing Oil Brushing for Painting

One of the best types of oil brushes a beginner oil painter can use are the ones made from natural pig hair called china bristle brushes. These brushes are durable and tough enough to withstand oil paint while still cleaning up well, plus they make a stable mark on canvases.
Sable brushes are also another popular choice, though they are more expensive and more difficult to care for. Sables work best for blending, making soft marks where less definition is required, and for glazing.

Synthetic oil brushes are also popular in the consumer marketplace, but do not purchase them unless you are certain they are created for oil paints. The affordability and quality of these brushes have seen vast improvements thanks to advancements in technology. It is tough for consumers to find a large selection of synthetic brushes that work well with oil paints providing years of use at an affordable price point.

It is important that the costs of the oil brushes are not ruling your buying decisions. Even though it is possible to find decent brushes that do not cost much, do not be lured into purchasing the multi-packs that tout bargain prices that are found in many stores. The hairs on these brushes tend to warp easily in multiple directions or fall out completely during the painting process.

Two of the most prominent characteristics of oil brushes are their size and shape. The shape differences allow artists to load the paint onto brushes and apply it on to the canvas in a specific manner. Artists tend to choose the size of their brush according to how large the painting is they are working on.
How to select brush shapes:

  • Flat brushes: these brushes allow even coverage because they have a straight, clean edge.
  • Bright oil brushes: this is a brush similar to a flat, though its bristles are short so it can make distinctive calligraphic marks.
  • Round brushes: artists use this brush for line work, as well as any type of drawing.
  • Filbert oil brushes: this brush is interesting in that its almond shaped creates an oval-like mark; it looks like a mix between the flat and round brush combined.
  • Fan brushes: these are used for creating textures and for blending.
  • Liner oil brushes: artists use these brushes for lettering or fine line work.

How to Choose the Right Brush Size
The metal sleeve that holds the brush’s bristles in place is referred to as the ferrule, and it is also where the brush’s numerical size is marked. Its size is based upon its width, as well as the size of the surface being painted. For example, if an artist is painting a canvas that is two or three feet wide or tall, they will choose a brush that is two inches wide. How large the brush is, what shape it is, and how the paint is applied to the canvas is based upon individual choices and preferences made by the artist. Whatever your project and preference, choose quality brushes for your artwork.