Different Types And Uses Of Paintbrush


A close up of a brush

Paintbrushes are a tool used by artists to apply paint to their work. They come in many shapes and sizes, each with its unique use.

The type of brush you should choose depends on what type of paint you plan to do, your skill level, the surface you will be working on, and other factors such as the cost of paint or the size of your budget for brushes.

Paintbrushes can also help create different types of textures like strokes that look wet or dry, long strokes, or small dabs. You may want a flat brush for certain techniques because it is easier to control than a round one. There are three basic types: natural hair (animal), synthetic (man-made), and mixed (both natural and synthetic).

Natural Hair:

A person cutting a piece of paper

Natural animal hair paintbrushes are the most commonly used kind of brushes. They make up about 80 percent of all brushes sold. The types of natural hair used to make paintbrushes include mongoose, chamois (goat), squirrel, pony, ox, and sable.

Mixed Sable/Squirrel Brush:

Sable Brushes are made with tail hair from a marten. These soft, fine brushes are excellent for blending or glazing colors on your artwork. Sables have tapers that allow for good control when painting details with thin lines.

Red sable mixed ox-hair is also called red sable because it is dyed to resemble sable hair brushes. It is less expensive than its fine cousin but still contains tapers that will work well with painting details.

Squirrel Brushes:

Squirrel Brushes are made from the long, soft hair of a squirrel. They have a good point and hold a lot of paint. The hairs move apart as they come out of the ferrule (metal band around the brush’s head) which helps them retain their springiness and shape. They also keep a sharp edge for a longer time than other types of natural bristles, so they make excellent liner brushes though not as good for broad strokes as some flat synthetic bristle brushes.

Natural Pony Hair:

Natural pony hair comes from horses and is usually used in watercolor or oil painting. It has a stiffer spring than squirrel and sable, making it good for oil painting as the hairs will hold their shape during repeated strokes.

Synthetic Hair:

Synthetic brushes are man-made from different types of plastic formed into fibers. Synthetic bristles come in many shapes including round, flat, and angled. The main advantage of synthetic bristles is their ability to retain their shape under moisture or heat without contracting or becoming too soft. You can also get long-lasting results even on watercolor paper with low-quality pigments. However, they are more likely to lose hair during use because they are not naturally tapered like animal hair brushes which hold the strands together at the end of each tuft (group of bristles).

Natural Hog/Camel Hair Brush:

Hog Bristle Brushes are made with the stiff hairs of hogs. They are good for oil or acrylic painting. Camel Hair is very similar to hog bristles but more expensive because it comes from younger animals that produce finer, softer hairs. Camel hair holds its shape well and keeps a sharp point on its fine end. It works well for watercolor as well as oils and acrylics.

Mixed Synthetic (Nylon) Brush:

Mixed nylon brushes can be used with all types of paint, giving you an all-around brush that is inexpensive and versatile. Their strength lies in their ability to retain their shape without splaying when wet; they also take a lot of abuse when scrubbing off the paint without their bristles breaking.

Natural/Synthetic Bristles:

Natural/Synthetic bristles are mixed with natural hairs and synthetic hairs to get the best of both worlds, giving you paintbrushes that are less expensive than purely natural hair brushes but have more durability than all-synthetic ones. Some common types of these mixed bristles include camel/squirrel, red sable/white goat, camel/goat, and white bristle/squirrel.

Mixed Liner Brush:

Mixed liner brushes contain a mixture of different lengths so you can have long or short hair in one brush, which is helpful for certain techniques like flicking or daubing. Flick Brushes are made with extra-long fibers to hold a lot of paint. These brushes come with different shaped heads like flat, angled, or round and make it easy to flick paint at specific angles, such as the rims of glasses, fine lines, and spots. Daub Brushes have long fibers that you can pull out for larger daubs or press together for smaller ones, making them perfect for applying glazes, washes, and impasto techniques.


There are many different types of paintbrushes and each has its unique purpose. Whether you’re looking for a brush to create fine details or one that will cover large areas quickly, there is a type of brush out there that will suit your needs. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different brushes until you find the ones that work best for you.

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