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Paintshop: Artist Brushes 101

Artist brushes have been an important part of my painting career since serving as an apprentice. On nearly every interior project, I saw a journeyman painter using them. Favorites were long, thin-handle and fine-bristle brushes to perform precision application tasks.

 

EIGHT COMMON USES FOR ARTIST BRUSHES BY COMMERCIAL PAINTERS

 

  1. To coat the smallest of spots
  2. To paint pencil-fine lines
  3. To edge decorative finished areas
  4. To maneuver paint around sharp curves, odd shapes
  5. To reach into very visible corners
  6. To add very narrow borders, or accent lines in murals
  7. To outline or “in-line” letters, numbers, symbols, etc.
  8. To detail borders, dado, furniture, fixtures, mirror frames, etc.

 

Their usefulness and effectiveness are unlimited. And on a regular basis, an artist brush in hand has made precision craftsmanship very achievable. Even lucrative.

 

BASIC ARTIST BRUSH KIT FOR A PAINTER AND DECORATOR

 

  1. Fitch Brush – flat, Sable bristles. Example: No. 4 ($12.46, http://www.jerrysartarama.com*).
  2. Bright Brush – flat, square tips. Example: No. 8. Uses: Fill in open area, shading.
  3. Angular Tip Brush – 5/8. Uses: Cut in lines, make contour strokes.
  4. Round Brush – No. 3X0 ($8.96*). Uses: Fine detailing; No. 4 ($13.34*). Uses: Fill in narrow areas
  5. Linear Brush – No. 4 (long, thin). Uses: Produe fine lines, edging
  6. Filbert Brush – flat, round bristles/ferrule. No. 2 ($12.06*). Uses: Painting florals, plants.
  7. Fan Brush – No. 2 ($20.85*). Uses: Create irregular texture effects, also paint vegetation.
  8. Polishing Mop – Bushy, full, stout handle. Uses:

 

NINE ARTIST BRUSHES and TOOLS TO ADD AS BUDGET ALLOWS

 

  1. Watercolor Brush – Nos. 0-12. Uses: Touch up, match grain pattern of figures.
  2. Micro mini detail – Creative Mark, set/12/20/0-10/0 ($25/00*). Features: Easy-to-hold handles, synthetic. Uses: Tight spots, small details; spotter, angular shader.
  3. Spalter – Chungking bristle hair, set/3, 1-3 inch flat ($11.99*). Features: Bigger scales, softer bristles. Uses: Blending paint with thin oils/acrylics.
  4. Grumbacher Degas or Gainsborough oil and acrylic – No. 1-12 ($3.79-$14.99*). Features: Flat, Round, Fan, Brush, Filbert.
  5. Mural Brushes – Creative Mark. Golden flat, round, Filbert; White round, flat, Filbert. Nos. 30, 40, 50 ($6.99-$19.99*). Uses: Large scale painting; excellent for acrylics, watercolors, traditional waters and mixable oils.
  6. Grumbacher Fine Hog Bristles – Sizes 1-12; Series 760B-Bright, 760F-Flat 760R-Round, 760Filbert, 760N-Fan. ($2.09-$5.59 *). Features: Strong, durable, manipulative; heavy point; unique taper bristles interlock/maintain shape; easy control placement of color.
  7. Bob Rankin’s Big Bad Brush – 3-inch. ($15.00*). Chungking Hog bristles, flagged ends, seamless brass ferrule. Features: Ends Holds lot of paint, grips color, distributes evenly/quickly. Uses: Blending, wash techniques; robust design allows exerting pressure on strokes; perfect bounce-back/performance.
  8. Bargain Seconds Bristle Set/12 – Creative Mark. ($7.41*). Features: Variety of hairs: pony, ox, camel, bristle.
  9. Wipe-off Tool – ($6.49*). Varnished wood handle, 2 brass ferrules; tips: soft rubber/both sides: chisel, fine point. Uses: Wipe off excess paint quickly/accurately. All media.

 

FIVE ARTIST BRUSHES and TOOLS ESPECIALLY FOR DECORATIVE CRAFTSPERSON

 

  1. Colorwashing Brush – China bristle, nylon/polyester, or Badger. Uses: Work paint and paint glaze combinations onto base coat to achieve “looking-through” effect.
  2. Flogger/Whacking Tools – Long bristle brush, dust mop, car mop, tire brush. Features: Floggers – Absorbent like dense brushes, mops, dusters, car mop. Features: Can apply or suck up glaze. Whackers – Non-absorbent like plastic brushes, tire brushes, toilet/tub cleaning brushes. Uses: Woodgraining; removing parts of wet glaze from surface; creating large-scale texture.
  3. Dragging – Long bristle brush (eg. wallpaper), large comb, rubber window squeegee, driveway surfacing broom. Uses: Emulate striped fabrics; create fine-texture finish, fine lines.
  4. Stippling Brush – Bristles usually larger, mid-length. Uses: Create fine texture of dots, by dabbing repeatedly over surface; create smooth impression from distance, texture close; create “fade-away” appearance. Alternative: Stainer brush. Features: long, dense, flexible bristles.
  5. Sable Short-Handle – Escoda Versatil Synthetic. Sizes 2-22. ($8.00-$57.39*). Features: Exceptional snap; Spring-like Kolinsky hair, perfect point keeps shape; incredible fluid retention; superb absorption; affordable replacement to Kolinsky.

 

By the way, the area may determine the type and number, or size, of the artist brush that you need. Your level of skills and abilities with standard paintbrushes will, more likely, determine which, if any, artist brushes you actually use.

 

In the right hands, a two-inch Purdy or Wooster Trim Brush can work artistic magic. It can paint pencil-thin lines…add pin dots for effect… cut in razor-sharp corners…highlight and detail an artist’s signature.

 

FOOTNOTE: Artist brushes are different than decorative finishing brushes. Some artist brushes are used in applying, then detailing, certain decorative finishes.

 

See: Paintshop: Decorative Painting Brushes and Tools 101

 

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An artist’s hand is often more valuable than an artist’s eye.

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Thanks for stopping by “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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