What is a brush ?

A brush is an application tool that allows a material (colour, ink, etc.) to be transferred to a support. A paintbrush is made up of :

  • a tuft of fibres, natural or synthetic :
    • Fine hairs (sable - fitch - squirrel, etc.),
    • Hog bristles,
    • Pony hair,
    • Goat hair,
    • Synthetic fibres (Kaërell, Sepia, etc.).
  • a ferrule : the metal part that attaches the tuft of fibres to the handle.
  • a handle by which the paintbrush is held.


What are the main shapes of fine brush tufts ?

Short flat : flat brush. Its width is approximately the same as its length-out (visible fibre length).

Long flat : its length-out is twice the width.


Domed : when wet, it forms a point.

Filbert : flat with rounded edges.

Square : square shaped end of tuft.


What are their uses ?

Extra short.
For touch ups and spotting.

Square, short flat or "Brights".
For decorating in full colour, or edge work and small surfaces. Brushstrokes are more visible.

Long flat.
For adding material and applying colour masses, backgrounds.

Pointed for colouring in.
For colour washes. High retention capacity, mainly used for water colours.

For modelling shapes, reworking, finishing work and details.

Cat's tongue.
Pointed filbert.

Long or short handle, for blends, shading off and glazes.
Special effects and multiple brushstrokes.

For modelling shapes, for reworking, for finishing work and details.

Round pointed.
For touch ups, finishing work and expressing details. Filling out of colours.

Very high retention capacity with perfect point. For water-based techniques.


The function of the paintbrush.

A brush is an application tool that allows a material (colour, material, ink, etc.) to be transferred to a surface, with a brushstroke adapted to the impetus of the hand... It fulfills 5 main functions :

  • Brushing,
  • Mixing,
  • Absorption,
  • Retention (or reserve),
  • Colour distribution.

It acts as an extension of the hand between the creative mind and the support.


How to select a brush ?

  • By expression technique used : "soft", dilutable : Water colours, Inks, Ink screens, Gouache, Pastels, on "soft" substrates or in paste form : Oils, Acrylics.
  • By type of colour : reversible or irreversible, slow or fast drying, water or solvent based... aggressive or diluted.
  • By support : uniform or rough, smooth or abrasive, flexible or rigid... paper, canvas, wood, porcelain, prepared or sized or coated... absorbent, porous or non absorbent.
  • By style : impressionist, pointillist, realist.
  • By size : miniature or giant, pad or sheet.
  • According to application of the colour : impastos, washes, glazes, details, solid colours, touch ups, etc.
  • By the number of colours.




Copyright © Raphaël 2012