Choosing a pencil or a paintbrush isn’t as easy as it sounds for every tool has its unique effect. To simplify the difficulty of choosing which paint brush to use, it would be a great idea if you decide to categorize them into two distinctions: the shape, and the type of hair of the paint brush.

To help you more on choosing which paint brush to use, here are tips that can help you:

  1. Type of Hair

There are two types of hair: bristle, and sable. Both kinds come in various sizes and shapes and are either made from synthetic fiber or natural animal hair. Ideally, bristles are used for rougher marks, and sables are for smoother ones.

  1. Bristle Brushes

Bristle brushes are made out of stronger, thicker, and rougher hair for they originally come from animals such as wild hogs; however, brushes that are made from synthetic bristles are now prevalent. Bristle brushes are ideal for specific purposes for they can hold a lot of paint.

  1. Bristle Marks

Bristle marks tend to produce paint strokes that can be visible. Most people use this feature for it adds texture and variety to paintings, and create drawing type marks due to their durability and stiffness.

  1. Sable Brushes

Generally made of softer and finer hair, sable brushes are ideal for blending edges and producing softer and subtler marks. Sable brushes that are small are also good for adding more details and finishing touches.

  1. Sable Marks

Sables produce very clean marks, with paint strokes that are virtually hidden. Painters usually use sables when they want to produce airbrush-like marks for blending and to achieve a more “realistic” effect in paintings.

  1. Three Paint Brush Shapes

One way to categorize paint brushes is by their shape; the three basic shapes are filbert, flat, and round -all of which come in both sable and bristle hair, and also in different sizes.

  1. Round Brushes

Shaped like sharp teardrops, round brushes are usually used to make drawing-like marks. Most painters usually use round brushes to draw first, then proceed to use larger round brushes to fill bigger areas.

  1. Flat Brushes

Flat brushes possess a rectangular shape and produce square shaped marks. They can make chisel-like lines too, especially when utilizing a flat sable brush. Most painters use flat brushes to model form, define planes, and form a figure in a painting.

  1. Filbert Brushes

Filbert brushes are, generally, a combination of both flat and round brushes. Filberts possess the rectangular shape like a flat brush, but also have a point like a round brush. Due to the nature of their shape, filberts can produce different marks.

  1. Round Bristle and Sable Brush Marks

Round bristle marks resemble those of a pencil, that’s why most artists use them whenever they want to draw or make hatching marks. Round sable marks, on the other hand, are often used to blend edges and create finer details.

  1. Flat Bristle and Sable Brush marks

Flat bristle brushes create square-shaped marks and visible paint strokes that are usually used for painting planes on forms. Flat sable paint brushes can create square-shaped marks, but with cleaners edges.

  1. Filbert Bristle and Sable Brush Marks

Here are some examples of marks made by filbert bristle brush

Filbert brushes can produce various marks because of their versatility. From creating variety and texture, drawing edges and marks, and blending, filberts can cater to a painter’s preference and usage.

  1. Large Brushes

Usually, larger brushes are flat-shaped and are made from bristle mainly because bristle can hold more paint. Large brushes are common uses when painting large areas, or for applying varnish and gesso.

  1. Small Detail Brushes

Small brushes come in a variety of sizes and are almost always sables for they can preserve their stiffness and shape well. Small brushes are generally used for adding details and for blending edges.

To help you more in sorting your brushes, it is better if you get familiar with your tools in a sense that you sort them according to how you need and use them. For example, you can sort some of your brushes for blending, for adding details, or even for outdoor and landscape painting. What’s important is that you customize and personalize the way you arrange and sort them to maximize comfort and ease when painting.