The Most Useful Shapes for Watercolor Brushes
There are many types of watercolor brushes out there in many different shapes, enough to make a novice watercolor artist’s head spin. Perhaps you already know you want a well-made brush, such as a natural bristle or a faux hair/natural hair blend. But when a good quality brush sometimes comes at a dear price, you may wonder how you’ll be able to afford all the brushes you “need”.
The truth is, an artist can get started with a few basic brush shapes, without breaking the bank, and fill in later as he or she gets an idea of which brush type he truly needs or prefers to use.
The following are five basic brushes that will get you started, in order of what you’ll likely find to be the most useful, to the least useful. Bear in mind, however, that every artist is different, and a “holy grail” brush for one artist may well be considered a “dud” by another artist.
Pointed Round: A good round brush is the workhorse of an artist’s tool box. You’ll find yourself picking up your round brush often. It is capable of laying down a small area of wash, making a variety of strokes, and using the point to make some of the smaller details. You can start out with a medium-sized round brush, but eventually you’ll want at least two or three sizes.
Flat: A flat brush can be used to chisel in the edges of buildings or to lay down a large area of wash. A good medium-sized wash brush is a necessity, but when you graduate to larger works, you’ll definitely need a brush that can lay down a lot more paint.
Angled: An angle brush is useful when you want a wash look, but with a smooth, straight edge.
Liner Brush: A liner brush can allow you far more detail than a pointed round. It can also help with making a correction, by using it to pick up a little color that you may have dropped in the wrong place. By having the ability to pick up less color and less water, it gives you more control in your corrections.
Fan Brush: There are a lot of different specialty brush shapes out there, but you may find the fan brush to be the most useful. You can use it to dot speckles onto your painting, or to add fur, grass, or streaky lines.
If cost is a concern, you can easily start with just a medium-sized pointed round, and be able to accomplish most basic painting techniques. Then, as your budget allows, you can buy the others one at a time. Before long, you’ll have what you need, and then you can add brushes of various sizes and other specialized shapes, until your collection is complete.
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