Fine Art Brush Tips: Brush Shapes

In the Fine Art Brush Tips series, we have already covered the basics of brush hair types, bristles and the fine qualities of Kolinsky.  Now, lets look at brush shapes, the advantages and the uses.

Companies differ in the brush shapes they offer, but many offer the top five basics:  flat, round, filbert, bright and fan.  These are the most frequently used and purchased, especially for beginners.  However, notice that specialty shapes might offer unique solutions to painting specific objects, like hair, water or foliage.  For further information or demonstration on some of the specialty brushes from Dynasty, click on the video demos.

Shape Description Use Image Videos or Details
Flat square tuft in a flat ferrule, sharp corners and straight top; good for underpainting large areas, creating hard lines, building color or laying on glazes

Round round ferrule with tuft coming to a sharp single point; works for large watercolor washes, small details and fine lines

Faux Kolinsky series
or Black Gold Round demo
Filbert flat ferrule with hairs coming to a round oval shape softer stroke than flats, often used when visible brushstrokes should be avoided

Black Gold Filbert demo
Bright shorter hairs in a flat shape; usually in a long handle anywhere a flat would work, usually has a stiffer feel considering shorter bristles

Fan hairs or bristles spread out thinly as a fan works primarily as a blender, but can also lay in light washes of color

Faux Squirrel Series
Quill long hairs and natural shaped tip; typically sable or squirrel hair; ferrules used to be quills Quills were actually made from bird feathers years ago; today they are synthetic.  Conducive to watercolor, calligraphy
Quill Info
Dagger sharp rounded angle with a flat ferrule long edge for fine even lines

Cat's Tongue pointed filbert Can create soft lines like a round, or work in washes

Rigger aka Script; longer tufts than liners in a round ferrule detail work, able to hold a lot of fluid, used more in fine art, sometimes on long handles
Faux Squirrel series
Liner long thin pointed tuft in a rounded ferrule; with a short watercolor length handle thin lines, fur or hair, large color carrying capacity, used more in decorative painting

Wave top of tuft is shaped into a tight wave formation Brush is available in angle, flat and filber; excellent for feathers, leaves and hair

Wave details and demos
Fandango very light oval shaped fan brush Fandango means "go and dance"; can be used as a light blender

Fandango demo
Butterfly Two sizes of hair in one ferrule, short next to long excellent for leaf or flower painting, decorative detailing

Butterfly Demo
Fountain Short hairs in a round formation, ending in an open circle Versatile foliage brush, for stippling or creating individual hairs or blades

Fountain Demonstration

Whale's tail tuft is cut into a V-shape Painting leaves, flowers, trees and borders
Whale's Tail

Keep Painting,

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.