Art 101: Top 5 Tips in Picking Out a Watercolor Paint Brush

Watercolor is easily one of the most affordable artist mediums and the absolute best to travel with. Any time I go on vacation or out of town, I take my water colors because it's easy, compact and light. On the other hand watercolor is one of the most difficult mediums because it's so hard to control (well duh its water) and you can't correct mistakes. You can add layers to watercolor but there isn't really any do-overs and I know I make tons of mistakes while painting. I have used the same water color paint brushes for almost 10 years. A good brush or at least knowing a few tips in picking out a good water color brush will last you nearly forever as long as your nice to it. :) Oh and the best thing about water color brushes is that they can be used for other water mediums like gouache. yay!- I know it's important to have a multi-purpose brush especially if you plan on shelling out the cash.

 1. It is extremely important to buy a brush that is specifically meant for water color because you need brush that holds water and releases water. So a bristle brush like a hog will not work. You want more of a soft hair like a sable or mink. A squirrel or ox brushes holds more water in the hairs then sable or mink but they aren't as soft.
 2. The two main types of water color brushes are rounds and flat brushes. The reason why the round brushes are more tear dropped shaped is because the belly holds the water like a reservoir- and releases the water with your fluidity of your stroke.
 3. A watercolor brush uses a shorter handle because it requires a firmer grip causing the water to go to the tip of the brush.
4. Synthetic versus real hair. Synthetic is an easy choice because it is a cheaper brush. If you do buy a synthetic typically it will not last as long as natural hair because it will not retain it's shape and will not be as springy and firm. If you are just starting out- these are the way to go and I have some synthetic brushes that have lasted a long time- but if you plan getting a ton of wear and are hard core go for the real deal.
5. #8 round and 1/2 inch flat are great starter brushes and will not disappoint if you just want to dabble with water color.

 Happy creating! Psst If you want to read more in this non art school series- click here.


Christine D. | The Plumed Nest said...

oh good to know. i always think about doing watercolors because i think it is more difficult to mess up. such good info about the brushes, i never thought about WHY you mind need an actual watercolor brush, i thought it was just related to the brush strokes.

Hildi said...

Thanks, I've had a couple of watercolour projects completely ruined by running water. I think I will invest in a pair of natural hair brushes!

Unknown said...

Brilliant tips! Getting the hang of watercolour is hard to me x

Katrina Sophia Blog

Kelly Brito said...

Oh, thank you for those! I seriously love painting but have no idea of what I'm doing. Even thought about going back to school for this (Arts school).

Melissa said...

Thank you for these tips! So helpful as I am still new at working with watercolors! Such a fun medium to work with!

Krugthethinker said...

Whoa, I am definitely bookmarking this! Thank you for posting this series! I am having a blast playing with painting, but I so appreciate some guidance with supplies!

Moongirl said...

This is a great post with very useful information. I had a hard time figuring out brushes and am still in that phase as I'm very new to painting as of just last November. I'm a pencil/marker gal. Love the watercolour and so I got a pamphlet on brush choices but it doesn't explain reasons for each as you do. I bought an awesome round natural hair then went cheaper and got a set of taklon ones for those I won't use as often. I'm learning as I go along and having a great time!