View Full Version : Brush recommendation + thoughts.

Lobke Spain
11-07-2014, 12:26 PM
I see lots of beautiful works with acrylics, a medium I traded in for oils years ago. I didn't like how it dried so fast and I thought it was only apporpriate for glazing, not alla prima, basically. After I said why I didn't like acrylics a while ago, lots of ppl tried to convince me otherwise.

So after a few years of oil painting, I tried it again because if people could make beautiful works with it, maybe it was me.

So I took out my old tubes and I'm having fun with acrylics for the first time. I learned how to scumble with oil paint, this works better in acrylics because it dries faster. I learned how to mix colors better with oil paint, now blending isn't a big issue because I can easily mix an in between color quickly.

I guess it was much easier blaming the medium than me back when I started painting.

Has this happened to anyone else, that you didn't like acrylics but only came to appreciate it once you got better?


I am also looking for brush advice. I love the thickness of a bristle hog brush, I can turn it on it's side and make thick strokes and make clean round edges, but most synthetics for acrylics have this razor sharp edge? Any brush types / brands in synthetic with the shape of bristle brushes?

is there anyone who is doing acrylics with natural brushes?

would using acrylics medium instead of water help the brush from losing it's shape in water?


11-07-2014, 12:46 PM
When I started with acrylics, I was told not to use natural brushes. Acrylics are hard on brushes, and synthetic ones hold up better.

Of course, I blame the paint, the paper or canvas, the sun or the moon, LOL! But I know that it's really me that can't quite make things be the way I want them.

There is a collection of threads with excellent info on brushes here http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1363257

Happy reading and painting!

11-07-2014, 05:18 PM
Yeah, I had a similar thing. Tried painting with acrylics a few years ago but everything looked child-like cos it dried so quickly. I quit due to frustration but with my curiousity still there I spent a couple of years reading books, learning about the skill and the theory, watching videos etc. Then, when I picked up a paint brush again earlier this year I was much better. Therefore, learning definitely helps improving the painting.

With regard to brushes, I have Liquitex Freestyle brushes and they are truly awesome. Would definitely recommend them!

Lobke Spain
11-08-2014, 03:09 AM
Thank you.

11-08-2014, 09:36 AM
I love stiff hog bristle brushes in medium and larger-sized flats for sweeping strokes or for covering a lot of real estate, for instance painting skies, clouds, foliage, etc. Stiff natural bristles also work well for dry brushing and scumbling when trying to achieve softer blends and overcoming the hard-edge look. Better not to spend too much money on them (mine are Utrecht), because they start out flat, but turn into filberts before long. Recently, I discovered the size 4 filbert, Winsor and Newton Artisan brush, designed for water miscible oils, which is great for building more detailed areas when the bristle flats are too clumsy. Also handy: a Blick number 12 Studio synthetic bright, and a Robert Simmons number 8 Sapphire round blend for fine details. Other manufacturers no doubt make comparable or even better brushes.

11-08-2014, 11:22 AM
I know I reach for a filbert quite a bit in my artwork. It is a very versatile brush with a number of applications. I like that I can use it to make fine lines if needed, or to use it for broad brush strokes when I paint. I also use a fan/blender quite a bit as well for blending colors in a painting, using for some highlights and details on ocean waves or sunlight hitting trees, pine trees, grass, etc.

As for me, I have a number of Winsor and Newton Monarch brushes that I use regularly including filberts, rounds, fan/blenders, and brights (I bought these very cheap as they were on clearance at a big box arts and crafts store where I live). I have a number of Robert Simmons, Blick, and some Utrecht as well. I also have a few of the Princeton Value Paks that I still use as well. I have both synthetic and natural bristle as I like both for different applications.

Lobke Spain
11-09-2014, 06:02 AM
Thank you for the recommendations.

I am so used to letting my brushes lay down on mypalette that I managed to ruin a synthetic that hardened yesterday. But today I haven't had that happen yet.

I have been using something like W&N Monarch I think like someone mentioned, since yestyerday, Da Vinci Girgio: http://youtu.be/3FsDDnRNrEk Another benefit is that I can still use them for my oils too, and since they're synthetic I'm less affraid of them becoming soft, which was kind of an issue with the hog.

not a big fan of their hog, hog kind of hard on paper with acrylics

so I will use those for a while and see how I get along, thanks

Charlie's Mum
11-09-2014, 09:13 AM
Another benefit is that I can still use them for my oils too, and since they're synthetic

I wouldn't advise using the same brush for both mediums. Oils and acrylics don't mix! Yes, you can paint over acrylics, with oils, but not vice-versa and not using the same brush.

If you like to lay down your brush between uses, without cleaning, keep a shallow tray/saucer of water and allow the brush to lie in that - or wrap the head in moist towel.

Have you checked out the 'Umbrella thread' at the top of the forum page? Ann gave you a link to is earlier.

Lobke Spain
11-09-2014, 09:24 AM
Thank you. Yes I read a few threads in it, lots to understand about it though.

Good idea about not using the same brushes for different mediums, probably not a good idea.

Maybe I can buy a small bucket shaped item to put my brushes in, I have seen acrylics painters just leave them standing in them, I read to never let your brush stand on it's head, but maybe not such a big issue with synthetics. Shallow tray prolly more appropriate then.

11-09-2014, 09:33 AM
Letting the brushes stand in water is also my bad habit. When I was doing fabric painting, the brushes for that are very stiff to get the paint into the fibers, and they didn't seem to suffer from standing in water. Softer brushes will get misshaped though.

11-09-2014, 11:38 AM
Letting the brushes stand in water is also my bad habit. When I was doing fabric painting, the brushes for that are very stiff to get the paint into the fibers, and they didn't seem to suffer from standing in water. Softer brushes will get misshaped though.

Not necessarily! I leave mine standing in water, but use a specially designed pot that holds the brush so the brush tip doesn't actually touch the bottom of the pot, but is in the water.

11-09-2014, 11:48 AM
I don't know if they are exactly what your looking for but you might try "http://www.dickblick.com/products/princeton-catalyst-polytip-bristle-brushes/ ". They seem to have more bristles than my other synthetic bristles making them fatter (thicker edge, probably x3 times as thick as my other synth bristles). I like them a lot.

11-09-2014, 04:33 PM
If you have any warn out brushes from your oil days you can use those, just be sure to clean out any remaining remnants of the oil. Most of the time you'll want synthetic bristles, but natural hair ones are certainly ok to use as well. Mainly as long as it's not effecting the outcome of the painting negatively you can use the same brushes for oils as you do for acrylics.