View Full Version : What's a fan brush for?

08-29-2004, 03:01 PM
What's a fan brush used for? Are there special techniques which it is particularly good for rendering? Just wondering, because I've seen these brushes, but don't own one, and I'm not sure what I would do with it if I did have one.

I mean brushes like this one:


08-29-2004, 03:20 PM
I think they're originally intended for blending passages in oil paint. As you can tell from their shape you could use them for the unique mark they leave in any paint of course. I bought one to have a look and I really don't have a need for it but I'm hoping that in landscape work it might see a use at some point in the future.

So basically I think they're a 'special effect' brush that the average painter would use as often as that special effect would be needed, so maybe try it if you can think of something specific you might use it for, otherwise I wouldn't bother.


08-29-2004, 03:24 PM
A fan brush is a blending brush for oils and sometimes watercolor. Not sure if you'll find much use for it with acrylics, except for washes.

08-29-2004, 03:44 PM
The fan brush is mainly used for oil painting. Not sure of too many ways to use it with acrylics, but I did notice that they're great for making evergreen trees. If it's not too expensive, you may want to get it and try it out; you never know, it may work for you.


08-29-2004, 06:06 PM
Aside for blending, it can be used to render palm tree leaves. Artist Robert Butler (http://www.fl-ag.com/butler/tutorials.htm) used it extensively on his paintings.

08-29-2004, 06:14 PM
Thanks for pointing him out, Romell. I never knew how much you could use the fan brush with acrylics. I may pick one up!


Richard Saylor
08-29-2004, 06:25 PM
Try to watch Bob Ross' Joy of Painting program on public TV. He uses a fan brush in all sorts of special rendering techniques and makes it look like fun. I have one for watercolor but almost never use it. Many watercolorists outdo Bob Ross himself in the use of rendering tricks, and they may use a fan brush for grass, palm fronds, pine needles, and all sorts of stuff. Unfortunately it is often not very difficult to detect the use of fan brush trickery, such as the tell-tale pattern of fan-brush-grass.

08-29-2004, 06:30 PM
I use mine for watercolors, but I have one that I used to use in acrylics. I used it mostly for grasses and certain types of trees. It is good for adding highlights to certain things like trees, the tops of houses etc....

08-30-2004, 07:07 AM
I have three fan brushes, two old, and one new. I use the old ones for making cloud layers and trails, and laying reflections in water. They’re best used if you thin the acrylic paint to almost a inky liquid. I use the new one for for palm tree fronds and laying foothills and grassy areas.
A fan brush is one of the most useful brushes I own. They’re also great for blending depth lines