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Types of Oil Paint Brushes

by Maria Haider 29 Sep 2021

Oil painting is a painting process with pigments mixed with the drying oil used as a binder on a hard surface. The paint pigments can be thinned by mixing turpentine. The paint brushes are the tools that are used for the painting to spread the paint on the canvas. It helps move the paint on the canvas in directional ways and creates textures and variation in the pigment shades. There are a variety of brushes available, and each serves a particular purpose in the process of painting. This article will tell you about the types of brushes for oil painting and how you can select the right size and style for your upcoming project.

Oil Paint Brushes

Natural Brushes Vs Synthetic Brushes

The brushes are mainly divided into two types; one type of brush is made using natural fibers like hog, squirrel, pony, or sable hairs. The other type uses synthetic fiber material, which is made to mimic the animal’s natural hair properties.

Natural Brushes Vs Synthetic Brushes

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Types of Brushes By The Shape Of the Bristle

The paint brushes come in various shapes of bristle, which is bushy that is used for painting. Some popular brushes are filbert, flat, round, bright and fan-shaped, which we will explain in the following article.

Types of Brushes By The Shape Of the Bristle


This type of brush is considered very versatile and widely used by painters for almost every style. It has an oval shape which is a good combination of a round and flat stroke brush. Filbert paint brush is usually used to mix the pigment thoroughly.



Round brushes are used for making fine textures and detailing in the painting. It also comes in large sizes.


The flat brushes are handy to paint the sharp edges of the details in a painting. The synthetic flat brushes are recommended as the natural hair brushes slipped off the rim of the brush handle by frequent usage. The wider flat brush is perfect for covering larger areas of paint with consistency.

Flat Brush


The bright brush is flat and is usually used to move oil paint on the surface; its short bristle stays sturdy and bends less than longer bristles. Brights are good brushes to avoid mixing and smudging colours on the painting.

Fan Brush

Fan brushes are most suitable to paint the softer textures or details in oil painting. For example, the artist prefers to use fan brushes to paint fur, grass, hair details and remove the sharp strokes on larger areas, where needed.

Fan Brush

Large Flat

Large flat brushes are recommended to make the base of the painting and spread the paint on a broader surface. In addition, the large flat brushes can easily do the sky and background surface treatment.

Fan Brush

Angular Brush

Angular brushes are mainly used to paint precise details and develop a unique type of stroke in a painting. It is available in various angles, and edge cuts to explore the possibilities of painting techniques.

Soft brushes

The soft brushes are also known as mop brushes and used for blending and removing the paint strokes. Bigger sizes of mop brushes are recommended for varnishing, glazing and blending of a painting process.

Sizes Of Brushes

Paint brushes come in different sizes of 0,1,2,3,4 etc., and every brand has its standard of sizes. However, it is recommended to look at the measurement of the bristle rather than relying on the numbers.

Sizes Of Brushes

Brush Handle

The brush handles of oil painting are usually longer and wider as compared to the watercolour brushes. The long handles allow you to distance yourself and the surface and help you see the image entirely.

Brush Handle

Round Off

There are many varieties of painting brushes available online and in brick and mortar stores. We are focusing on the oil paint brushes in this article. We discuss the types, sizes, and shapes of brushes mainly used in oil painting and the purpose and quality of a specific brush.

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