Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Since I use this wonderful little tool nearly everyday, I thought it would behoove me learn more about the paintbrush. Above is a break down of how the paint brush is constructed. For most modern brushes, the hairs are held in place with glue whereas the traditional method is to hold them with wax. You should never use hot water to clean your brushes; the heat melts the glue / wax, and splays the point of the brush.


Types of Brushes


  • Round; The workhorse brush. This has a pointed tip with long, closely arranged bristles for detail work. Look for brushes with a single, cohesive tip that does not have odd hairs.
  • Spotter; (Not pictured). Looks like a Round with a shorter bristle length. Used for precision detail, freehand and eye work. This is one of the most important brushes in your collection.
  • Flat; For spreading paint quickly and evenly over a surface. Perfect for cloaks and weathering. 
  • Bright: Shorter than flats, these brushes will often have stiffer bristles. Perfect for stippling or dry brushing with softer haired brushes. 
  • Filbert: Flat brushes with domed ends Used in larger canvas style painting but can be used like a bright.
  • Fan: For blending broad areas of paint. (I don't use this brush - may be useful for weathering I suppose). 
  • Angle: Used like the Filbert, good for general painting application as well as detail work. Excellent for precision dry-brushing. 
  • Mop: A larger brush with a rounded edge for broad soft paint application. Use for laying down washes over a larger, detailed area like a tank or the scales of a dragon.
  • Rigger: round brushes with long hairs, traditionally used for painting the rigging in pictures of ships. I use these for fine, long lines. 
  • Stippler (Below): Round brush with very short hard bristles, used to add texture to flat surface     (such as fur on horses).


Most of these brushes will not be needed and are mentioned for the sake of documentation. I only use a bright, spotter, round and tapered mop. With this collection I can blend, layer, dry brush, wash and ink. Anything else I need to create I merely improvise.

What sizes do we need? If your used to Citadel's sizing then this scaling system can see a little daunting. Most previews give the actual size of the brush on screen. To find out what size you need simply hold up your old paint brush to the photo on screen to work out which size is a detail, large etc. As a general rule of thumb the number 0 or 1 will be a good size for most projects if you buy a quality brush such as the Windsor and Newton Series 7 or Raphael 8404. These brushes come with an exceptional point and can be relied upon for even fine detail work.




Click the picture for actual scale of paint brush


I use a size 0 and 1 Raphael 8404 round, a Windsor and Newton 1 Spotter for detail and fine work; a selection of Rosemary & Co Red Sable round for everyday work and I am planning on buying some pure red sable Bright's for dry brushing.

What brushes do you use? Do you have any recommendations I haven't chosen? Any brands you swear by? Please leave a comment below and share with us all!

Links for Excellent Brushes:

Raphael 8404


Rosemary & Co. 

Windsor and Newton Series 7

Da Vinci Sable





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1 comment :

  1. Great article, I love seeing what other people use. May I say, great minds think alike? ;-)

    Some people are reluctant to pay $15 =/- for a good brush but that's a big mistake. I've got a Raphael 8404 size 0 I switched to this spring and have painted close to 1,000 15mm minis since. It looks like the day it came in the mail. Amazing. It's the brush to beat.

    For the painting heraldry in 15mm, I've been using Pro Arte Series 107 Spotter 2/0. I'm not sure how it'll hold up over the long run but for tiny work, it is a gem.

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