On last week's creative daily blog post, i went over the basics of paint brushes. This week i wanted to discuss the types of hairs out there and their uses. Often they are classified into natural, bristle, and synthetic. Each type has different properties and the prices vary from inexpensive to very expensive. The type of medium you are using determines the type of hair you should use
Natural hairs are from animals. The prices on these brushes is determined by the "grade" of the animal with Kolinsky Sable being one of the most expensive but considered one of the best.
- sable - oil, watercolor
- squirrel - watercolor, lettering
- badger - oil
- camel (not actually from camels but usually a blend of other animal hairs) - watercolor, tempura, lettering
- sabeline - watercolor, lettering
- ox - watercolor, lettering
- mongoose - acrylic, oil
- Kolinsky Sable - oil, watercolor
Most of these types of hairs are good for oils & watercolors but not great for acrylics.
Hog Bristles are often called China bristles as they come from china. These bristles are stiff and stronger than the soft hairs. They can be bleached or unbleached. They are good for oils and acrylics and are less expensive to the soft hairs. i have a ton of these types of brushes and find they are great for washes and glazes. i find them at the home improvement stores for really cheap.
Synthetics are man-made, usually either from nylon or polyester. Often they are dyed and baked to make them more absorbent and softer. You will often hear the name "Taklon" associated with synthetic brushes. Synthetic brushes are less prone to damage from paints or solvents. They are easier to keep clean. They can better withstand the caustic nature of acrylic paints so are a good choice for this medium.