• Annie Mason

Let's Talk Art Supplies Part Two

This post will be my personal thoughts and recommendations on BRUSHES and PAPER.

Once again, because I work with watercolor the emphasis will be on that medium.

* Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and you purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Let's start with brushes. One of the most distinctive aspects of watercolor brushes is the hair. The most popular choices are:

  • natural hair - goat, squirrel, hog, and sable (the best of the best and BIG $$$)

  • synthetic - this was once the lower end of desire but now have the water retention and flexibility of natural hair products and a much lower cost.


  1. Round: A round brush is the most popular for watercolorists because of their versatility. They have a round ferrule (the metallic part that holds the head of the brush) and a rounded point when wet, which can create fine or thick lines, making round brushes good for painting wide areas as well as tiny details.

  2. Flat: A flat brush has a flat ferrule and a straight edge and is usually square, but it can also be a rectangular shape. Most strokes done with a flat brush will have a straight edge .

  3. Bright: A bright brush is the same as a flat brush but is curved inward at the tip, so it's a bit shorter and springier.

  4. Filbert: Filbert brushes have a flat ferrule and are oval shaped; they are often used to paint foliage.

  5. Fan: A fan brush works well for dry brushing, where you want only a little paint on the brush, to apply roughly and loosely. To load a fan brush with paint for dry brushing techniques.

  6. Angle: Depending on the angle you hold the brush, the angular brush may work more like a round brush than a flat. Because they are so versatile, they are one of my favorite watercolor brushes to use.

  7. Mop: Mop brushes have lots of soft hair that will hold a large quantity of water and are good for painting washes in large areas; they are usually made from squirrel or goat hair.

  8. Rigger: The rigger brush was originally used for lettering and will work great for anything that requires thin lines like grass.

Note: This list looks overwhelming but it would be wise to start with fewer brushes. A lot of brushes come in sets of the most common types. This would do you well as an artist, as Phil Davies notes in this article: Simplify Your Materials List and Win !

[Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This link does not cost you anything]

Here is my recommendation for a watercolor brush set from Amazon:

Royal Brush Manufacturing Royal & Langnickel 12-piece brush set.

Watercolor Paper

Let's finish up by briefly talking about PAPER. My favorite brand is Strathmore 400 lb. Cold Press It's versatile and moderately priced, and available at most craft stores. Cold Press, Hot Press, Rough; all describe the surface texture. It becomes a matter of taste when you experiment to find the one that works for you.

There are a lot of types of watercolor papers out there. But don't panic. Essentially, through using them on your artwork you will find the ones that are the best for you. So rather than type out lots of words, this artist, Makochinno touches on all the watercolor papers in a perfect summary on this YouTube video:

What is the Best Watercolor Paper? Improve Your Watercolor Painting

* Disclosure: If you click any of these links I will get an affiliate commission from Amazon. This is no cost to you. My opinion on these watercolor papers are my own.


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