We know there are many types of paintbrushes out there, whether artists grade or even simple kids/student ones, rounded, filbert, to fan brushes. But within those types of brushes, there’s even more options to choose from like hair type to handle length, and this article has you covered for my top picks of flat brushes for acrylic painting.
If you’re just starting out in acrylics, it can be a bit overwhelming standing in the paintbrush aisle at the art store, with a huge selection of paint brushes spread out before you. The wide selection even makes me dizzy sometimes! So I’ve compiled my recommended flat brushes for you guys. Don’t forget to check out my other articles for your Acrylic Painting Guide. Enjoy!
Nicpro 10 Piece Flat Brush Set
Not only is this set simple and elegant, but it comes with 10 brushes & sizes to chose from! I personally love the modern grayish black color, and this set is definitely on my list. These are universal brushes because not only do they work with acrylics, but they’re great for watercolors, oils, gouaches, and even body painting.
This set is great for beginners and students, but they are of high quality material, perfect for artists too. The bristles are soft synthetic taklon, and secured with high quality aluminum ferrules. I love that the handles are birch wood, looks fancy.
They’re very easy to clean and maintain. Simply clean the brushes with warm water immediately after use or follow paint manufacturer’s instructions. They are guaranteed to last! What’s neat about this set, is that if you’re not 100% satisfied with it, the company will refund you or replace it with no questions asked. Not many companies are willing to do that, so it only makes this set much more valuable.
Hairs: Premium Taklon
Handle: Birch Wood
Media: Acrylic, Oil, Watercolor, Gouache
10 PAINT BRUSHES:
Flat: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
These flat acrylic paintbrushes are smooth, blending, and feathering. The synthetic hairs are better for textural effects, clouds, and leaves on trees, so you can achieve anything you want for your project.
May customers loved this set. They really like the length of the handles and how easy they are to use. Buyers claim the brushes are of great quality and last a long time. Easy cleaning and care. What one user stated was that they love how easily the brush glides on the canvas, almost like silk.
Pearl White 12 Piece Flat Head Brush Set
This is another great set that I highly recommend. These brushes are high quality nynol, and have a great paint holding ability. They are extremely versatile in sizes so you can get all those details and special moves on your painting. This is a great set for professionals, artists, students, beginners, adults, and even kids.
This set is made from high grade imported Nylon, which has great liquid holding ability. They are soft and smooth blending with high-grade material which give you the perfect outcome for your painting or project.
I like this set because it’s very sturdy and durable. The short wooden handles give you the perfect grip. Super easy to clean too! Just clean the brushes right after use by soaking in lukewarm with or without soap. Do not use hot water! Gently reshape the bristles with fingers, let them dry and do not rest the brushes on their hairs, then settle in room-temperature.
One buyer said they are shaped well enough to do fine lines on paintings, and it’s priced great. Other stated this set lasted a long time for them, and that they were very easy to clean and store. I would recommend this Nylon set for anyone who needs a variety of sizes for flat brushes.
ZEM Brush Chungking Deluxe Hog Bristle Artist Brush Set
This set is one of the strongest white hog bristle out there, in my opinion. I have this set and it’s lasted me so long! It actually comes from the Chinese city of Chungking. The bristles are double-boiled so they are not too hard and stiff, and to give them extra spring and longer life. Master brush makers is a small family owned factory since 1905 and their products are very reliable.
The shape of these bristles are even made by hand and constructed from the finest interlocked hog bristle brushes made anywhere in the world. This is their specialty and consistent quality is seen in the construction of these series. The quality of this set is definitely something you want to consider when looking around for brushes. This company actually has a reputation for their excellent quality materials. It’s what got me to try out this brand, and let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed!
This set is also recommended as a great dry brush for ceramics. I like the short handle also because it’s easier to maneuver and control the strokes. Seamless, nickle-plated brass ferrules ensure durability and are mounted on beautiful two tone red and silver handle. Here are some specs for this set:
- Brush Head- Interlocked Pro Quality Stiff White Bristle Chungking Flats
- Handle- Silver + Red 140mm Standard Short Handle
- Use- Oil and Acrylic for Art Use- Best Drybrush for Ceramics
- Interlocked Bristle- This Premium Bristle has Firm Spring for Best Control During Painting.
- 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed – Built in USA
Almost all reviews I researched claimed this was the best hog bristle brush they’ve ever used. They stated that some brushes tend to be very limp, but this set was perfect for painting on wood, and anything else related to acrylic painting. They loved the variety of sizes this set offered and the durability. I highly recommend this hog bristle set. You honestly won’t be disappointed.
What Are Some Common Brushes for Acrylic Painting?
There are so many different types of paint brushes out there, so I’ve compiled a few of the most common that students and artists use. Here we go:
The Flat Brush- A flat brush is, as the name would suggest, one where the bristles are arranged so that the brush is quite wide but not very thick. The length of the bristles can vary, with some flat brushes having long and some very short bristles. (The latter is also called a square brush.) When buying a flat brush, look for one where the bristles have a spring to them, or snap back when you bend them gently.
Not only will a flat brush create a broad brushstroke, but if you turn it so that you’re leading with the narrow edge, it’ll produce thin brushstrokes. A short flat brush is ideal for small, precise brush marks.
A flat brush’s paint carrying capacity is determined by the bristles it has and by their length. A short-haired, synthetic-bristle flat brush will hold less paint than a long-haired, mixed or natural-hair brush. The flat brush in the photo has hog hair, which holds paint well and, being stiff, is ideal for leaving brush marks in paint should you wish to do so.
The Round Brush- A round paintbrush is the most traditional brush shape, and what most people imagine when they think “art paintbrush.” A decent round brush will come to a lovely sharp point, enabling you to paint fine lines and detail with it, especially if it’s a brush made with top-quality Kolinsky sable hair. Look for one that’s got a good spring in the bristles, where they snap straight when you take the pressure off the brush.
The round brush in the photo has synthetic hair in it, and didn’t have a very fine point even when it was brand-new. But such a brush is useful for creating broad brushstrokes as it’s very soft and holds a good quantity of fluid paint. Always consider what you intend to do with the brush; don’t have unrealistic expectations of it or you’ll just frustrate yourself—and blame your tools for poor painting.
The Filbert Brush- A filbert is a narrow, flat brush with hairs that come to a rounded point. Used on its side, a filbert gives a thin line; used flat it produces a broad brushstroke; and by varying the pressure as you apply the brush to canvas, or flicking it across, you can get a tapering mark.
The Liner Brush- A rigger or liner brush is a thin brush with extremely long bristles. These may come to a sharp point but can have a flat or square tip. (If angled, it is often called a sword brush.) Rigger brushes are great for producing fine lines with a consistent width, making them ideal for painting thin branches on trees, boat masts, or cat’s whiskers. They’re also good for signing your name on a painting.
The Fan Brush- As seen above, a fan brush is a brush with a thin layer of bristles spread out by the ferrule. A fan brush is commonly used to blend colors but is also perfect for painting hair, grasses, or thin branches, although you need to be careful not to make identical or repetitive marks that look unnatural. Possible uses for a fan brush include:
- Stippling (spreading out small dots or short dashes)
- Highlights in hair, as it helps produce the illusion of individual hairs
- Smoothing and blending out brushstrokes
- Painting a tree or grass
The Angled Brush- This type of painting brush has an angled or slanted tip, which is why they are sometimes also known as slanted brushes. A slanted tip for the bristles is especially useful for curves and being able to create lines and shapes that vary in thickness and coverage. If you like the flexibility of being able to go from thin to thick with just one brush, this is the brush for you. Angled paint brushes can also be more comfortable for many artists who are painting on a canvas upright on an easel, as there is sometimes a learning curve there since most of us learn to draw and paint while sitting down at a table at first!
The Palette Knife- And lastly, although it’s not a brush but used by most artists, Palette knives are technically not actually brushes at all, but they are a very common and popular way to apply paint to canvas. Many artists use palette knives in a variety of different ways to create different textures and effects in their artwork.
The palette knife shown here and in the video at the end of this article are made from plastic. Plastic knives will work well for beginners and for your first experiences in exploring acrylic paints, but if you really love using them, it would be wise to invest in a metal palette knife.
The advantage to a metal palette knife is they are generally much easier to clean. Metal palette knives are also much less likely to snap and break if too much force is accidentally applied to them.
You can use palette knives to create different textures, spread paint, and build up various layers. Palette knives are most popular to use on canvas, because the paint tends to be applied very thickly. You can certainly use a palette knife in your art journals – just be sure that you allow for ample drying time to ensure pages do not stick together! You may also wish to use a lesser amount of paint so that the drying time is not as long.
Don’t forget to check out my other articles and all of my top picks in my Recommended Products Page. Until next time!