Before we start looking at the various kinds of paint brushes used for acrylic painting, it would be good to understand the medium, which is acrylic paints. Acrylic paints are synthetic paints. They are made using a polyethylene-based plastic. This synthetic material dries off after some time to a permanent durable state. Pigments are suspended in this material and so we get various colors and shades of acrylic paints. These paints were developed during the 1940s. But, today the technology of developing paintbrushes for acrylic paints is really emerging and one can buy affordable and quality paintbrushes. Acrylic paints can be used as water based paints by mixing maximum 30 percent of water, or can be used as oil based paints too by mixing solvents.
To find the best brushes for painting, one needs a bit of experimenting. And only by some R & D, can one say that certain type of brushes are the best ones for them. Hence, in the beginning you will need to experiment with different kinds of brushes till you figure out what suits you the best.
Materials of Brushes
There are various different kinds of art brush materials available. They can be divided into two main categories, which is the natural art brushes and synthetic art brushes. Natural art brushes come in Russian sable hair, squirrel hair, pure red sable hair and bristles. Synthetic art brushes come in two types. One are the white synthetic hair brushes and other are the orange synthetic brushes.
Types of Art Brushes
There are various types of paint brushes. For acrylic painting you will need at least some basic brushes. You will need a round brush, a flat brush and a liner brush. These are the minimum required brushes. A round brush is the basic brush and can be used for various purposes. Choose one which has a fine tip and holds its elasticity. A liner is good for adding fine details, while a flat one will help you fill up large areas faster. Apart from these brushes you can also invest in mop, filberts and fan art brushes. Try to buy brushes which have a long handle, so that they allow you to see the paper surface easily when you are painting.
Budget Brushes & Beginner's Brushes
Natural art brushes tend to be finer and hold more paint and give a smoother effect on paper. However, they are high on maintenance. But, today the technology has helped to develop some really great quality synthetic art brushes, which retain paint and don't drip. This makes painting with them more predictable. Also, these brushes are easier to maintain. These brushes are cheap and easy to replace. So, if you are beginner to acrylic painting then buy few white synthetic art brushes and few orange synthetic art brushes. Work with them for a month or so and then try out the natural hair art brushes.
Care for Brushes
Natural art brushes are much more delicate than synthetic ones, and you will need to take extra care of them to preserve them. Here are some tips on care for art brushes that will help you keep them in a good condition. Whenever in between painting keep soaking your paint brushes, for this purpose use a soak brush holder. This holder helps to suspend the brushes in water without putting pressure on the hair. Also, keep wiping the brushes clean, once you are done with them. Twice a week wash them with soapy water. And once in a month apply a drop of lard oil on each paint brush and let it soak for few hours. Then wash them with soapy water and wipe them clean.
So, as a beginner go with synthetic art brushes for acrylic paints. Because, acrylic paints are synthetic in nature and can easily wear off the natural brushes. Once you are confident with acrylic painting style consider using some natural art brushes. But, do follow the above care instructions to keep them in good shape.