CONFUSED? Different Types Of WATERCOLOR BRUSHES, Their Uses & How To Choose Them

CONFUSED? Different Types Of WATERCOLOR BRUSHES, Their Uses & How To Choose Them

– Have you ever felt super overwhelmed by the huge variety of
water color brushes? They are different shapes and sizes and you’re wondering
what water color brush do you actually need? Because in this video we are going to talk about all the different
shapes of water color brushes and how to use them but also how to choose the right
brush for yourself? But before we start talking about all the different
types of water color brushes let’s talk about the anatomy
of a water color brush so you know exactly what
I’m talking about later. Now, one of the important parts of a brush is the handle as you don’t
only hold it while you paint but because it also gives you a lot of information about the size, brand, the series and
sometimes even the shape. The handles are usually
made out of plastic or wood which can also
be coated with varnish. With some cheaply made
brushes you might run into the issue that the varnish will chip over time which might end up falling into your painting while working on it. And this is already one of the reasons to stay away from them, personally. On top of the handle we have the ferrule that is usually made out of metal. The ferrule can be either round or flat. At the top we have the heel. This is where the bristles
end at the ferrule. And at the bottom we have the crimp that secures the ferrule onto the handle. Make sure you pay attention to the crimp very
carefully because sometimes there are brushes where they don’t secure the both pieces together properly, so you can just detach them. Sometimes it just falls
down so keep that in mind. Last thing we have the head of the brush and it’s bristles which
are divided into the tip or toe and the belly. The belly of the brush is the widest and biggest part of its bristles. The bigger the belly, the more water and pigment it can hold. One of the most important
parts of the brush is the tip or toe. Here you want to look for a brush that has a super sharp tip
that can make very fine and tiny lines. Brushes of poor quality usually don’t have a fine tip which makes it difficult to not only control the shape but also to create details, making the brush versatile as it could be. Now, you might wonder what
is actually the difference between water color
brushes and other brushes for like acrylics or oil paints? Water color brushes aren’t only shorter in their handle size compared to, for example, brushes for
oil or acrylic paints, but they also have bristles
that are a lot softer as you not only want the water and paint to be gently and evenly
applied in multiple layers but because you also work on paper which can be damaged otherwise. A water color brush basically acts like a sponge that
soaks up water and paint while releasing it slowly onto the paper in order to create smooth washes. I also got a ton of questions about whether you can
use water color brushes for any other paint like acrylics or oils? Now, if you use synthetic brushes you technically can use them
for acrylics, for example, but high quality synthetic brushes that are made especially for water colors can be damaged very easily when you paint with acrylics, for example, because acrylic paint
contains different chemicals. You will have to clean your
brush a lot more properly and you might damage them by painting on rough surface, canvases and just by simply
using different techniques with the brush. If you use water color brushes made out of natural hair I would
stay away from acrylics altogether as they’re
already pretty expensive and should be used only for water colors. Now, the most common water color brush is the round brush. They are called round brushes because they have a round ferrule. The bristles have a fine point and are usually fuller at the belly. This brush cannot only
hold a good amount of water and paint but it also allows you to paint in a variety of stroke
widths from super thin to broad and it also
allows you to fill in areas with paint, making it
a very versatile brush. But the round brush also
comes in different sizes. It can be small and large. The small, round brush
is great for narrow lines and dots as it not only
holds very little water due to the short bristles, but it also has a really fine point which I great for super small details and miniature painting. But there are also super big round brushes that are also called Mop brushes. They hold a lot more water and paint which makes them great for big washes of paint and water. The main difference to
a regular round brush is that they usually have a bigger belly and not necessarily need
to have a super fine tip, as the main purpose of a Mop brush is to fill a large area
with paint or water. Another most common water color brush is the Flat. Compared to round brushes, Flat brushes have a flat
ferrule and flat bristles. They’re not only great
for straight, thin lines, large broad strokes and details but they’re also great for big, even washes by covering large areas with paint or water. Since the bristles are flat you can also use water color techniques
such as glazing. Now, there are also different variations of Flat brushes. For example, Bright, or also called short Flat brushes. A Bright brush has wider
and shorter bristles which can hold less water, but it gives you more control with the slightly stiffer brush strokes allowing you to paint short, chunky strokes while keeping their shape. Another version of a Flat is the Angled brush. This type of brush is
made in a similar way to a regular Flat but
their hair is aligned to create an angle. This brush is not only great for creating washes of paint but for creating thin lines, sharp edges and other small details. But you can also use this type of brush for fun techniques. For example, you can load up only one side of the wet brush with
paint and then allowing it to softly run into the wet
area it creates next to it. With this brush you have
a little bit more control as you have with a Dagger
or Sword brush, for example. A Dagger or a Sword brush is similar to the Angled brush but
it has longer bristles that evenly create a curved, rather a sharp edge. You can also use it for creating washes, thin lines and details while being able to hold more water and paint compared to the Angled brush. And then we also have water color brushes that are a little bit in between, they are round but also flat. And these types of brushes are called Filbert brushes. They have a flat ferrule
but a round shaped end. It’s not a very common water color brush as it’s used more in oil
and acrylic painting, but you can also use it to fill in areas similar to a Flat, create petals or other round shapes as it is a lot more difficult
to create hardy edges. Another more extreme version
is the Cat Tongue brush. Besides their similar
shape to Filbert brushes and the ability to fill
in areas with paint. They also have a very fine tip which allows you to paint small details. Besides all these types
you can also find brushes that are called Liner,
Rigger or Script brushes. They’re not meant for
washes or filling in areas but rather for lines and details. Compared to a regular small, round brush, Liner brushes have extremely long bristles
which makes it possible for them to hold a lot
more water and paint. This means it gives you the ability to paint a long, steady line in one go which can require a little bit of practice as the Liners can be difficult to control if you’re new to this type of brush. This way you can add details, grass or other thin lines more easily without loading up your brush with paint every two seconds. Last but not least we have the Fan brush. The Fan brush has flattened bristles in a round shape which purpose is to rather move the paint to create special textures or details. It can be used for dry
brushing to create grass or other texture. And when the brush is wet it creates several mini brushes giving you even more options to create texture and
details in your painting. But there are also other brushes that give you the option
to create cool effects and they’re called Rake brushes. Rake, rake, Rake brushes, yeah. You can get them as a
Flat or as a Fan brush. They basically have
additional longer bristles that stand out that can
create multiple thin lines while painting grass to make them look even more natural. I also found that those Rake brushes can hold their detailed shape a lot better while being wet compared
to the regular Fan brush. And usually when you
buy one of those brushes they are protected by a
coating and a plastic cap, so they won’t get damaged
during the shipment. So before you can use them simply remove the plastic
cap and carefully rinse off the coating with water. And then just dab it with a paper towel and then it’s ready to be used. And because there’s so many different water color brushes to choose from from different brands, from super cheap to super expensive, it’s really important
to look into the quality of each of them. So how do you identify good quality and what should you look
for in water color brushes? So before you decide buying a brush, check the following points. To identify a good quality brush you want to look out for the three main parts I mentioned earlier, the bristles, the ferrule and the handle. Make sure that the handle and the ferrule are connected properly. Sometimes you might notice that the handle is not even correctly attached nor is it straight and
the ferrule might not even hold the bristles properly. Besides loosing hair, another common thing I noticed in poor quality brushes
is that their bristles are not even correctly shaped. They have random hair standing out or even have uneven edges which makes me really wonder why these brushes even
exist on the market? Now, if you’re just starting out you don’t need five
million different brushes in different sizes and shapes. So I personally would start
with a regular round brush with a fine tip and maybe get two or three different sizes, a small, a medium and a large brush. Now, if you’ll notice that it takes you a long time to spread the paint or water across a whole page of
paper because you want to paint a galaxy or something like that, you can always get a Mop brush or a brush or a big Flat
and use that for that or use other techniques
that I talked about in the beginning. Now, keep in mind that the numbering cannot only be different
across multiple brands but also within one single brand, so there is no real
standard numbering system. So I will look into one range of brushes and pick accordingly. Also, don’t worry about
natural hair brushes when you’re just starting out because they’re not only super expensive but they also need a lot more care. And it’s a lot easier to destroy them when you’re just starting out. I ruined a lot of brushes
when I started out so please don’t do this mistake. Now, water color brushes made out of natural hair tend to
hold more water and paint because the hair structure is different and so they can hold onto
more paint and water. But nowadays there are
more and more brands that make super high
quality synthetic brushes that can do the same job. Now, there are more
differences between synthetic and natural hair brushes
but this is a topic I could cover in another video. Let me know if you have
any other questions and comments down below. Here you can find other videos that will help you take
your water color game to the next level. I really hope you enjoyed this video and find it helpful. Thank you guys so much for watching. Have a wonderful day and I will see you on my next video, bye.


  • makoccino says:

    Happy Saturday! I'm back with a highly requested video! I really hope this will answer some of your questions! There were a ton of others but I didn't want to make this video too long so I will cover more questions in future videos! But let me know if you have any specific questions I should cover next!

  • Vanitha K says:

    I love your vids โค๏ธ

  • Wojtek London says:

    LOVE it…obsessed with brushes so felt like ASMR video

  • Angel Anna says:

    Thank you it really helped โค๏ธ

  • Kat Grabowska says:

    2:46 ๐Ÿ˜

  • Shrezeel 56 says:


  • Shrezeel 56 says:

    Your all videos are always inspiring for beginners as I am . And today by showing difference between brushes it literally helped me a lot…… THANK YOU

  • Doowop Dinosaur says:

    Hey Mako, this was super useful! Maybe one day you can test out all kinds of waterbrushes and see which one is the best? A lot of waterbrushes are quite bad, in my opinion, and a waste of money. Also, because you mentioned synthetic and real hair brushes: I would also like to know more about vegan (high quality) watercolour paper. Right now the best brand I own is arches, but they use gelatin in their paper. Is there anything comparable that's vegan? Maybe one day you can find out.

  • Ciel ์•„๋ฏธ says:

    Dieses Video war sehr hilfreich ๐Ÿ™‚

  • monch boye says:

    I did not know you could know so much about brushes haha

  • Poisonous Vixen says:

    This video helped me too much. Actually, my flat brush is something that I don't use for watercolor, I actually used it for my highlighting and calligraphy (because I don't have a pen for calligraphy๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

  • Fun with Nuba says:

    Are gouache brushes and water colour brushes same?!?!

  • KiDuriTang says:

    Love this video! โ™ฅ๏ธ

    I have a question about synthetic brushes with gouache. Can the same be applied to gouache, as in will it be somewhat damaging if I'm using it more thicker than watercolor?

  • Mackenzie Breanne says:

    That huge brush is so satisfying to watch paint!

  • Julie Booker says:

    Thanks for the great video. It's helped me to understand what to look for in a watercolour brush.

  • Isabelle Scales says:

    I spilled some water on my watercolor painting yesterday. I have no motivation to retouch or finish it right now

  • DarthVaderAnakin says:

    Why so beautiful?

  • Mary Prasad says:

    Very informative video! I love your accent ๐Ÿ™‚ Just a small note: when pronouncing bristle, don't say the "t" – it sounds more like "brissel".

  • Lubna Khan says:

    Kindly make a video on watercolor numbering series of different brands. They seems confusing too

  • PrettyKooJungmooo says:

    This video is so helpful <3 Thanks you Makoccino <3

  • Sajimon Joseph says:

    It's really helpful . Thank you so much for this video

  • Art By TessieJo says:

    Thank you!!!

  • Julia F. says:

    The round white brush looks really good. It looks like you could hold a lot of water and make fine lines with. I assume it is a Kolinsky brush? Where did you get it? What is the name of the brush? (Btw I'm from Germany, too ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  • Heather Stearns says:

    Super helpful! Iโ€™m excited to try a fan brush! I will mark this video for watching again!

  • Rabia Abid says:

    Anyone who uses the same brushes for each kind of painting..
    No only me, okay ๐Ÿ˜‚
    Loves โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

  • alfreds111 says:

    Sehr lehrreich!

  • Jarin Akter says:


  • Shelly Yummy says:

    This is better than SuperRaeDazzle i see her videos she keeps buying stuff
    And There's one video that hit me and made me hate her it was named "Tips for Poor artist"
    Thats really offensive cause she always buy stuff

  • HYPER ZAP says:

    Wow mako,so cool #makoficationsquad

  • arianne baradas says:

    Hi mako!!..๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜im a very fan of your videos…because i also love arts…im from philippines…and i see you art room video and you have many watercolors and papers that you didnt use…im only 14years old and doesnt have enough money to buy arts stuff…im so jealous of you art supplies because you have many…hope you will notice me…๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

  • nalrya says:

    Tutorial idea: calligraphy with a liner brush! That small example looked so gorgeous! โ™ฅ

  • Rashida Zubair says:

    Thank you 4 giving us info.โ˜บ

  • PinoyGirl says:

    This is what I wake up at 4am for

  • noony no says:

    The brush strands from my brush keep falling out ๐Ÿ—ฟwhy.

  • Stephanie Yu says:

    when your painting on wood do you have to do anything before or after u paint it?

  • WatchuDrawing says:

    Great breakdown of the different types of brushes. I wasn't sure of the abilities of some of them, but you explained it so we'll and the examples helped too. Thank you!

  • Rayna Wasif says:

    You should try watercolours from IKEA!

  • Artzy Fartzy says:

    I Canโ€™t help but think putting together all this info and research about watercolor brushes was A LOT of work. Thanks for putting in the work for us tho๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿปthis vid had some helpful tips๐Ÿ˜‰

  • luna star says:

    Do you come from Nederland

  • Neel Shah says:


  • Kashish Chandrakar says:

    Hello there… Can you please explain how to paint the face? Please make a video about it

  • Sonya Sever says:

    i don't know how u did it, but these macro shootings are pure ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ especially ones with paints

  • Reema Singh says:

    It was such a helpful video๐Ÿ˜š๐Ÿ˜š loved it๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  • Shah Bhamini says:

    How to make man face

  • Francesco Paolo Ardizzone says:

    Thank you for the informative video, Makoccino!

  • Elton says:

    Another great video!

  • bl _op says:

    Wow! This video is really useful because everytime i went to a art store idk what kind of brush i should buy๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Astra Allurity says:

    Lmao ive been painting for almost 6 years
    All of my brushes are synthetic and i use all of my brushes for both acrylic and watercolor ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Dai Ryuu says:

    Thank u for this!! I've been wanting to invest in a good quality brush for a while now! So now I know the guidelines to follow!! Thanks!!! ^^

  • areeba imtiaz says:

    Can you give a tutorial on how to make a watercolor hummingbird?

  • saluja ahamed says:

    You look really beautiful ๐Ÿ˜˜

  • Mohammad Sameer says:

    Can u please make a logo design with watercolour for bfa applied art

  • Jhee Grande says:

    wow thank u. Now i realized i just bought a set of acrylic paintbrushes and not a watercolor one. Ughhhhh my dumass. Now I'm super broke.

  • Jhee Grande says:

    wow thank u. Now i realized i just bought a set of acrylic paintbrushes and not a watercolor one. Ughhhhh my dumass. Now I'm super broke.

  • Pilar Terrones says:

    So useful.I didnโ€™t know the use of each brush like the filbert.Now I know!

  • Angela Em says:

    Aaaaah brushes…….my mother is an artist so we have lots in the house. I noticed that a good quality brush with nice bristles, a fine tip and a firm wooden handle will reward you in so many ways, that after a while I started thinking their price is actually cheap considering how practical they are…I am a natural hater of synthetic brushes, we don't see eye to eye he he Also if you consider brushes a family, the fan brush would be the punk rock cousin with the tomahawk ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Thank you so much for this crystallization of watercolor brush experience! ๐Ÿ–ผ๐ŸŽจ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿปโœจ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

  • Khushbu artworks says:

    Nice tips

  • sโ€™mores says:


  • Ashley Wang says:

    Well, I just bought some calligraphy brush to start with. I can find some really decent natural hair brushes for around a pound, and the slowly add on what I need when I develope my skill.๐Ÿผ

  • Cat life Fig says:

    Can you use makeup brushes????

  • StartArtSmart says:

    "Interesting Video" — As I just upgraded my brushes. And they didn't cost that much either. Because they were on sale. (by Artist Loft.) Which did not say why the handles are different colors. So this video was very useful. — "Thanks!" ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Luckarian says:

    Stupid ads, thanks for adblock

  • Nanci Valencia says:

    Hello, could you please do a video about the comparison between natural vs synthetic brushes. Thank you.

  • Purple Kitti says:

    I was holding some of my brushes during the video, and when you mentioned the ferrule coming off sometimes, I started checking mine. The ones I checked held together… until just a second ago when I popped one of them right off. >.<

  • Esther Angelica19 says:

    which brush should i use to draw a small trees?

  • Alejandra Castaรฑo says:

    I love your videos! Good information and you get to the point quickly!

  • Jane Kennedy says:

    Great review. ๐Ÿ˜Š Thank you!

  • My Art Supply Obsession says:

    This was a great info video. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Bushra Rehman says:

    Thank you for the beautiful and detailed tutorialsโค๏ธ

  • Maria Huzefa says:

    You're info is so useful I did not know anything you said in this video thank you so much

  • Everyday Theatre says:

    i feel so educated

  • Rainbow Unicorn says:

    Wow i didnโ€™t realize that i needed this so much

  • cries in cryptic says:

    im so excited to buy materials to learn to watercolor, hope i dont turn out a failure

  • Michelle Bandow says:

    02:37 The perfect upper lip!๐Ÿ˜

  • Aman Kaur says:

    Can u do a personal Q+A so we can get to know you?

  • Drawingwithalex 1 says:

    I needed this video so much

    And it really helped me a lot

  • Elizabeth Connolly says:

    great information, thanks

  • Kiera Vermeal says:

    Um… Next time you might want to separate the r and the I when writing "rigger". 7:19

  • Asangla Chang says:

    I mostly use flat and round brushes

  • Steveo Smith says:

    Hey now Iโ€™ve got the information about brushes I can pick up the right one and go for it. Ta

  • No: Six says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I love your presentation and in depth coverage of brush types! Have watched this 6 times, so far! Lol"

  • Majest Simplicatiroux says:

    Arghhh… This is is what I need! Thank you so much

  • Neon Neverglow says:

    i use a highlighter brush for makeup as a paint brush ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Tim Frey says:

    natural hair brushes also need to be carefully guarded, if you don't keep them in an airtight container, bugs can get to them.

  • Quen JUAN says:

    this channel is very informative! now i know which brushes to buy =) thank you! more power on your channel!

  • Chayanika Chaudhury says:

    Saved from confusion..phewww..thanks love from India ๐Ÿ˜

  • Sanid Safan says:

    Your phone number plzz

  • K says:

    Thank you!!

  • Pravesh Saini says:

    Who always take all your brushes but forget to change it again and again…!.

  • Sigrid Warren says:

    This video was extremely helpful, thank you taking the time to make it!

  • Zahara Haque says:

    which brush company do you think is best for beginners????

  • MaxusFox23 says:

    I recently dusted off a chinese calligraphy set I got years ago and turns out the brushes work pretty nicely with watercolors~
    So Mako, I was wondering if you'd like to try calligraphy brushes in one of your videos and give your opinion on them?

    However, if these brushes' materials conflict with any principles of yours, that's okay too so no pressure.

  • Deadslugs Li says:

    I really enjoyed and thought this video was amazing and helpful! Thank you!

  • Eliz Donovan says:

    Thank you. I needed this information. Excellent video.

  • siddharth panchal says:

    Very good information. It's so confusing, with so many types of brushes out there. Now you can narrow it down to a few. Thank you.

  • fatbox100 says:

    Bristols? Cute.

  • Hello its Zarisha says:

    Your the best ever art teacher for us. Your videos are so good. Thanks for all the good suggestions. Loves from Bangladesh๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉโคโคโค

  • michaela s and dance says:

    Your voice and facial expressions are so cute

  • christina haas says:

    Thank you so much for this video. It made the choice for me today a lot easier… I allready had a round 2, 4 and 8 and now I got myself a 6, a 12 and 2 fans ๐Ÿ™‚ just eager to try them out ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Jenny Van says:

    Hi! May I know what watercolor paint did u use in the video TvT? They are so wonderful :(((

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