Best Brushes For Oil Painting

several different paintbrushes in a canvas brush holder

Posted On March 24, 2019

When it comes to paint brushes it is very difficult choosing the one that will suit your needs the best and be of satisfiable quality. There are many different shapes of paint brushes and also many different materials are used in producing top quality paint brushes.

Best brushes for oil painting are definitely hog bristle brushes but you can also find synthetic bristle brushes that can be of good quality and that mimic hog bristles very well. It is important that you know the basics when choosing the paint brushes.

Handle/Ferrule/Bristles

Each brush consists of three parts. The handle, the ferrule and the bristles. The handles should be properly balanced, made of quality wood and protected with lacquer so they wouldn’t lose shape or start to flake after a certain amount of time.

You can just imagine how annoying it would be having flakes of paint form the handle on your hands after every use. that is something that would definitely interrupt me in my creative process.

The second part is the ferrule. The ferrule is the part that connects the bristles and the handle. Materials used for producing the ferrule must be corrosion resistant and strong enough to secure the bristles to the handle and also ferrule needs to keep the hairs from falling off. You need to concentrate on painting not on collecting the hairs from your painting.

The third part of the paintbrush are the bristles. Bristles can be natural or synthetic. I personally prefer using the natural ones but for those of you who do not there are also excellent alternatives in synthetic ones.

Natural bristles can be sable, hog, squirrel, mink and badger. Depending on the medium and the technique you use you will need different bristle brushes. Also, there are several different shapes of brushes. There are:

  • round-round with the pointed tip
  • flat-flat with squared ends
  • bright-flat with shorter bristles than flat brushes
  • filbert-flat with rounded ends
  • fan-flat shaped like a fan

A paint brush is the most important tool for a painter so it needs to be chosen very carefully. It is worth spending little extra on it because an artist-grade brush will last you for many years to come so its really an investment and there is also so many things that can be wrong with badly made brushes.

Bristles can be of a low quality so they lose shape quickly, also the ferrules can be bad and they corrode or start flaking, and the hairs can be falling out if not tightened right, even the handles can cause you inconvenience if not properly shaped and balanced.

Over time I have used many different kinds of brushes and found several brands that are very good and suit my needs. This is the list of my top five paint brushes:

  • Da Vinci Maestro series 2 hog bristle brushes
  • Winsor & Newton Winton hog bristle brushes
  • Connoisseur hog bristle brushes
  • Artify hog bristle artist paint brushes
  • D’Artisan Shoppe hog bristle brushes

Comparison Table 

 

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Reviews

several da vinci paintbrushes

Da Vinci Maestro Series 2

Da Vinci company is an old German company with long tradition and experience which produces artist grade paint brushes since the 19th century.

The best materials and traditional craftsmanship are used in Da Vinci in order to produce the top quality artist grade paint brushes. You can never make a mistake if you are buying a product made by a company with such a long tradition and experience.

Appearance

These brushes are made to last. Brushes in Maestro series 2 are artist grade hog bristle brushes made by hand out of carefully chosen materials and can be used for oil painting, acrylic and alkyd paint.

The handles are long coloured in black and red with the corresponding number written on them followed by the name of the company and special marking for the series.

Anatomically shaped handles are pleasant to use and since they are long that means that the hand is farther away from the canvas while you paint which is something most painters prefer because of the better perspective they get while painting.

Top quality Chinese Chunking bore hair is used for the bristles which are elastic, very resistant and long lasting. Bristles are double boiled for additional spring and endurance, white and deeply embedded into ferrules by hand interlocking allowing them to carry large amounts of paint.

Ferrules are brass nickel plated, rust resistant so it is really easy cleaning the brushes. Brushes come in several different sizes and shapes so it is not hard finding a brush that will suit your technique and style in this series.

They come as bright extra short, bright medium, filbert medium, flat long, fresco filbertXL, fresco round medium, long filbert, round, extra long filbert, slanted edge, extra thick straight chisel edge, straight edge spalter, slanted edge spalter.

Considering the brushes are hand made there can be certain variations in shape and size even in the same series but this is something that you get with any handmade brushes.

Performance

The performance of Da Vinci Master hog bristle brushes is excellent whether you use them for oil colours, acrylics, alkyd or any other colours.

Made of carefully chosen Chungking bristles Maestro brushes allow you to carry large amounts of paint and apply it to the canvas.

Bristles are double-boiled and all the thicker hairs are removed so they are very elastic as well and can be used for thin spreads of paint same as for thick layers.

The bristles regain their shape and elasticity after cleaning, but you have to make sure to clean them properly after every use using odourless mineral spirits or turpentine and wash them with lukewarm water and mild soap.

The handles are made of the best quality wood, bristles and ferrules are also made of top quality materials so these are the brushes that are meant to last and if you treat them properly they will serve you good for many years.

With good quality comes a bit higher price but when it comes to brushes it is definitely worth buying professional paintbrushes than going for the cheaper ones and have to deal with all the flaws. I would highly recommend Da Vinci Maestro brushes to all whos budget allows it.

several different paintbrushes for oil painting

 Winsor & Newton Winton Hog Bristle Brush

The second paint brush that I very often use is Winsor&Newtons Winton hog bristle brush. Winsor & Newton is a renowned company founded in eighteen hundred’s producing high-quality art materials which are used by some of the worlds finest artists.

Appearance

White bristles are placed into corrosion resistant ferrules.  Handles are long, green, wooden, protected by four coats of lacquer. On each handle, there is a corresponding size written in silver letters followed by the company name, the name of the series and full name of the brush type.

Made from finest durable Chinese hog bristles are inserted by hand into ferrules. With proper care, bristles maintain their shape even after very heavy usage. Brushes are very resistant and durable.

They come in several different shapes tho the size varies from brush to brush even in the same series since the brushes are hand made. There are fan, filbert, long flat, round and short flat bright.

The fan brush is used for blending, creating textures and softening edges. It comes in 4 different sizes in Winton collection in size one, three, five and eight.

The filbert brush makes a soft-edged broad mark. This is a flat brush with an oval tip that comes in eight sizes one, two, three, four, six, eight, ten and twelve.

Winton long flat is used for glazing or covering large areas. It comes in eight sizes and those are one, two, three, four, six, eight, ten and twelve.

Round hog brush is used for washes and fine details.  Sizes are size one, two, three, four, six, eight, ten and twelve.

There is also short flat bright in Winton series. This is a brush with a short flat head for creating sharp edges with control. The short flat comes in size one only.

Performance

The bristles used for Winton brushes are of the highest quality. The shape of the bristles never changes if they are treated properly, meaning if you clean them as you should after each use. Even after many years of painting, they leave the same mark as they did the day you purchased them, allowing you to get the desired effect while painting.

Since the bristles are carefully secured into ferrules there is no problem with hairs falling off. What I have noticed with Winton hog brushes is that they can endure even my hardest brush strokes which is really good for those of you who tend to be a tad more aggressive in their work. Handles are nicely balanceed and fit well in hand also they are long which allows you to have some distance from the canvas and get a better perspective while painting.

The stiffness of the bristles makes it possible to carry a considerable amount of paint making it easy to get a more textured look on your paintings.

Price is more than acceptable considering the quality of Winton brushes.

For every painter, it is very important to feel relaxed and comfortable with the tools they use while painting and with quality brushes like Winton hog brushes that is definitely what you will get.

 

several connoisseur hog bristle brushes

Connoisseur Hog Bristle Brushes

Number three on my list are Connoisseur hog bristle brushes. This is another top quality artist paint brush.

When you use Connoisseur brushes you can see that they are made of top quality materials with utmost precision and care with your satisfaction in mind.

Appearance

Brushes have long wooden perfectly balanced handles which are in natural wood colour and are protected by a layer of lacquer. Along the handle, there is a number of the brush size written in gold letters followed by the company name and the type of the brush.

Bristles are again white carefully hand chosen best quality Chunking hog bristles.  They are interlocked to give the artist better control while working. Bristles are able to carry a large amount of paint enabling you to create more textured spreads.

Seamless ferrules are copper, corrosion and tarnish resistant and are sealed on to the handles. Brushes can be used with oil colours, alkyd and acrylics. They come in several different shapes and sizes.

There are bright, fan, filbert, flat, hake, long filbert and round all in several sizes. As with all artist grade brushes, size may vary from brush to brush even in the same series since all are hand made.

Performance

The bristles used for Connoisseur brushes are top quality Chungking hog bristles hand placed into the ferrules, carefully picked and interlocked together and that along with the natural curve of the bristles allows you to carry a large amount of paint making it easy for you to make more textured spreads.

The bristles are white and elastic and easily regain their previous shape after cleaning them with turpentine or odourless mineral spirits.

Seamless copper ferrules are resistant to tarnish and corrosion and hold the bristles tight so there are no hairs falling off while you are painting.

Ferrules are sealed on long perfectly balanced handles. Long handles allow the artist a certain distance from the canvas thus making him have a better perspective while painting.

The price of the brushes is somewhat high compared to the brushes of the same artist grade quality but this is an excellent paint brush made with care out of top quality materials. and from the appearance to the performance there are no flaws. So I would say they are worth every penny.

Several different Artify hog bristle brushes in a canvas brush holder

Artify Hog Bristle Artists Paint Brushes

 

Number four on my list are Artify hog bristle brushes. Another artist grade hog bristle brush produced of good quality materials.

Appearance

 

Artify hog bristle brushes have long natural wood coloured handles covered with a layer of lacquer for additional protection.

On the handle, there is a company logo written along with the specific number for each size and the series mark.  Brushes are handmade so the size may vary even in the brushes from a single brush line.

Bristles are white good quality hog bristles. They are stiff and good for oil painting and can also be used for alkyd and acrylic painting.

Bristles remain unchanged even after heavy usage if cleaned properly, and still can give precise straight strokes.

Brushes come in a set of fifteen pieces of different shapes and sizes. In the set there are fan size four and eight, flat sizes two, six, ten, fourteen, eighteen and thirty, round sizes two, six, eight, twelve, fourteen and twenty, flat brush number five.

When you purchase them they are in a plastic protective box practical for carrying around which is convenient for outdoor painting.

 Performance

Long handles are made of good quality wood and lay nice in hand when you paint allowing you to work away from the canvas which gives you a better perspective while painting.

Copper ferrules secure the bristles to the handle very well and there is no significant hair loss while you are painting.

Carefully placed and shaped bristles make the brushes suitable for detailed work as well as for adding thick layers of paint easily.

The bristles do come a bit too stiff when you first purchase them so I would recommend that you soften them up a bit before working with them.

Wash the brushes with odourless mineral spirits, mild soap and lukewarm water. That will soften them up a bit and it will make them nicer to work with. You should do the same after every use it will significantly prolong the life of your brushes.

In my opinion, these don’t fill all the standards of an excellent artist paint brush but still but are good enough for the beginners. Also, the price is somewhat high for the quality they offer.

 

several D'artisan shoppe hog bristle brushes

D’artisan Shoppe Hog Bristle Artist Grade Brushes

D’artisan shoppe is a family company specialized in producing high-quality art materials. What is so amazing is that all of them are actually artists that they founded the company mainly for producing art materials that they will use since they couldn’t find brushes that would be exactly what they wanted and needed.

D’artisan Shoppe produces brushes made of natural and synthetic bristles for any medium and painting technique.

Each brush is made by hand with the utmost care and your satisfaction in mind. The company is still young and improving with every product listening to suggestions of artists that use them.

I am sure that in time they will be very competitive on the market. I had the pleasure of using their hog bristle brushes from Maestro series VI. These are brushes suitable for oil painting, alkyds and acrylics.

Appearance

Brush set Master series VI comes packed in a durable protective organizer case and dust bag which is suitable for travelling and outdoor painting.

Also, the box is cup-like so you can use it as a brush holder. In the set, there are six different sized and different shaped brushes. Filbert brush size two, six and twelve, flat brush size four and eight and small round size one.

Brushes are made of good quality materials by hand the same as all artist grade brushes so the size of the brushes may vary a bit even in the same series.

Bristles used for the brushes are white best quality Chinese Chunking hog bristles which are placed by hand into double crimped anodized aluminium ferrules.

Anodized aluminium is used for the ferrules because of its durability and resistance to environmental influence. Also, nickel that is mainly used in plating the ferrules is known to cause allergies in 10 to 20 percent of the population and prolonged contact with it can cause the allergy to increase in time.

Anodized aluminium is weather resistant and more durable than nickel and that makes these brushes ideal for outdoor painting and easy to clean.

It is very resistant to chemical attack, is wear and scratch resistant and is corrosion resistant. Ferrules will never flake or peal because of the oxide coating.

Handles are long, red and ergonomic with the name of the company, brush size number and name of the series written along them. Handles are made of light birch wood painted in seven layers of UV coated paint which will never flake from the handle.

Handles are very light, lighter than most of the brushes I used before so it may come off a bit unusual when you first start using them but in time you get used to it

I came across some of the costumer’s reviews about the brushes in which people are complaining about bristles changing shape and losing in time. That didn’t happen to me and I think that has a lot to do with how the brushes were cleaned and taken care of.

Proper cleaning will significantly prolong the life of the bristles. Clean them with odourless mineral spirits or turpentine and make sure to wash them thoroughly with mild soap and lukewarm water and dry them good.

Performance

The bristles are of top quality, stiff but still elastic. They can carry large amounts of paint allowing you to give your paintings a more textured look.

There is a minor hair loss in the beginning but I have been assured by the company that they are working on improving that feature.

Long handles are good for painting from a distance to the canvas which most painters prefer as it gives them a better perspective when working.

The only remark I have is that there are not enough different sizes in the set. Price is very competitive and this makes them ideal for beginners or hobbyists.

 

Conclusion

There are many good quality artist paint brushes on the market and it can be really hard choosing the right one for you. My top two would be Da Vinci hog bristle brushes and Connoisseur hog bristle brushes which shown the outstanding performance and durability.

Even if you are just starting out it is worth it spending that little extra and buying good quality tools because the brushes really do make a difference when it comes to painting. It is not the brush that makes a good artist but good brush definitely makes the creative process much easier and much more pleasant.

Written by Magdalena

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