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Selecting a Paintbrush for Watercolors

It is possible to spend a lot of money on watercolor paint brushes that use specialized bristles and handles. Here is a simple (and financially friendly) look at the basic watercolor brushes you will need for everyday use with your students and their artwork. 

Brush Head Shapes

There are four broad types of brush heads:

  • Round heads are the most versatile. 
  • Flat heads are for less detail
  • Wash heads are for broad washes like sky, sand or water. 
  • Spotter heads are for extreme detail

  • Round heads have a fine tip and more pressure can be used for less detail and less pressure for more detail. Flat heads are for less detail and more for washes - though will be used more frequently than wash headed brushes. Wash brushes have wide, flat heads. The spotter heads are for tiny detail or lines. 


    There are three types of handles - long, medium and short. In a recent post we looked at different techniques for using a pencil and noted that the further up the handle that you hold the pencil, the less detail and longer strokes you can do.

    Where it comes to brush handle length, the same applies as to pencils. Hold the brush far from the head for long sweeps like a wash. Therefore, the wash head brush might have a long handle while you might only need a short handle for the spotter head brush. 

    Buy Your Watercolors and Paint Brushes from Color Swell

    Got the sales pitch in neatly there, didn’t we? Have a look at what we have on offer at our online store.