You can be the most skilled and creative face painter, but if you're tools aren't up to par or you don't know what to use them for you may not deliver your best work. It'll be pretty difficult to draw those crisp lines and perfect swirls that we all adore with a brush whose bristles are flaring in every direction. In addition to the maintenance of your brushes you want to become knowledgeable in their uses in order to produce the desired effect. This knowledge will help you in becoming a better face painter and a better artist in general. Below are some of the most popular brushes used by most face and body artists.
Round, Flat, Filbert, Ferrule, Fan, what?
When I've attend workshops or classes I quickly realized how important the terminology or jargon is. Some instructors will quickly explain the different brush types, but many do not. I will provide a short description of the commonly used brushes and their uses.
Round: If you view a round brush at eye level you will see that the tip of the bristles taper to a fine point. This point is what aides the artist in creating fine lines and details. Round brushes come in a variety of sizes. The larger the brush number the broader the stroke will be and vice versa. My favorite round brushes are #4 & #6.
Fan: As the name implies, the bristles of a fan brush "fan out". Typically used to smoothly blend color it's also great for creating plant and hair textures. In my working kit I tend to have just one fan brush.
Filert: A filbert brush ends in a slight point like a round brush, except the brush belly is flat vs. round like a round brush. A filbert brush is great for blending and creating teardrops. This brush can be used flat or on the side depending upon the desired effect.
Angle/Shader: Like a round brush and an angled brush is great for line work as well as circular strokes. They're great for creating lines that vary in width (think tiger stripes, leopard spots, butterfly wings) As the name states the bristles of an angled brush extend from the ferrule in a flat straight direction but the point is tapered to create an angle.
Liner: Or sometimes called a script brush, has long bristles that from a point, This brush type is great for lettering, fine lines, dots, and starbursts.
Rake: The rake brush is like a filbert or flat brush with notches cut out of it, giving it the appearance of a lawn rake. Rake brushes create awesome grass and hair strokes.
You can use your brushes however you choose. Experiment with different brushes for different things. What's your favorite brush?