Monday, September 6, 2010

Vampires and the use of Acrylic Paint Brushes

Painting with acrylics can be great fun. However, the acrylic paint brushes you use are essential to the quality of your finished painting.

A good set of paint brushes will make your painting time easier and more enjoyable but that doesn’t mean you need to mortgage the house for a quality set… if I told you that, your wife, husband girlfriend or significant other would hunt me down and kill me... and we dont want that, or at least  dont!

There is a wide range of quality and prices out there, both available on the web and at your local art supplies or hobby store.

It is usually cheaper to buy your (first/starter)) brushes in a kit as apposed to individually… however don’t get sucked into pretty boxes/ cases and all that, as the likelihood of you using that said box or case is slim to none. I got fooled into this trap (by myself sadly and not by some cheesy used brush salesman)…and I’m embarrassed to say I paid more for the pretty case thinking I would keep my brushes beautiful and pristine in the case… now my brushes while clean and in good order are livin in an empty jam jar on my desk, the pretty case is in the cupboard.
That said if you intend on traveling with your brushes then maybe it’s worth the consideration… But if your cherished loved one sees you paying an extra $20-$30 for a pretty case your not gonna use… your on your own buddy.

Painting is a large part of customizing toys, once all the shape modification (if you’re customizing the shape) is done the final stage is usually painting your character. Painting your figure can be done with various different paint mediums however because acrylic paints are the easiest and most commonly used I’ll focus on brushes for acrylic paints in this article.

There is a wealth of information out there on brushes and a lot of the information about brush sizes, shapes and uses is in fact common for all of the main paint mediums and many of the brushes are some what interchangeable.

Originally oil paint brushes, which were and still are made from natural hair fibers, were used for acrylic paints, but these days an ever increasing range of acrylic brushes, designed specifically for this medium are readily available..

You can or course use almost any kind of brush either natural or synthetic depending on, what you are trying to achieve, your style and own personal preferences… and who am I to tell you other wise. However acrylic paints although generally no toxic are ruthless on brush fibers making the synthetic (usually nylon) brushes more resilient than natural fibers. Using nylon brushes for your acrylic paints will ultimately make your life easier because they will be easier to clean and care for in regards to using them with your acrylic paints. Acrylic paint has a tendency o stick to natural fibers turning your much loved and pricy sable brushes into hard pointy stabbing tools better used for killing vampires than painting. So unless you have a vampire problem in your studio, in the long run using the nylon brushes (with your acrylics) will also save you some money… and make me popular in the eyes of your loved one.

You can of course get nylon filament brushes in a wide range of sizes, shapes and also for use with different paint mediums…. These brushes usually come in both short and long handles depending on your painting style and you can use your acrylic paint brushes with oil paints with out issue, provided you care for them appropriately. We will go into care and maintenance in another article later on.

Below are the main types of acrylic paint brushes and what brush strokes they're generally used for. At first I wasn’t going to list all the different types of brushes because I didn’t think some of them would be appropriate for painting on toys however on second thoughts customizing and painting toys is a widely creative arena and so I figure appropriateness should be left up to you the artist to decide.

Acrylic Paint Brush Shapes

Rounds - Good for touching in or for more detailed work. Especially useful with slightly thinner acrylic paints.

Long Flat - Holds plenty of paint and good for applying thick (impasto) layers. Produces longish, straight brush strokes, so excellent for painting doors and windows or anything that has a straight edge to it.

Short Flat or Bright - As above but when required for shorter strokes. Good when you want to leave a multitude of well-defined brush strokes on the paint surface. Both the short and long flat acrylic paint brushes, when dampened with paint, come to a lovely chisel edge, ideal for thin straight lines.

Filbert - Flat profile but with a slightly rounded point. Makes tapered strokes and has the ability to soften the edges of a brush stroke.

Fan Brush - Flat profile spread as a fan. Ideal for blending cloudy skies or any area where you want a smooth transition between colors. Also very useful for creating leaf clusters on pine and fir trees or textures such as fur.

When using a fan brush for acrylics, sometimes it is better to use a natural bristle type brush as they tend to hold there shape better with paint on them, often thinner nylon filaments can stick together causing the brush to loose its shape. This however does depend on the viscosity (thickness) of the paint and the effect you’re trying to achieve. Have a play and see what works for you.

I hope you found the above information helpful and you can apply it to your next custom painting project. Please book mark this site and come back often as I will add more info as time allows.If you think there is information that should be added to this artical please leave me a comment of email me at...

have a wickedly awesome day...



  1. I'm not stalking you...honest guv!:)

    Fantastic new blog here sir, choc full of invaluable advice..ah the misery of rock 'ard paint brushes! :)

  2. awww thanks lady!!! and you can stalk me all ya want!

    Unlike you im only a novice when it comes to this stuff, so if i get something a skew or I miss something by all means please pull me up on it... or if you got anything to add id love ya imput... I like ya fancy word smithin.

    ps you can stalk me all ya want;)

  3. :0)
    You a skew?...Never!
    But I do have a shrivelled wine raddled brain full of useless info that I will periodically annoy you with x;0)

    BIG LOVES for the Mimi Crew!