Are you confused by all the different types of watercolor brushes? You don't know their uses and how to choose which one is the best for you? It's good you found your way here! Because today is all about watercolor brushes and you'll find answers to all your questions about them!

Do you know the difference between a watercolor brush and other brushes?

The difference between them is that the handle of a watercolor brush is shorter compared to, for example, brushes for oil or acrylic paint. The bristles of watercolor brushes are a lot softer to be able to gently and evenly apply the paint and the water in multiple layers without damaging the paper. A watercolor brush works like a sponge. It soaks up water and paint and releases it slowly onto the paper.

What types of brushes are there and what do I need them for?

Round Brushes

Round Brush

They can hold a good amount of water and paint and are very verstile as they allow you to paint in a variety of stroke widths from super thin to broad!

Small Round Brush

They hold very little water due to their short bristles. You can use them for small details and very narrow lines!


They hold a lot more water and paint which makes them great for big washes of paint.

Flat Brushes

Flat Brush/Wash Brush

You can use them for straight thin lines, large broad strokes, details, big even washes and for techniques like glazing.

Bright or Short Flat Brushes

They can hold less water and give you more control over your paint.

In Between Round and Flat Brushes

Filbert Brush/Oval Wash/Cat Tongue

They're not very common as a watercolor brush but you can use it to fill in areas similar to flat brushes and create petals or round shapes.

The cat tonge is similar to the the filbert brushes but they have a very fine tip which allows you to paint small details.

Angular Brush

These brushes are great for thin lines, sharp edges and other small details.


The dagger or sword brush is similar to the angular brush but they can hold more water and paint and you have a little less control than with angular brushes.

Liner/rigger/script brush

These brushes are made for lines and details. They hold a lot of water so you can paint long steady lines without loading up your brush every two seconds.

Fan brush

A fan brush can be used to create texture and details in your painting.

Rake Brush

You can create cool effects with a rake brush! They keep their detailed fan shape even when they're wet.

You'll find out more about the different types of watercolor brushes in my video below!

  • Anatomy of Brushes
  • Can you use your watercolor brushes for other mediums?
  • There's more on the different types of watercolor brushes
  • How to start with new brushes
  • What to look for in watercolor brushes to identify good quality
  • And the last and most important thing: What watercolor brushes do you really need as a beginner?

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