Finding The Best Acrylic Paint Brushes – Accessing a Modern Medium

Best Acrylic Paint Brushes Feature

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Acrylic is a fantastic medium of art to get into. Vibrant, varied and fun to do, acrylics are a perfect mix of easy to get into and difficult to master. But to do your best work you’ll need the best tool possible in your hands. That’s the topic of today, taking a look at the best acrylic paint brushes on the market. We’ll help you find the brushes that will come with you on this artistic journey.

In a hurry? Here are our favorites

Best Acrylic Paint Brushes

Now it’s time to take a look at what we think are the best acrylic paint brushes on the market. There is a range of brands on offer, and we tend to discuss lines of products at a high level. If you are looking for a brush of a certain size of shape you can find more information by following the links provided.

Loew Cornell American Painter Brushes 

Loew-Cornell American Painter Brush - Round, Size 10

Our first brush is the American Painter Brush from Loew Cornell. These are synthetic brushes with a blend of double-filament dyed golden Taklon hair. The fiber is firm enough to handle even heavy body paints which means they will work great with all acrylic paints.

There isn’t a huge choice in terms of different brush shapes and sizes, but these brushes really deliver in value. This is the brush that you need in your hand if you are looking for a workhorse. It may not be fancy but it will get the job done, allowing the painter a high level of control, so they can focus on simply painting.

The American painter brushes are a great pickup for those looking for a reliable brush. Also the price point means that it would be a great pick for beginners as well.

Blick Studio Short Handle Synthetic Brushes

Blick Studio Synthetic Brush Set - Mixed Set, Set of 4

One of these lists wouldn’t be the same without an offering from our favorite art supplies retailer. This time we have the Blick Studio Short Handle Synthetic Brushes. These are brushes that are backed by years of research into synthetic filament to give them a feel as similar to natural hair as possible. However, with their synthetic nature these brushes are less likely to degrade in use with acrylics than their natural fiber counterparts. This makes them a great choice for looking to find the best paint brushes. 

The brushes come in a great range of shapes (Round, Flat, Bright), available in a range of sizes (0-20). All available to purchase individually, allowing you to pick and choose what you really need. For those looking for a little guidance or the convenience of a premade kit there is the mixed set of 4 brushes. These are all the brushes that beginners will need to go out and get painting.

These synthetic brushes from Blick are a great pick up for acrylic painting. They hold their shape well, they give a consistent and controlled feel in the hand, and just work great. Well worth the look!

Winsor & Newton Artists Acrylic Brushes

Winsor & Newton Artists Acrylic Brush - Round, Long Handle, Size 6

Up next are some brushes from a brand that you have definitely heard of before, Winsor & Newton. It’s no surprise that their artists’ acrylic brushes are some of the best acrylic paint brushes that you can buy.

The brushes themselves are strikingly pretty. With a lovely handle and some dark filament bristles. These brushes utilise Winsor & Newton’s interlocked synthetic filament making them ideal for acrylic painting. They are durable brushes that retain their shape well and are thereby a joy to use.

Another thing that makes the artists acrylic series some of the best acrylic brushes is the huge range of different brush sizes and shapes that are available. You should have no problem finding a brush that fits exactly what you want. 

All in all these are some strikingly beautiful brushes that will hopefully help you in the creation of some beautiful acrylic art. 

Princeton Acrylic Paint Brushes

Princeton Catalyst Polytip Bristle Brushes - Set of 4

Here we have a brand that is renowned for their fantastic synthetic paint brushes. This makes them perfect to make some brushes that work well with acrylics. With the Princeton acrylic paint brushes we have just that. A handsome set of brushes that will feel at home in the hands of any acrylic paint artist.

It’s no surprise  that these synthetic have some cool technological backing in the form of the Princeton Catalyst Polytip Bristle. This is heralded by Princeton as a breakthrough in the world of synthetic brush fibers, with the individual fibers being split at the end to better replicate the finest natural hairs.

This technology paired with the fact that these brushes were designed specifically to work with acrylics make these brushes amazing to work with. Princeton backs up their great acrylic paint brush by offering them in a huge range of shapes and sizes. This is another brand where you will have no trouble finding what you need. It could also be a great line to start with, knowing that whatever brushes you may need down the line will definitely be available.

High tech, attractive and well priced. You can’t go wrong with the Princeton acrylic paint brushes.

Royal Langnickel Zen All Media Brushes

Royal Langnickel Zen Brush - Round, Size 10, Long Handle

Last but not least are the Zen all media brushes. Don’t be put off by the “all media” label, it just means that these brushes are good at lots of things. Luckily, acrylic paint artists are some of the people that have great things to say about these brushes.

This is yet another series of brushes which have a great visual design. With the handle being made of a pretty silver mirror finish. Said to be both durable and easy to clean! The brushes are synthetic with bristles made of multi-diameter filaments. These brushes are particularly well covered when it comes to different shapes with the following being available; angular, angle shader, bright, chisel blender, fan, flat, flat shader, flat wash, filbert, one stroke, oval wash, round, and script. That’s a lot of variety, with all of those different brushes available in a range of sizes.

As you’ll see in the buyers guide each of these types of brushes are their own unique use case, but when it comes to a versatile workhouse you are reaching for a round and the Royal Langnickel Zen rounds are well equipped for the job.

Lots of choice in this series so you are very likely to find something that works for you. 

Brush Holders and Organizers

We are big fans of taking care of our equipment. This enables your tools to stay effective for longer. This is great news for not only your bank balance, but also the environment. Win-win if you ask me. In that vein we have also found a couple of great options for storing your acrylic paint brushes. Proper storage (as well as cleaning) are the major pillars of brush care that will enable your brushes to stay in top shape for longer.

Here are a couple of brush holders that we think will work great for you.

Canvas Brush Organizer

Canvas Brush Organizer - 22'' x 18''

This neat little canvas brush organizer is really cool. Available in two sizes, with either 24 or 30 pockets (depending on the size of brushes a pocket can hold more than one). This organizer rolls up into a neat little packet with all your brushes safely inside. It is made from a hard wearing natural cotton canvas, and some robust stitching so that it will last. When rolled you tie the whole packet together with a couple of long canvas ties.

We think this canvas brush organizer is pretty great. It’s a great way to store your brushes and take them on the go as well.

Note: make sure that you store your brushes when they are properly dry. If wet brushes are tied in this organiser they will be susceptible to rust/corrosion.  

Holbein Adjustable Brush Holder

Holbein Adjustable Brush Holder - 8 1/2'' to 13'' x 1 1/4''

The Holbein Adjustable Brush Holder is a really simple offering. But oftentimes simple is best. The brush holder is a simple plastic tube with a 1 ¼” diameter. The tube is adjustable in length from 8½” to 13″ (22 cm to 33 cm). This means it is able to accommodate a handful of brushes, to be stored safely in your bag on the go.

As said, it is really simple. This brush holder just works. Will worth the pick up if you are a student or anyone that wants to take a few brushes with them on the go.

Buyers guide – Finding the Best Acrylic Paint Brushes

In this section we’ll be telling you what to look through when purchasing acrylic paint brushes. As always there is a huge range of choice available to you, which can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully, the below will equip you with the information you need to go out and find the best paint brushes for you.

Shape

Shape is an important consideration for the brushes that you may consider. Each shape of brush has its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as an intended use case. You are likely to need a couple of shapes but depending on the type of things that you draw you may need something different to the norm. 

Different shape Brushes
Photo by Anna Daudelin

Round

The round is the most versatile and therefore most common type of paint brush. It is the workhouse brush that can do a bit of everything. The shape means that it is great for doing anything from intricate detail to larger washes.

This is the brush you are likely to have in your hand the most, so make sure that you find something that you really like. It may also be worth experimenting with different brands etc. if you haven’t found something that you are happy with yet.

Flat

The flat bush is not quite as versatile as the round, but it serves its purpose well. This brush allows for strong linear strokes, while also being great from doing larger washes. If you are looking to cover a large area of canvas, or add in some bold strokes, then you need a flat brush in your hand.

Details work

For really detailed work there are a few other types of brushes that are well worth looking into. These are liner, spotter and riggers. While all slightly different, they are all brushes that you will be handy for the finer details of a piece.

Size

As you would expect the size of the brushes you choose should fall roughly in line with what you will be doing with them. Each size has it’s area, though there is of course some room to experiment with your own style of painting.

Mid-sized Brushes 

Mid-sized brushes are your all rounders and should be one of the first brushes you should buy. This is the brush that you will have in your hand most of the time, with great versatility it can be used for a great range of things. A bit of detail, larger washes if needs be. The mid-sized brush is a real work horse. For the ultimate versatility, find yourself a quality mid-sized round that you like. It will serve you well. 

Small Brushes

Small brushes are what you need when it comes to detailed work, such as figurines or just the finer details of a painting. These brushes enable the artists to have supreme control of the brush tip and the amount of paint that they apply to any surface.

Large Brushes

Larger brushes are used to enable you to cover larger surface area more quickly. WIth their larger size, they are able to hold and therefore put down large amounts of paint. Great for covering large areas on a canvas or doing larger washes.

Natural or Synthetic Bristles?

When looking for paint brushes for different mediums you are likely to come across the debate of natural vs synthetic bristles. Where natural brushes are made from animal hair, and synthetic using strands of materials such as polyester. Oftentimes this is an interesting debate on old versus new, and the feel and control of the artist.

Luckily, when it comes to acrylic paint brushes there is no such debate. Go synthetic. This is because natural fibers are not really compatible with acrylic paint, with the paint itself sometimes causing damage to the fibers. It’s just not worth the trouble (and often the extra cost) of going natural. So the vast majority of the best acrylic paint brushes are made using synthetic fibers.

Caring For Your Acrylic Paint Brushes

Caring for you brushes is a really important step that many overlook. It is the easiest way to keep your key tool in top shape, elongating its life, and ultimately saving you money. Who doesn’t like to save a little money? Here are the things that you need to know to make your brushes last.

Jar of upturned paint brushes
Photo by Ingmar

Don’t Let Acrylic Paint Dry on Your Brushes

Acrylic paint is easy to remove when wet, but it’s a different story when it dries. With the fast drying nature of these paints this means that you need to act fast, either keeping your brushes wet during a painting session, or cleaning up as you go along.

You really don’t want paint to dry on the brush as this can ruin even the best acrylic paint brushes. This means that it is advised that if you are not using a brush, even for a short period, it’s a good idea to try and take the bulk of the paint off of the bristles with a paper towel and rinse the bristles with water. Lay the wet brush flat until you need it again.

When you are done with your painting, it’s time to give all the brushes you used a proper clean. 

Washing

Washing your acrylic paint brushes is really easy, just remember the following:

  1. Remove the bulk of the paint beforehand with paper towel
  2. Wash with warm water and a little mild soap, so as not to damage the bristles
  3. Massage the bristles with the warm soap to remove any remaining paint
  4. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear.

After your brushes are clean it’s just a matter of patting the brushes dry with a paper towel or rag, and then laying them down flat to dry. Make sure that the bristles are not bending or leaning against something as you lay down your brushes, as this can cause damage. 

Storing

As long as you make sure your brushes are cleaned and dried properly before you put them away, there is only one thing that you need to think about when storing your brushes. This is the bristles of the brush. You want to avoid putting any pressure on them, that could lead to their deformation and your brushes losing shape.

You don’t have to think too far outside the box to find something that works for you. Simply storing brushes bristle up in a container works great. Those that like to paint on the go may also want to look into a travel case for their paint brushes.


Conclusion

That’s it for our look at the best acrylic paint brushes. Acrylic is a great medium to try for those that are looking for a modern take on the classic oil paints. Less smell, less drying time, and more fun!

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