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Flat Brush

A visual index of the different types of art paint brushes.

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Introduction to Art Paint Brushes
Image: ©2007 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc
A flat brush is, as the name would suggest, one where the bristles are arranged so the brush is quite wide but not very thick. The length of the bristles can vary, with some flat brushes having long and some very short bristles. (The latter is also called a square brush.) When buying a flat brush, look for one where the bristles have a spring to them, or snap back when you bend them gently.

Not only will a flat brush create a broad brushstroke, but if you turn it so you're leading with the narrow edge, it'll produce thin brushstrokes. A short flat brush is ideal for small, precise brushmarks.

A flat brush's paint carrying capacity is determined by the bristles it has, and by the length of these. A short-haired, synthetic-bristle flat brush will hold less paint than a long-haired, mixed or natural-hair brush. The flat brush in the photo has got hog hair, which holds paint well and, being stiff, is ideal for leaving brushmarks in paint should you wish to do this.

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