Choose the right paintbrush for your practice

by Cass Art

So you know you want to paint. You walk into an art shop and are greeted by a plethora of different types of paintbrush; synthetic, sable, hog hair, squirrel mop...

And understandbly you have no idea which to choose! Of course, our staff artists are always more than happy to help and can offer you expert advice, but we thought we'd put together a handy guide to help you select the right paintbrushes for you. 



You'll need a different brush depending on the kind of paint you use. If you're a watercolourist, you'll need sable or another natural brush, but acrylic and oil painters will require hog or synthetic.. for example There are three main types to choose from:

•    Natural Hair (Sable or Squirrel)
•    Hog Hair (Bristle)
•    Synthetic Hair

Read on for which is suited best to your kind of painting...

Natural hair paintbrushes are ideal for painting with watercolour or gouache because they are softer and more flexible than other brushes. They come in different types: 

•    Sable brushes maintain a perfect point, allowing for great control and fine details. Sable hair is also naturally absorbent which means these brushes hold a lot of colour for excellent flow. Sable brushes are very high quality, with the best being hand made from the tip of the tail of the Siberian Kolinsky sable such as Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable Brushes.

•    Squirrel mop brushes carry colour very well because they can hold a lot of water. They are very good as mop and wash brushes with good covering power, as they do not point as well as Sable.

Hog brushes are perfect for painting with oil and acrylic. They are naturally stiff and each bristle is split into two or three at the tip,  so the brush can hold more paint and apply it evenly. Remember, hog brushes come in different shades so if they are white then you need to make sure that this is natural and not bleached as this will have weakened the bristle. 

Hog brushes are extremely resilient so that the brush keeps its working edge and shape for longer.

Winsor & Newton Artists’ Hog Brushes are high quality and we also stock our own brand Cass Art Hog Brushes Set of 6.

If you are on a tighter budget or would prefer an alternative to natural hair, then synthetic brushes are the ones for you. They can be soft or stiff; the soft brushes work well with watercolour, while the stiff brushes work well with oils.

Cass Art Brown Synthetic brushes work well with both watercolour and acrylic, whilst the Cass Art Grey Synthetic brushes are a great choice for working in acrylic and oil. If you like working across different painting media, however, the Cass Art White Synthetic brushes is a set of all-rounders, perfect for watercolour, acrylic and oil painting.

Feeling inspired?

We hope this helps and you know which paintbrushes are the ones for you! Shop all paintbrushes here and remember, if you have any questions, feel free to ask any Cass Art staff member.

Back to blog