Oil Painting Brushes
Artists enjoy a number of universal types of paintbrushes. In the photo from left to right they are: Flat, Bright, Filbert, Round, Detail/Rigger, Angle, Fan and Mop.
The bristles can be made from synthetic fibers or natural hair, or even a combination of both. Oil painting artists prefer natural brushes of hogs’ hair because they are tougher. For watercolors, synthetic fibers are best since they’re softer and hold the water. Synthetics are also sometimes used for acrylics.
For large paintings it’s a good idea to use a big paintbrush (2-4 inches wide) to be able to cover large areas of paint or for laying in a neutral underpainting over the canvas. Flats and Brights are similar, though I like a longer brush length for loading paint onto. Fan brushes are fun for painting grass or for blending. The detail brush (Rigger) is great for signing, painting small paintings and for outlining, i.e., for trompe l’oeil. I don’t much use for the Round, Mop, Round, or Angle brushes.
Obviously, you will find all of these brushes in various sizes, and you really don’t need them all. You will mostly find yourself using Flats (sharper edges) and Filberts (softer more rounded strokes) because of their shapes.