Painters need not only excellent paints in a variety of hues, they also need a full selection of brushes to create a variety of paint strokes and surfaces. And all painters have their favorite paintbrush—their go-to brush that’s used in every painting, the brush that ushers them into their creative painting zone. One brush, however, is not enough. Paintbrushes were originally made from the hair of hogs, oxen, sable, squirrels, and other animals. Today artists have also grown to love synthetic brushes for their quality, dependability, and versatility. Oil paint is demanding and corrosive, and high-quality, durable brushes are key tools. The brushes here work well with not only oil paint, but with acrylics, watercolor, and gouache.
1. Artify Paintbrush Set
It’s hard to beat Artify’s brush set. The 15 brushes are well made; the brush hairs don’t shed into your paintings and the ferrule holds tight to the wooden handle. The bristles are soft, and hold wet and thick paint equally well. They allow for great control and coverage. This set has a wide variety of sizes from small to large. It includes round brushes for detail line work and thick flat brushes for washes. It also has, filberts, angular, and fan brushes. Do you hate cleaning your brushes? These are engineered to sit in water for up to 48 hours without deteriorating. This set also includes a precision palette knife, a sponge, and a well-designed carrying case, ideal for storage and protecting the brushes during transport. The case has a pop-up stand for easy use at home or during plein air painting: grab or swap out brushes as needed, no fumbling around for the right one. The case is light and compact, easy to put in a bag and carry without worry. If you do a lot of detail work, you may need to augment this set with a few more small round brushes.
2. Vikewe Professional Paintbrush Set
The brushes in this set are dreamy, especially if you love detailed, precise line work. It has several small, round brushes for linear painting and rounded filbert and rat brushes for use in gradations and curves. This set also includes a palette knife and sponge. It doesn’t have as many large, flat brushes as other sets—not the ideal set of brushes if you paint flat areas and shapes. The carrying case allows for easy storage and transporting; the case is designed to flip into a pop-up stand, easy to use these brushes at home or in the field. The case is built to withstand the bumps of traveling within a bag; you won’t need to worry about your brushes in this case. The brush handles are sturdy; the bristles are soft and durable. The brushes are made from premium materials and will weather heavy painting use with grace. The bristles are engineered to handle painting on a variety of materials, not just paper and canvas but wood, metals, and fabric. The handles are designed to fit well in the hand; your hand won’t tire easily, making them a great choice if you wrestle with arthritis or if your hands tend to ache while painting. The ferrules won’t fall off and the bristles don’t shed. Excellent set.
3. Royal Brush Set
Royal brushes are strong and soft, and excellent quality for the price. This set of 25 includes round, flat, angle, and filbert brushes in a variety of sizes. It also includes a range of bristle types: soft and fine and stiff and thick. The brushes are sturdy and perfect for both beginners and more advanced artists: they’ll take a lot of wear and tear. They allow for detail work as well as the laying down of large areas of color. This set also includes a good number of palette knives, perfect for artists who want to explore thick, gestural paint application. This is a bargain set: the brushes have some imperfections and initially they may shed a few hairs, but you’ll be able to explore and experiment without having to be too precious with them. This is a great set if you’re an arts educator, but it may frustrate you if you want brushes for line work.
4. Artecho Paintbrush Set
With 14 brushes of different sizes and types, this set is well suited to artists beginning to paint and experimenting with painting tools. Adult artists will appreciate the range of effects the set makes possible, but it is also ideal for use by elementary, middle school, and high school classes. With so many brushes, there should be enough to go around. Most of the bristles are soft, better for use with thin or viscous paint; if you’re using thick paint, you may need to augment this set with heavier, stiffer-bristled brushes. This set does not include a palette knife, sponges, or carrying case, but if all you need is brushes, this is the set for you. The brushes are easy on your budget, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them when they wear out.
5. Mont Marte Premium Paint Brush Set
Mont Marte’s 15-piece set contains every artist’s dream collection of brushes. The premium set includes a variety of brush sizes and shapes in two different types of bristles: soft, fine Taklon and stiff, thick hog bristle. The different bristles allow for versatility in brushstrokes; these brushes handle thin, viscous paint with finesse and thick oil paint with strength. Mont Marte’s set is all brushes—no palette knife or sponge—but it does contain a thick, wide 5/4″ brush ideal for washes, painting grounds, and applying gesso. The brush case is compact and rolls up, and has a magnetic closure for easy carrying and use. Your brushes are protected and easily stored. Professional artists who are snobby about their brushes will find little to complain about with this set: the brushes are worth every penny.