While purists might opt for natural fiber brushes, more and more professionals and amateurs alike have begun to make the switch toward synthetic, as the brushes themselves have heightened in quality. No longer do synthetic fibers feel like plastic. Now, the best of the best mimic the weight, touch, and feel of more-natural fibers, while also maintaining that same integrity for a much longer time than their predecessors. Whether you’re looking for packs of multiples, a single standout, or long handles or short, find the top synthetic brushes for oil paints below, as recommended by ARTnews.
1. Da Vinci Oil and Acrylic Series Brushes
This starter set comes complete with four brushes, all geared toward a generous amount of detail. Handmade in Germany, this brush set includes a round #2, filbert #8, 7195 #4, and #8. With varying diameters, all bristles are fairly short, allowing for the utmost control when painting. Small they might be, but the synthetic blend ensures that they can properly hold up when used for years with heavy oil pigments.
2. Winsor & Newton Monarch Round Long Handle Brush
If you’re looking for a synthetic brush that will lend itself to the small details of your oil painting, look no further. This long-handle brush offers the utmost control with a thin pointed tip that holds details paramount. The tip is medium stiffness, which allows it to keep its point, even with the thickest of oil or acrylic paints. And, what’s more, the synthetic fibers give it a bit of spring, so that it remains strong enough to manipulate heavy pigment around your canvas.
3. Royal & Langnickel Set of Five Brushes
This set of five brushes is ideal for the beginner, as it’s a prepackaged deal that comes complete with the most popular brush shapes and sizes. Inside, this kit includes a flat 12, filbert 8, angulars 2 and 8, and a round 1. Armed with this grouping, any beginner oil painter will be able to tackle large areas and tiny details with ease. Made of synthetic fibers, these brushes are crafted with a multi-diameter filament, to ensure that they hold up against years of thick pigment use.
4. Princeton Velvetouch Mixed-Media Brush
This brush boasts an ergonomic handle that makes it more comfortable to handle for extended periods of time. The synthetic fibers are specifically designed to mimic a variety of hair types and styles. This particular brush has a mop-like head, which makes it best suited for softening and blending, as it is wide and shows minimal brush strokes. Retailing at more than $13 for a single brush, however, it is most often used by serious artists and other professionals, as opposed to those just starting out with oil paints.
5. U.S. Art Supply Synthetic Paint Brush Set
As far as box sets go, they are most often geared toward the beginner and not the artist—until now. This company has packaged a whopping 15 brushes, to ensure that even the most astute professional oil painter has everything needed to craft that masterpiece. All brushes are made of synthetic fibers so that they will not only hold up against the test of time but also won’t shed as you paint. While these brushes are certainly strong enough for oil pigment, they can also easily be used with everything from acrylic to watercolor and more. What’s more, all 15 pieces come complete with a nylon zippered case to protect your most prized possessions when traveling.