ZenART's Membership Plans Terms & Conditions

(Updates effective 17/08/2020)

These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the ZenART Supplies Rewards & Referral Plan as well as Subscribe & Save Plan (“Membership Plans”), and members of the programs will earn zen coins in connection with the purchase of qualifying online products and online activities that are redeemable towards the purchase of certain products online. For the re-occurring members (Subscribe & Save Plan) this includes exclusive gifts & content.


  • Free. No purchase is necessary to obtain membership in the Rewards & Referral Program, but you must establish an account at https://shop.zenartsupplies.co/account/register . Please see our privacy policy, located here, to understand how information you provide us will be used. This program is void where prohibited.
  • Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rewards & Referral Program, you must create an account as outlined in these Terms and Conditions. You may create an account if you are at least seventeen (17) years of age, have Internet access, and have a valid mailing address. If you are between the ages of 17 and 18, you must have your parent’s permission to register for an account. If you choose to create an account, you are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account, username and password and for restricting access to your account. You are responsible for keeping such information current, complete, accurate and truthful. You agree to accept responsibility for all activities that occur under your account, username and/or password. You agree to provide only current, complete, accurate and truthful information. If you are accessing and using the Site on someone else’s behalf, you represent that you have the authority to bind that person as the principal to all Terms and Conditions provided herein, and to the extent you do not have such authority you agree to be bound to these Terms and Conditions and to accept liability for harm caused by any wrongful use of the Site or Content resulting from such access or use. You may only have one member account per natural person. Persons who are discovered to have more than one account forfeit their zen coins and will be unsubscribed from the Loyalty Program.
  • How To Enroll in the Rewards & Referral Program. (a) Create an account: Visit www.zenartsupplies.com (the "Site" or "Online") and become a registered user of the Site. Click here to be taken directly to the registration page. You will be asked for your first and last name, your email address, and a password. You will also be given the option to sign up for our newsletter. Once you have submitted the requisite information, you will be sent an email to the address you listed confirming your membership. Once you have confirmed your email address, you are automatically enrolled in the Reward & Referral Program and are a member (“Member”).
  • How to Access/Change Your Member Information. You must keep your personal information on your Account up-to-date. To do so, click on the "My Account" section and access your account by entering your registered email address and current password. From your dashboard you can access your account information; review your current and past orders; change your profile; manage your subscriptions and applications, and access your previous purchases.
  • How to Cancel Your Membership. You may cancel an account at any time. To cancel your account, please send an email to support@zenartsupplies.co and write “cancel membership” in the subject line. The email must come from the account currently listed on our servers as being associated with your Rewards & Referral Program. If you no longer have access to that email address, please email our customer service department and we will verify your status and cancel your account. Upon cancellation, you are no longer a member, and any unused zen coins accrued in your account will be forfeited and cannot be redeemed. Zen coins maintain their value only on valid accounts in good standing, and except as otherwise provided here for redemption, have no cash value outside of their redemption value on the Site.


  • General Members can earn zen coins on the purchase of qualifying online products at zenartsupplies.co. To receive zen coins for your Online purchases, you must be signed into your account. You may check at any time to see if you are signed in to the Site by looking in the upper right-hand corner of the site. Gift cards do not qualify for zen coins. Other products that do not qualify for zen coins are noted on the Site.
  • Earning Rate. Members earn 5 sen coins for every $1.00 spent on qualifying purchases (in other words, one (5) zen coins for every one dollar ($1) spent). Zen coins are based on your order subtotal, after any discounts, only. Zen coins are rounded down to the nearest whole number. For example, if you spend $9.99, you will receive 9 zen coins. The calculation is as follows: $9.99 x 1 zen coins per dollar = 9.99 zen coins, which is rounded down to 9 zen coins. This program started on August 17, 2020, and initial levels were set on the 2020 amount spent on ordering products. Note: Shipping and Taxes are not taken into consideration. If an item is return and/or price adjusted that will also be removed from your rewards calculations.
  • Gift Cards. Gift card purchases are not eligible to receive zen coins. However, once a gift card is redeemed, zen coins will be awarded to the recipient for the subtotal after any gift card values, provided s/he is logged into the account, as outlined in these Terms and Conditions.
  • Addition of Zen Coins to Accounts. Zen Coins will be added to your Account under the following conditions, and will generally show up immediately. You will receive zen coins:
    • At the time of account registration
    • During the purchase of qualifying products
    • For other activities outlined on the Site that may show up from time to time. Note that for these other activities, including “bonus zen coins” accumulations and other zen coin promotions, zen coins may show as “pending,” depending upon the activity.
    • Joining the Birthday Club. Birthdate must be entered 30 days before your Birthday to qualify.
    • For Liking the ZenART Supplies Facebook page and sharing the ZenART Supplies Facebook page with your following. This is good one time only.
    • Following ZenART Supplies on Instagram. This is good one time only.
    • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Your account will be automatically awarded the discount only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying purchase. Discount will automatically be applied to account if stipulations are met.
  • Exclusions. Members earn zen coins only on the purchase price of: (i) qualifying online products. Calculation of zen coins excludes payment by the Member for shipping charges and all taxes, including without limitation, federal, state, and local taxes or use taxes. Zen Coins will not be earned on any discounts or other credits offered in connection with a product or service. For example, if a product that is normally $50 is on sale for $25, a Member will only earn zen coins on the purchase price of $25. Purchases of gift cards, redemption of vouchers, and any type of price adjustments, including merchandise returns, are not eligible for zen coins. All purchases made: (i) by a Member prior to such member joining the Program, (ii) Online without a Member being logged onto the Website with the Member's Account number linked to the Member's Online account, are not eligible for Reward & Referral Program credit. The purchase of ZenART Supplies products outside the Zenartsupplies.co website are not eligible for the Reward & Referral Program.
  • Returns/Order Cancellations. Zen Coins earned for a purchase that is then the subject of a return, cancellation, refund, declined credit card or gift card, or other credit will be deducted from your account in an amount equal to the zen coins earned for the original transaction, including any bonus zen coins that may be applicable. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return. Zen Coins redeemed on an order will not be reapplied back to your rewards account for any reason on a returned order. If a return/cancellation will cause your account to have a negative zen coin balance, you will not begin earning zen coins again until your zen coins balance is returned to zero (0), by making purchases, or engaging in other promotional activities offered from time to time. If an item is exchanged (different product) any redeemed rewards on the initial purchase may be transferred to the exchange one (1) time only. Rewards used on an order that is canceled cannot be reapplied as they are good for just one use.
  • Bonus Zen Coins Promotions. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may run certain bonus zen coin promotions. Under bonus zen coin promotions, Members can earn additional or "bonus zen coins" in connection with the purchase of certain online products. When you purchase these specially marked products or make the purchase during a bonus zen coins time period, you will earn bonus zen coins on each product, as specified in the offer. Bonus zen coin promotions are subject to the terms and conditions of the offer and may be offered at any time in ZenART Supplies sole discretion. Bonus zen coin offers cannot be combined with any other offer.
  • Limitations on Bonus Zen Coins and Zen Coins, Generally. These terms apply to zen coins and bonus zen coins accruals. If you purchase a product during a promotion and the product comes with an additional, free product, zen coins will not be issued on the retail value of the free product. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product and pay a portion of the retail price after the zen coin's redemption, you will receive zen coins only on the leftover retail amount you pay, and not on any value attributed to the zen coin you used. If you redeem zen coins towards the purchase of a product in an amount equal to the full price of the product, you will not earn any zen coins.
  • Non-purchase Options for Earning Zen Coins. You may also earn additional zen coins on non-purchase activities. From time to time, ZenART Supplies may offer you the chance to win various prizes, and earn zen coins, for entering into promotions. For sweepstakes promotions, there is NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO PLAY OR TO WIN. Rules and restrictions will apply to such promotions and may be found on the entry page of any promotion.
  • Referring a friend to ZenART Supplies. Email a friend an $8 off coupon on $50 order by clicking “ Earn Zen Coins” then “ Refer a Friend”. Enter the email address of a friend who has not purchased with ZenART Supplies before (if your referral has shopped with us before the referral link will be automatically voided by the system). A referral link will be sent to your friend with an $8 off coupon on a $50 order. $8 off coupon on $50 order will automatically be rewarded to your account only if the referral friend used the link sent to them from your referral account and makes a qualifying first-time purchase with ZenART Supplies. Your Referral friend will receive an $8 off coupon on $50 order, 200 zen coins for signing up, and zen coins from their first purchase made while signed into their new ZenART Supplies account.


  • How To Use Your Zen Coins. Zen Coins must be used in increments outlined in these Terms and Conditions. The maximum number of zen coins that may be used in a single transaction is 10,000 zen coins. Zen Coins may only be used Online at the ZenART Supplies website. Zen Coins towards Products: Members can use their zen coins to reduce the purchase price of a product or to receive a product for free based on the following scale:
    • 500 zen coins = $5.00 off
    • 1,000 zen coins = $10.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 1,500 zen coins = $15.00 off your at least $50 order
    • 2,500 zen coins = $25.00 off your at least $50 order

    Zen Coins can only be redeemed in any combination of the zen coin and increment amounts set forth above. Redemption of zen coins towards purchases of products is subject to product availability. Any rewards discounts that are applied to the order, will be distributed equally to the applicable items in the order when completing a return.

  • Gift cards. Once available, zen coins cannot be used towards the purchase of gift cards. Gift card redemption, however, is eligible for zen coins. Zen Coins accrued pursuant to the use of a gift card will benefit the gift card user, provided the user has an account in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
  • To Redeem your Zen Coins. Before you begin shopping with us, sign in to your Shop account on our site. Select “Redeem Zen Coins” from the red tab housed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and select the amount of zen coins you would like to redeem. You will be issued a custom code that you can copy and paste into the discount bar during check out (Please note - only one code can be used). Your total payment amount will be discounted by the amount of zen coins you allocate to the purchase. Note that zen coins may only be redeemed for the purchase price of the product. Sales tax, shipping, and other handling charges assessed in addition to the price of the product are your responsibility and zen coins may not be used to discount these additional charges.
  • Exclusions. Only one account per natural person. Only one discount code can be redeemed per transaction. Rewards redemption codes may not be combined with any other discount codes. Zen Coins may not be transferred or gifted at this time. Zen Coins cannot be used on past purchases. Zen Coins accumulated on different accounts by different members may not be combined or aggregated to make purchases of products or for any other reason. Zen Coins earned in a transaction cannot be redeemed in the same transaction. Redeemed zen coins cannot be retroactively applied to any past order or receive a price adjustment on any order where redeemed zen coins were not applied. Zen Coins have no cash value outside of the ZenART Supplies website and are available only to members in good standing.
  • Zen Coins Expiration and Time Lapses. All zen coins acquired, whether standard zen coins or bonus zen coins, shall expire 180 days from the date the zen coins are added to your account. Zen Coins expire 180 days from the date in which they were assigned to your account. Specific onsite activities in which zen coins will be awarded are set to accrue zen coins based on a time-lapse at the discretion of ZenART Supplies.
    • Sign up: zen coins are added to your account instantly
    • Order: zen coins are added to your account when your order is placed.
  • Once zen coins are redeemed, a discount code will be assigned and we are unable to cancel the discount code and reapply the zen coins to your Reward & Referral account. Discount codes generated by redeeming zen coins do not expire until used. They are a one-time use code, so once it is used it is gone. If an order is returned zen coins will not be reinstated.

4. Subscribe & Save Plan

  • Re-occurring purchase. Purchase is necessary in order to participate in this plan. The plan is worth $6.95 and will be charged to your account on the same date of the month that you purchased the plan, i.e. if you purchased the plan on 19th of January, you will be charged for the plan on the 19th of each month you are a Subscribe & Save Plan member.
  • 15% re-occurring discount. As a member of the subscribe & Save Plan, you are eligible for a 15% discount every time you put an order in place. You are qualified for the discount as soon as you purchase the plan.
  • Cancellation. After a purchase made with a Subscribe & Save Plan, you are not able to get a refund for the plan for the month the purchase was valid for but you can cancel for the following months.
  • Free samples & accessories. These are included for members of Subscribe & Save Plan only. These are not included in each order but the member will be informed when they will receive "extras" in their order.
  • Access to exclusive content. Exclusive access to tutorials, guides, tips & tricks in video, pdf, or audio format will be part of the membership program. Not all exclusive content is available but what is and will be available is up to ZenART Supplies sole discretion.


  • By registering with Zenartsupplies.co and joining the Reward & Referral Program, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions set forth in these Terms and Conditions, as well as any other terms that may be associated with the Reward & Referral Program. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to cancel, modify, suspend or restrict the Reward & Referral Program, your account, the redemption of zen coins, or any aspect of the Program, including, without limitation, the zen coin conversion ratio and the zen coin expiration policy at any time. Any changes can be made without advance notice. ZenART Supplies may make these changes even though such changes may affect your ability to use zen coins already accumulated. You are responsible for remaining knowledgeable about the Program Terms and Conditions. A Member's zen coins balance, as reflected in ZenART Supplies records, shall be deemed correct. ZenART Supplies reserves the right to determine the amount of zen coins in any Member's account based on ZenART Supplies' internal records related to such Member's account. In the event of an inconsistency between the amount accrued in a Member's account as stated on any Member's receipt and ZenART Supplies internal records, ZenART Supplies internal records will control. ZenART Supplies assumes no responsibility for errors caused by incorrect Member information. Your right to transfer zen coins earned or granted under the Program is strictly limited. The sale of zen coins is prohibited and may result in the confiscation or cancellation of your zen coins as well as suspension or termination of your membership, which in each case shall be final and conclusive. All transactions involving zen coins and all Member accounts are subject to review and verification by ZenART Supplies. The zen coins balance in a Member's account may be unavailable for use when an account or transaction is under review. ZenART Supplies may revoke any Member's membership in the Reward & Referral Program at any time if such Member engages in abuse of the Reward & Referral Program or fails to follow the terms and conditions of the Program. Fraud or abuse relating to the accrual of zen coins or redemption of rewards may result in revocation of membership in the Program and may affect a Member's eligibility for participation in any other ZenART Supplies program, present or future. Zen Coins are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash. The interpretation and application of the Program's Terms and Conditions are at the sole discretion and determination of ZenART Supplies. For more information or other questions, click on Contact Us.
  • The Terms and Conditions of the loyalty program are subject to change at ZenART Supplies’ sole discretion at any time and without notice to customers. Upon customer’s at-will termination of their Zenartsupplies.com registered account, or if a customer is termination for violation of these Terms and Conditions or other activities in violation of the intent and good faith intended use of this Site, all zen coins will immediately be forfeited and will no longer be redeemable. ZenART Supplies will make reasonable efforts to award zen coins as outlined above to all 1. registered and 2. qualifying Zenartsupplies.co customers but is not responsible for any technical or unforeseen errors that may occur.
  • Zen Coins are nontransferable, nonredeemable for cash, are nonrefundable and are not valid outside of Zenartsupplies.co. Purchases made outside Zenartsupplies.co are not valid for zen coin accrual (this includes, but is not limited to Facebook resell groups, Ebay, and Amazon).
  • Employees of ZenART Supplies are not eligible to participate in the Reward & Referral Program.

Subscribe & Save Plan

Membership Benefits for Just $6.95/Month

For other currencies, the respective conversion applies.


What are the Different Types of Paint Brushes Out There?

What are the Different Types of Paint Brushes Out There?

They say a worker is only as good as their tools. By extension, an artist is only as good as their painting brush. It’s a painter’s magic wand, an irreplaceable instrument for making music on paper and canvas.

But the sheer volume and variety of paint brush shapes, sizes, and materials are enough to overwhelm any novice at the art store. Choosing an artist paint brush can get confusing if you don’t know what you need, let alone what to look for.

With this dizzying array of brushes, we’ll list the types of paint brushes in four ways: by size, bristle type, compatible art medium, and shape.

You might already be wondering: Can acrylic paint brushes handle watercolor paints or oil-based paints? What’s the perfect brush type for beginners? And do you really need all these brush shapes in all their sizes?!

Don’t sweat, this article is for you! We’ve consolidated everything you need to know about the types of paint brushes out there—and what exactly you’ll need along your creative journey.

Anatomy of a brush


Art has been around since time immemorial, and so has the paint brush. Fun fact: There’s evidence that paint brushes were already being made during the Stone Ages.

In the eras preceding the industrial revolution, painters made their brushes painstakingly by hand. They bound soft animal hair into quills or wooden sticks—for this reason, the early paintbrushes were always round. And then the ferrule was invented in the 18th century and thus popularized in the 19th century.

The ferrule changed everything. Artisans could now create new shapes for paint brushes beyond the round brush. No longer limited to the palette knife, painters had flat brushes now to create flat and bold strokes of color.

The artist’s most important tool has evolved alongside mankind. And just like us, the paint brush has specifically named body parts. How many of them do you know?


The part you hold while painting. Brush handles are commonly made of varnished wood, plastic, or metal. Sometimes bone. A good quality paint brush handle should feel comfortable and balanced. Its length will depend on what you’re comfortable with. However, shorter handles are better for painting on flat surfaces or smaller surfaces like a table. Meanwhile, longer handles make working on easels and larger surfaces much easier.


Yes, that metal thing on the brush has a name. As we said, the invention of the ferrule changed art-making forever. This part keeps bristles in shape and keeps them attached to the handle.

Pro-tip: Be good to your brushes. Metal ferrules can fall off the handle, or the bristles may start to shed. This means either your brush isn’t good, or you’re not taking proper care of it.

A ferrule can be further broken down into these parts:

  • The crimp keeps the metal ferrules attached to the paint brush. It’s that notch in the metal tube that keeps it crimped unto the wooden handle. Shoddy manufacturers will just glue this bit on.
  • The heel keeps those bristles in place and shape. The heel often determines the shape of the brush, be it flat or round.

Hairs or bristles

What makes a brush a brush. Bristles hold the paint—pigments suspended in a binder or activated by water. Here’s where choosing brushes gets difficult. There are soft bristles, stiff bristles, short bristles, very long bristles, natural bristles, synthetic bristles, and even combination bristles! We’ll unpack these later.

Also, the brush itself has body parts. Take a look at the bristles and how they’re shaped.

  • The belly is the widest area of the paintbrush and, with watercolor brushes, the part that holds the most liquid. Some brushes are stouter than others, wider in the middle then tapering to a point.
  • Since a paint brush has a heel, it also must have a toe or tip. Here’s the end of your paint brush. Some shapes flare out, some are straight-edged, and some have a pointy toe.

Brush sizes and maker’s marks

You’ll find the size number printed on the handle. From smallest to largest, these numbers typically range from 000 up to 30. Sometimes, you’ll see the printed size in inches or fractions thereof.

Unfortunately, there’s no standard to paint brush sizes and dimensions. You’ll need to do some research (or bring a ruler to the art store).

Most manufacturers will print their logos and the size of the brush on the handle. And if they have product notes, you can take a look at how they size their paint brushes.

Here at ZenART Supplies, we go the extra mile with our product design. Our brush handles show you the exact size, shape, and bristle type so you know exactly what you’re using. You can take a look at our product pages to see each brush’s size and measurements: 

  • Length: How long the hairs are, from the end of the ferrule to the brush tip.
  • Diameter: The distance around the ferrule, if round.
  • Width: For flat brushes, this is the length of the brush across the ferrule.

Take a more in-depth look at our paint brush size chart, here!

Bristle types

You can also classify the types of paint brushes by the material that makes up their bristles. Typically, you have synthetic hairs, natural hairs, and combination hairs. Bristles can also be soft and swishy or firm. Which one to choose depends on the different types of paint you’ll use.

Pro-tip: Choose your paint brushes by bristle type first, then shape second. Some bristle types can’t handle certain paints.

Soft vs. Stiff Bristles

Thinner, more fluid paint flows better with soft-bristled brushes. Meanwhile, denser media like oil paint needs thicker and stiffer bristles so the paint moves around easier. Acrylic paint brushes can be somewhere in between—not too stiff and not too swishy—since acrylic paint is softer than oil but less fluid than watercolor.

Paint brushes with firm or coarse bristles can also create textural effects. These types of paint brushes are better for working with layers of acrylic paint or oil paint but not so much with watercolor.

The stiff brushes you normally use for oil paint aren’t ideal for water media since they don’t hold water so well. Also, the bristles tend to leave marks with the paint, so it can leave unwanted streaks or scratches on watercolor paper.

Soft bristles are best for water media because they give you that swishy, smooth flow and control. Some soft brushes have memory—they snap back into their original shape better than others. Snappy brushes give you better control when the brush hits the paper.

Natural brushes

When you encounter a paint brush made with natural hair, this means the bristles are made with real animal hair.

We’ll briefly cover the common types of natural hair. You can read more about them in our guide to watercolor brushes.

Badger hair


These bushy paint brushes are commonly used for oil painting and are one of the oldest types of paint brushes.

Camel hair

Contrary to its name, a camel hair brush is made with hair from ponies, goats, oxen, or a combination thereof. Ideal for thinner, fluid media like watercolor and traditional calligraphy. 

Hog hair

The Chungking Hog brushes are the ones with white hair. Brushes featured above are form ZenART's Renoir Collection.

The best quality hog hair brushes are sometimes referred to as China brushes, made with hair from Chinese hogs. These brushes are thick and coarse, so they work well with oil paints.

Sable hair

Sable brushes are made with hair from a type of mink or weasel. Known for their softness, absorbency, and ability to hold shape, these are the best types of paint brushes for watercolor. You’ll find different kinds of sable brushes: red sable, black sable, and Kolinsky sable. The latter is the most professional-grade of sable bristles.

Ox hair

Silky with a good snap and strong as the animal it comes from. Ox hair is another good option for watercolor, though it can’t maintain a fine tip. It’s often blended with other natural or synthetic hairs for extra durability.

Pony hair

Mostly used in student-grade brushes since it’s an inexpensive type of natural hair. Pony hairs aren’t as snappy or strong as other brushes.

Squirrel hair

A close alternative to sable hair, squirrel bristles are taken from a squirrel’s tail so the fibers are thin and fine. Artists love these brushes for their water-holding qualities—perfect for water media and inks.

Combination hair

A mix of different types of natural hairs or a mix of natural and synthetic hairs. Manufacturers combine hairs to enhance different qualities of the paint brush, like resilience, snap, and stiffness.

These brushes are from the Turner Collection.

Synthetic brushes

The brushes above are all from one set, Black Tulip. A squirrel and synthetic mix.

Though manmade, synthetic brushes are just as versatile as natural brushes—plus, more affordable. Synthetic brushes can be designed to mimic the qualities of natural brushes.

These are the best types of paint brushes to use with acrylic paints. The polymers in the acrylic paint can damage natural fibers over time. Common types of synthetic brushes include acrylic, nylon, or polyester brushes. They’re much stronger, sometimes even snappier or springier than natural hairs. And much easier to clean and maintain, too.

There are also foam brushes—synthetic brushes made with whole pieces of foam, good to use as stencil brushes.

(Almost) every brush shape explained

Again, choose your bristle type first so you know what will work best with your preferred media.

There are so many brush shapes out there but you probably won’t need all of them. It’s best to just start with the most common shapes: round, flat, filbert, and liners or detailers. Pick one small, one medium, and one large-sized brush per shape. That’ll leave you with an all-around brush set.

Still, it’s worth knowing the different types of paint brush shapes to inform your decision.

Round brush

Perhaps the most common of brush shapes, the round brush works across all media. There are two kinds of round brush tips: a pointed tip and a more rounded or domed tip.

When watercoloring with round brushes, most of the fluid paint is held in the belly and flows to the tip where the brush meets paper.

Flat brush

With a flat ferrule and straight edges, the flat brush is a versatile must-have for different types of paint. You can create bold strokes and thin lines. A flat brush makes painting long lines and spreading color so much easier than round brushes.

Bright brush

It’s easy to confuse this with the flat brush. The main difference is that bright brushes have shorter bristles and a more inward curving edge. Ideal for acrylic paint, brights give you more control when creating lines of color. They work best with thicker media like acrylic paint or oil paint.

Angled brush

Another flat ferruled brush, this time with an angled or slanted tip. It’s easier to control an angled brush versus a flat one, so you can better paint clean lines and even curved strokes. Angled brushes are helpful for filling corners, too.

Dagger brush or sword brush

Here’s an even more slanted brush with a much finer tip and a curved, angled edge. It looks like a blade, hence the name. You can use a dagger brush like a liner brush—that’s why it’s sometimes called a sword liner brush. It was originally crafted for signmakers, so it’s an excellent choice for calligraphers. You can do a lot with this: curved strokes, thick to thin lines, and various embellishments.

Filbert brush

A filbert brush is like a rounded flat brush, with long bristles and an oval-shaped end. It functions like a flat brush but the brush marks are less harsh and straight-edged.

I love using filbert brushes when I want extra paint coverage. Many artists love this brush shape for painting petals, creating soft strokes, and covering more area than round brushes do. Filbert brushes also make blending oil paint or acrylic paint a breeze.

Rigger brush or Liner Brush

 You’ll see artists interchange between calling them liner brushes or rigger brushes—they’re the same. A liner brush is a round, thin brush with a sharp tip.

Rigger or liner brushes and detail brushes are often confused with each other. Riggers have very long bristles. Meanwhile, detailers have shorter bristles, usually with a sharply pointed tip.

Don’t let the thinness fool you! Liner brushes hold quite a lot of water or fluid paint. These types of paint brushes are made for long drags along the page. They’re the best to use for making smooth, continuous lines or even dabble in lettering or calligraphy.

Detail brushes

Don’t mistake a detailing brush for a liner brush. Also known as a pointed round brush, a detail brush has a sharply pointed tip with short bristles and a short handle. They’re ideal for painting fine details, spot-correcting, retouching, and adding subtle highlights. Just like a pen!

Cat’s tongue brush

The cat’s tongue brush—a.k.a. an oval wash brush—gets its name from its distinct shape: flat, but with a pointed tip. It’s like a flat brush and a pointed round brush had a baby. Despite its pointed tip, the cat’s tongue brush can create soft edges! Many artists love this for watercolor and fluid media.

Fan brush

You’ll know one when you see it. A fan brush has a flat ferrule with bristles that spread outward in a fan shape, creating a rounded edge—hence the name.

Though not a necessity in a beginner brush set, a fan brush can prove to be quite useful especially if you love painting nature elements like leaves, petals, clouds, and waves. Its fanned-out shape lets you create beautiful textures and special effects with your acrylic painting. It’s also good for blending, softening harsh edges, and stippling acrylic paints onto your dried work.

Look for fan brushes made with natural hair if you want to use them for blending and softening. Fan brushes made with synthetic or firmer bristles are better for special effects.

Wash brush

Typically a watercolor brush, the wash brush is a large, flat brush with a very wide foot. It’s short-handled for better control since these are used to cover large areas with watercolor.

An acrylic wash brush has stiffer bristles. Another type of wash brush is the hake brush: an oriental style or Japan-made brush often made with natural bristles. It’s got a distinct, short handle that widens toward the ferrule.

Mop brush

Another type of watercolor brush, the mop brush is a supersized round brush, or a round version of the wash brush if you will. These thick, round brushes are designed to lay down large mops of color. When made with natural hair, the mop brush can absorb a lot of fluid paint. Love this for painting backgrounds!

When in doubt, pick a brush set

Do you really need all of these different types of paint brushes in your arsenal? Not really. You may need just the essentials. Sometimes the most cost-effective option is to get a brush set. In this case, we’ll walk you through all the paint brush sets we have available here on ZenART Supplies.

Spoiler alert: We’re not like other brushes. We believe that high-quality artist paint brushes needn’t come with high prices. ZenART brush sets are carefully crafted and specially curated for and by artists!

Turner Collection

Inspired by the renowned landscape and watercolor artist, JMW Turner, this 14-piece set has all the different types of paint brushes you need to master watercolor! These brushes are made with a combination of natural squirrel hair and synthetic hairs for extra spring and snap.

This comprehensive set also has a palette knife for mixing paint or making textural effects. And it comes in a water-resistant case, so you can continue painting nature elements en plein air while keeping your brushes safe!

Black Tulip set

The perfect brush set for essentialists is here! This six-piece synthetic brush set is specially designed for water media but can also be used with acrylic paint. Our best-selling Black Tulip set is a vegan option designed to behave like a squirrel brush.

It’s got all you need to start a brush collection: two flat brushes, two round paint brushes, a rigger brush, and a cat’s tongue brush.

Renoir Collection

Need a comprehensive set of oil or acrylic paint brushes? Check out our Renoir Collection, a 14-piece set comprised of eight different types of paint brushes:

  • Filbert brushes (5): sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12
  • Flat brushes (2), sizes 3 and a wide 1"
  • Fan brush, size 3
  • Bright brush, size 7
  • Angled brush, size 8
  • Round brush, size 2
  • Detail round brush, size 00
  • Rigger brush, size 4

Half of the paint brushes in this set are made with natural Chungking hog hair, perfect for creating texture and base coats with oil paints. The other half uses a combination of 70% badger bristles and 30% synthetic bristles, ideal for blending and brush strokes.
You also get a palette knife for mixing or making textures.

Artist’s Choice

You can't have enough filbert brushes, at least if you're playing with oil-based paints and acrylic paints. This set has six filbert brushes, in sizes 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12.

Like some of the brushes in our Renoir Collection, these filbert brushes are made with a combination of 70% badger bristles and 30% synthetic bristles. They're designed specifically for oil and acrylic painting. It gives a lot of paint coverage. As for stiffness, it's semi-firm. That is, it's soft enough for blending but stiff enough to make controlled brush strokes.

The filbert is truly the magic wand of oil and acrylic paint brushes. Compared to other brushes, the filbert brush is perhaps the most versatile. The oval-shaped end can do anything, from softening straight edges, to layering on more acrylic paint, to adding subtle highlights.

These oil-slash-acrylic brushes have long, tapered handles so you can work comfortably while painting on an easel.

Fine Line set

Here's a set for detail-obsessed artists. A whopping 12-piece synthetic paint brush set designed for oil, watercolor, and acrylic painting.

You needn't keep searching for the perfect thin brush. Zen Art's top-selling fine line brush set contains different types of paint brush shapes, all at a precise, ultra-fine point:

  • Pointed round brush (4), sizes 5/0, 2/0, 1, and 2
  • Rigger brush (3), sizes 4/0, 2/0, and 1
  • Flat brush (2), sizes 2/0 and 1
  • Angled brush, size 1
  • Filbert brush (2), size 2/0 and 0

Paint fine lines, very thin lines, or dot on minute details with these fine liners made with Japanese synthetic bristles. They mimic squirrel and kolinsky sable hair, sans the cost!

The handles are ergonomic and comfortable to grip, too. Detailing and filling corners are a lot easier with these brushes, even after hours of work!

Verbena Set

Sure there’s no one-size-fits-all brush set that fits all media, but our latest Verbena Set comes close. It’s an ultimate 17-piece starter set with most of the different types of paint brushes you need.

The Verbena Set has 14 synthetic artist brushes, two paint shapers, and a palette knife. Plus, it comes with a handy woven roll-up case!
Here’s what you get in the set:

  • Mop brush, size 1/2"
  • Slant brush, size 1"
  • Varnish, size 1½”
  • Round brush (3), sizes 4, 12, 16
  • Flat brush, size14
  • Dagger brush (2), sizes 10 and 14
  • Angled brush (2), sizes 8 and 12
  • Feather brush, size 12
  • Fan brush, size 12

Handmade with a blend of synthetic hair that hits the sweet spot between soft and firm, this set is specially designed for acrylic paints. The added tools enable you to have more fun with textures and techniques. So easy to clean, too. Not to mention, the handles are ergonomic—no more hand fatigue after hours of painting!

What are your go-to types of paint brushes?

We'd love to hear from you. How many of these different types of paint brushes have you tried? What brushes do you use the most? Which ones do you tend to overlook?

Bookmark this guide to (almost) all the types of paint brushes so you can avoid confusion next time you hit the art supply store. Or better yet, shop for your next favorite paint brushes only here on Zen Art Supplies!

For more in-depth guides, check out our previous blogs on Brush Care Tips, Cleaning Acrylic Paint Brushes, Cleaning Oil Paint Brushes, and Watercolor Brush Sizes.

Happy painting!


Belle O. Mapa is a writer and artist based in Manila, Philippines. She believes that everyone is born with an inner creative spirit—we just need to nurture and discover it on the blank page. Currently, she lives out her passion: writing stories, hosting journaling workshops, and advocating for mental health awareness.

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