An Artist’s Guide to Choosing the Right Paintbrush Shape With Marcula Stauffer

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Marcula Stauffer Choosing the Right Paintbrush Shape Marcula Stauffer Choosing the Right Paintbrush Shape

An Artist’s Guide to Choosing the Right Paintbrush Shape With Marcula Stauffer

All paint brushes might look similar, but Marcula Stauffer breaks down the distinct uses for each type.

Before you begin painting, imagine what type of mark you’d like to make on the canvas. Do you want to add detail to an object with a thin, soft line? Maybe you’re starting with the background and need to cover a large surface area quickly. With so many ways to execute your painting, choosing the right brush shape is critical to acquiring the desired end result. After many years of experience in the studio, Marcula Stauffer explains various uses for common paintbrush shapes.

Flat Brush

This brush is recognizable by its wide, square shape while also being flat and thin. Marcula Stauffer recommends this style of a paintbrush for its ability to create both broad, wide brushstrokes and thin brushstrokes. Simply paint it straight on or flip it to the narrow edge. The longer the hairs, the more paint this brush will hold!

Round Brush

This classic shape can be bought with a point or blunt tip. The harder you press down on the canvas, the bigger the stroke you create. For fine detail, Marcula Stauffer suggests the pointed round with light pressure. This is the brush of choice for outlining, small areas, and lines.


Yes, this is a paintbrush, not a person! This style is unique because it will provide a wide variety of marks and wear down slowly with regular use. A worn down Filbert transforms into a brush that’s excellent for dry brushing or smearing. Marcula Stauffer notes that this shape of the brush is one of the most popular among experienced artists for blending and painting plants.

Fan Brush

This brush looks exactly like it sounds and has soft bristles in the shape of a fan. This shape is ideal for creating small feathery marks and texture effects. Marcula Stauffer often uses this paintbrush to soften edges, flick paint, or make small strokes for things like grass or hair. It’s also the brush of choice for landscape elements like clouds or trees.

Angular Flat

This shape is very similar to the flat brush listed above but has an angled end providing a precise tip. An angular flat paintbrush is perfect for filling in corners or edges while covering a good amount of space. If you’re worried about coloring outside the lines, this style is sure to help you stay precise!