Art Supplies: The Skinny on Brushes
Ordering art supplies can be a daunting experience. It’s hard to know what kind of paper works best, which set of oil pastels to buy and what will end up gathering dust. In this series of posts, I hope to shed some light on the most popular art supplies for elementary school kids.
Today’s Feature: Brushes!
Having the right brush can mean the difference between a satisfied artist and a frustrated one. It’s taken me a while, but I now have a favorite brand and feel confident recommending it to you:
I love the plastic handles and the soft rubber grip. The plastic handles mean that you won’t have to deal with peeling paint typical of the wooden brushes. If you’re not an art teacher who will benefit from the assorted sizes, don’t worry. The brushes come in smaller packs. The ones I use most often are the large red square tips and the large green round tips. The small green tips are especially useful for applying a black painted outline. I do this often so a small brush is very important in my art room.
If you are a classroom teacher, I don’t recommend packs. They just aren’t necessary. For most tempera and watercolor paint projects any school grade medium round brushes (size 8 or 10) will do the trick. These are all you need. For detailed work, have on hand some small round brushes (size 2 or 4). I don’t have a favorite brand but my advice is to look through an art catalog like Dick Blick, Sax or Enasco and search for brushes designed for tempera and watercolor. Buy whatever fits your budget.
For Kinder through to at least 3rd grade, stock up on enough Crayola “So Big” brushes for the class. I’m not brand particular here, so just buy the cheapest ones. The idea is to get the paint on the paper as fast as possible.
If you like to use acrylic paint (I don’t) then you’ll need stiff bristle paint brushes that can stand up to the paint. The pack on the left is about $15 for 24 brushes. Remember, if you use acrylic paint, you must clean your brushes very well. If not, plan on throwing out those brushes.
I have collected many different types of brushes and the ones I always wish I had more of are oval wash brushes. These are the large soft brushes that can absorb lots of water–or watercolor paint in my case. I like to use them to apply a broad layer of watercolor paint over a resist like oil pastel. Kids love the ease of the paint application and it’s speeds up the art process too!
I hope you find this list a little bit helpful. If you have questions, chime in!
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