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Fine Detail Acrylic Paint Brushes

If you paint with acrylics, then you have undoubtably encountered a subject that required the upmost precision and attention to detail. Perhaps you tried to replicate these tiny details in your painting. Perhaps you were successful. Perhaps you weren’t.

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For many of us, these details can present a challenge that seems insurmountable. A challenge that is best avoided – at all costs! In fact, some of us may even choose to forgo a subject completely when these tiny details present themselves.

This doesn’t have to be the case. Even the smallest of details can be accurately captured in a painting. It’s simply a matter of surface choice, brush choice, and understanding how to manipulate the paint to conform to your demands.

The Problem with Painting Details

When we encounter small details in a subject, our first response is usually reaching for a smaller brush. Many times, this works out just fine. Smaller brushes are, of course, essential. But a smaller brush is not the only factor we should consider. Even with a smaller brush, if the consistency of the paint is too thick and/or the surface is too textured, then the mark we may create is flawed and may not translate into those intricate details that we’re after.

We therefore, have to consider the consistency of the paint, along with the surface texture in order to have full control over the marks that we can make. There’s more to it than just using a small brush.

Factors to Consider When Painting Small Details

We’ll first quickly take a look at the factors we should consider when tackling small details in an acrylic painting. Then, we’ll take a look at each of these factors a little closer.

Here’s what we should consider…

  • The Surface – Using a smoother surface, like gessoed masonite or illustration board, will give us greater control over tiny details compared to that of canvas. Canvas is simply a coarser surface. While small details can absolutely be developed on a canvas surface, they’re easier to achieve on a smoother one.
  • Brush Size / Type – Although a small brush is preferred, you may find that your smallest brush doesn’t produce the results that you’re after. Experiment with your smaller brushes to find which one will make the marks that you need to recreate in your painting. While any brush type can be used for detail work, most artists prefer one with a round tip. This type of brush can produce both small dots and clean lines.
  • Viscosity – Viscosity refers to the fluidity of the paint. We’ll need to adjust the viscosity in order to create fine details in a painting. Often, heavy body acrylics are too thick to produce clean details. We’ll need the paint to be fluid enough to be spread, but remain opaque enough to be visible.
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The Painting Surface

When many us think of creating an acrylic painting, we automatically think of canvas as our surface. While canvas is a great option, it’s far from the only choice we have. In fact, any surface that accepts acrylics can be used as a painting surface.

The texture of canvas is naturally coarse. Because it is so coarse, it easily accepts multiple layers of paint. It’s great for blending transitions or gradations of color and value and applying paint with thick applications. One drawback to working on canvas however, is how difficult it can be to create intricate details. They can be developed on canvas, it’s just a little more difficult. Other “canvas-esque” surfaces such as canvas board or canvas paper are even more challenging surfaces to create details.

Other smoother, more-viable, surface solutions exist. These surfaces make painting details a little easier, but lack some of the advantages of working on canvas. Let’s take a look at a few options…

Surface Option #1 – Watercolor Paper

Watercolor paper on its own, without any treatment, can be a suitable surface for acrylics. Both the cold press and hot press papers can be used. But if we want a little more rigidity, a light coat or two of gesso does the trick. This surface provides a smoother surface than canvas, but still does a fine job of accepting acrylic applications.

Surface Option #2 – Illustration Board

Paint

Illustration board is a heavier option over watercolor paper. The surface of the more popular, cold press illustration board, is similar to that of Bristol paper. Illustration board is quite a bit thicker than Bristol paper and it’s this rigidity that makes it a good choice for detail work with acrylics. One drawback of this surface is that it lacks much texture at all, but if your subject requires crisp, sharp details, this surface may be worth looking into.

Surface Option #3 – Gessoed Masonite

Masonite is an engineered wood that is rather light, but strong. When gesso is applied to the surface, it becomes an exceptional surface for painting with opaque paints like acrylics. Masonite can be purchased at a local hardware store and cut to any size you wish. You can apply gesso to the surface yourself with a sponge or large brush.

Because this surface is so popular among artists, it can be purchased as a manufactured product. The manufactured version can be purchased at most art stores. Most surfaces you’ll find are super smooth, but some companies have started to create versions with a faint tooth. The smoother version is fantastic for detail work, but will show obvious brush strokes. The slightly textured surface (used in the video above) allows for precise detailing, but also has enough tooth for gradations of value and color when the paint is applied with a thicker consistency.

Fine detail acrylic paint brushes wholesale

Brush Size / Type

Clearly, if small details are what you’re after, you’ll need to consider the brush that you use to create them. Brushes are produced in a multitude of sizes and shapes. For tiny details, I recommend using a round brush. Round brushes are capable of producing both small dots and defined lines.

In some cases, a flat brush may be a better option. If you need to create rectangular shapes or very thin straight lines, a flat brush may work better.

The small, detailed tree branches in our example are best tackled with a round brush. We can vary the stroke with a round brush easily. With more pressure, our line is a little thicker. With less pressure, the line is thinner.

As we mentioned before, the smallest brush in your collection may not be the very best option. You’ll need to experiment with the brushes that you have in order to decide which is best for your details. In my case, my smallest brush simply did not hold enough paint and did not provide enough variety in the mark. The brush I used to create the tree branches in our example was still very small (size 0), but not the smallest round brush I own (size 18/0).

See also:Brush Types

Viscosity

Heavy body acrylics are great for solid coverage of color when used without any thinning. However, for details, these acrylics are hard to control and precision is difficult. If we are to have the upmost control over the details that we create in a painting, then we must adjust the viscosity of the paint.

By adding a little solvent (in this case, water) to our paint, we can adjust the viscosity and make the paint a little easier to spread and control. But we must be careful. If we thin the paint too much, it can become translucent. If we go even further than this, we can remove the adhesion properties of the paint all together. If this happens, the paint may not stick to the surface and may even pull up some of the applications underneath.

We need to find a balance. We need the paint to be fluid enough to be spread, but also opaque enough to be visible. Finding this balance can be tricky and requires a little practice and experimentation. But once you find the right balance, it can be a real “game changer”.

Painting Tiny Tree Branches

Artist fine detail brushes

Let me conclude here by leaving you with a few tips for painting tiny tree branches, since this is what initially served as the inspiration for this lesson.

Tip #1 – Pull Strokes as the Tree Grows

Begin with the basic structure, or skeleton, of the tree by painting the trunk and largest branches. Pull strokes upward, just as the tree grows. Allow the strokes to taper as the larger branches and trunk becomes thinner.

This same approach can be taken for even the smallest of branches. For the smaller branches, start your stroke from the trunk or larger branch and pull outward.

Tip #2 – Avoid “Scrubbing”

Scrubbing refers to the action of moving the brush back and forth to apply the paint. Scrubbing is best reserved for creating textures or covering larger areas. The branches on a tree are best developed using a deliberate stroke that flows in one direction. Resist the urge to move the brush back and forth.

Tip #3 – Create Organic Lines

A tree is a living, organic subject. Organic subjects are best depicted in a painting with organic marks. Your strokes should move and change direction in an unpredictable manner. Perfect, straight lines should be avoided. A little “wiggle” in the stroke will lead to a more realistic appearance.

Tip #4 – Don’t Paint Every Branch, But Include More Than You Think

A mistake that some beginners make is including too few branches. This doesn’t mean that you need to include every single branch that you observe. Including every branch may make the painting look confusing or busy. Instead, we nee to find a balance between what we observe and what we include in the painting. Many times, we need to include more branches than we think, but be careful not to include too many. Evaluate your painting as you work to find that perfect balance.

Tip #5 – Branches Are More Concentrated Closer to the Outer Edges

If we closely observe a tree, we’ll notice that the branches are more heavily concentrated near the outer edges. This should also be reflected in our painting. The core of the tree will likely have a lesser concentration of smaller branches and may even be completely open.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you can see that tiny details are completely achievable in a painting. We just need to consider a few things if we are to find success. The surface, brush size and type, along with the viscosity of the paint makes all the difference.

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An artist’s greatest tool is their brushes. From having better control on the amount of paint applied to achieving more precise line work, the right kind of brush plays a huge role.

But will buying a set which is considered as one of the best model brushes among your peers be enough? Well, the answer to this question is No”.

When choosing a brush set going for the brand or depending upon the compliments from your acquaintances will not do at all. You have to select a brush set which suits your style, preference and budget. In fact, choosing the wrong brush set can potentially destroy your creative output and not getting the desired result will cause frustration.

Thus, to make sure that you can buy a brush set that suits you, here a buyer’s guide along with reviews of the 4 most well-loved sets have been provided. So, without further ado, here we go:

ModelSize, packPaint typeRaiting
Paint 12pc12acrylic, watercolor, oil4.7
MyArtscape12acrylic, watercolor, gouache, oil 4.5
Virtuoso15acrylic, watercolor, oil4.7
Nicpro15acrylic, watercolor, oil4.6
We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers, and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer.

Paint 12pc by D’Artisan Shoppe – Best for Beginners

Aren’t you tried of flaking paint on handles? The manufacturer claims that designing them like this will allow the user to reach small or tight spots or points and get precise outcome. Micro detailing on figurines, airplanes, cars, dolls, ships and other models can be done with accuracy.

The design plays a huge role and the set contains fine tipped brushes. The company also mentioned that these brushes can be used for rock painting and creating illustrations of botanical or wildlife.

To make sure that the user does not have to deal with these anymore, the manufacturer has attempted to prefect the design of the brushes by including painted wood handles that are 7 layered (UV coated).

The model brush set contains 12 pieces, and if you are a beginner then they will be plenty to master your craft. It is an affordable synthetic alternative option which contains 12 miniature paint brushes which includes Flats (0 and 1), Liners (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1), Rounds (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1), Brush Holder and Dust Bag to keep moths away. It is hand crafted individually and also double crimped which provide non-loose ferrules or bristles.

  • The synthetic best model brushes set is suitable to work with different types of paints like oil, watercolor, enamels, acrylic, gouache and also citadel.
  • It is designed with ergonomic handles (triangular shaped) which allows the user to work with them for a long time minimizing the downsides of fatigue.
  • It comes with portable case (plastic) which allows easy storage and also helps to carry it anywhere. The company also provides a dust bag which provides extra protection.
  • All round brushes come with protective covers to reach you in pristine condition.
  • Easy To Clean – 7 layers of UV coated paint on handles means no flaking paint off your handles.
  • If not taken care of properly, the synthetic hair tend to fall off.
  • Not suitable for professionals.

MyArtscape – Best Value for Money (Best Price)

The detail paint brush set containing 12 pieces happens to feature the best Korean filament as per the manufacturer and also promises to have durable handles that do not lose their shape overtime.

Aren’t we all tried of the brushes losing their shape constantly?

The manufacturer even paid attention when it comes to the quality of the brushes.

The company has their very own expert quality control staff whose job is to thoroughly check each brush in a quality (multi-point) test. It is made with synthetic hair which is known for providing a professional outcome. Special attention is given to the bristles as well. It is known to be anti-shedding and is easy to clean.

The company even uses robust, strong packaging which ensures the ferrules or hair is not damaged in transit.

It is a great value for money product as at an affordable price, the company is providing Flats (0 and 1), Liners (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1) and Rounds (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1). With these 12 brushes, the user can enjoy art painting, detailed face or portrait painting, wargaming, model airplanes, miniatures, airplanes, army figurines and Warhammer 40K.

  • The brushes are super fine which allows detailing with ease.
  • It claims to have durable handles as well.
  • It comes with a 1-year replacement guarantee and can be returned without any hassle.
  • The handles or the shape is not ergonomic.
  • Does not come with a box or bag for storing.

Virtuoso – The All-Rounder, Perfect for all (Editor’s Choice)

Are you a beginner trying to find best model brushes to start? Are you a professional looking for a set to take your craft to the next level? Or are you looking for set with which you can practice with and then use it after you have become an expert? Keeping these needs in mind, the manufacturer tried their best to produce this15-piece set made with good quality, durable materials.

The specialty of this set is that the brushes have thicker and shorter handles. The designing of the handles allows the user to use it comfortably while being able to produce precise lines. The Korean filament are super fine and comes with anti-shedding bristles.

If you are beginner then you can enjoy the desired outcome without putting too much effort as it is design to provide easy gripping and perfect balance. At the same time, the design allows you to carry on with the work without causing strain in a professional’s hand and they can enjoy a frustration-free experience.

The 15 pieces consist of a wide range of brushes including Flats (0 and 1), Rounds (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1) and Liners (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1). As per the manufacturer, the user can paint with oil, enamel, watercolor and acrylic paints. The bristles play a huge role behind the popularity of this brush set. It is made withfaux hair which a durable and crimped securely ferrules that can use for face painting, miniatures, adult coloring books, different complex figurines, models and doll houses. The company even mentioned that the paint brushes can be used for nail art as well.

Fine
  • All brushes are inspected by experts and packaged in such a way so that they are not damaged in transit.
  • Made to be durable and long-lasting.
  • It comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
  • It is not suitable for all types of paints.
  • It is bit on the expensive side.

Nicpro – Professional’s Go-To Choice

Are you a professional looking for that best model brushes that can cater to all your artistic needs?

This 15-piece set is known to be a favorite of many professionals who swears by this brush.

The best thing about this brush set is their uniquely designed handles.

The handles are triangular shaped and designed to be ergonomic. They are made with 7 layers of birch wood painted to have a great look and it comes with silk touch as well.
Paint

As per the manufacturer, the design of the handles was made in this unique shape for two reasons. Firstly, the user can paint with them for hours without issues like straining or cramping. And secondly, the design prevents them from rolling away keeping the workspace organized and clean or mess-free.

With this model brush set you will get Spot (0 and 1), Flats (2/0, 0 and 1), Rounds (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1) and Liners (4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 0 and 1). With these brushes achieving fine detailing work will be made easy. The company claims that the brushes can be used to paint on action figures, models, doll houses, dolls, rocks and other such subjects. If you mainly work with watercolor, oil and acrylic then this brush might will help your work.

  • It is made with synthetic hair which do not cause hair shedding or splitting.
  • The company provides a portable container made with good quality plastic and a dust bag which helps the user to protect the brushes as long as possible.
  • It comes with a no-question-asked replacement or refund.
  • It is not suitable for all kinds of paints.
  • It is bit expensive.

Buyer’s Guide for best model brushes

Contents:

  • Should I purchase faux hair or synthetic hair?
  • Will long handle be good choice for me or short handles?
  • Which size of paint brushes will be best for me?
  • Does buying a brush set with guarantee means perfect purchase?

To help you further understand which brush set will be the right one for you, here are some common FAQs which you need take into consideration when buying a model brush set:

Should I purchase faux hair or synthetic hair?

Synthetic hair tends to get stiffer when wet (allowing precise outcome easily) and works best with acrylics, whereas with faux hair not only you can achieve fine strokes you can add a subtle softness to your work.

Will long handle be good choice for me or short handles?

The purpose of long and short handles is to create a desired distance from the painting surface. While long handles work best when you are working on a model/figurine, short handles are usually the standard size of a pencil or pen which feels more comfortable. Short handles are best for beginners while long handles provide much advantage allowing a beginner to turn into a professional with practice.

Which size of paint brushes will be best for me?

Art Paint Brushes

Even if you tend to work on somewhat similar subjects, having a wide range of options to work with will help you to improve craft. So, it will be best to go for a set which offers a wide range of sizes rather than few standard sizes.

Fine Acrylic Paint Brushes

Does buying a brush set with guarantee means perfect purchase?

All the best model brushes set comes with some kind of guarantee, however to truly get the best out of your brushes, maintaining and cleaning is a must. Even though buying brush set with a guarantee acts as a safety net, make sure to buy durable and easy to clean brushes to maintain the brushes’ integrity for years to come.

There you have it; reviews of some of the best model brush sets and also a buying guide to help you choose the right one for you. It has been said that these manufacturers are looking for ways to further develop their designs yet as of they work perfectly. So by taking the things mentioned here into consideration, shopping for the right model brush set for your work will be an easy task.