How to use a Flat Paint Brush
Learn how to use a flat paint brush with some of my favorite painting techniques. We’ll discuss how and when is the right time to use one.
Welcome to the first installment of my brush series, where we’ll explore the many techniques and uses of different paint brushes. Most people just beginning to paint struggle to know which paintbrush is best to use for any certain technique. That’s exactly why I created this series!
The first brush we are going to talk about is the flat brush, one of the most versatile and commonly used brushes in painting.
In my examples in the video below, I have two different sizes of flat brushes, a large 3/4 inch and a small 1/4 inch. The large flat brush is probably my favorite and most used paintbrush!
Flat Paint Brush Acrylic Painting Techniques
There are many ways to use a flat brush! I am sharing some of my favorites below.
The large flat brush is perfect for backgrounds and blending. You can quickly fill in a section by using the wide bristles brush to cover surfaces. Make sure you load your brush up with plenty of paint. You will know you have the right amount if it glides smoothly.
If you start seeing streaks of gaps in your paint, don’t make the common mistake of continuing the add a wet layer onto a wet layer of paint. You will end up with gloppy paint and not successfully covering the streaks. Instead, let the first layer dry and then put a second coat on.
Another technique I love to use a large flat brush for is dry brushing. This technique uses very little paint on the brush which is why it is called “dry brushing.” With that little bit of paint on a dry brush, lightly drag it across the painting surface to achieve a rustic or textured look.
A flat brush is great for blending two paint colors to create a gradient effect. When the colors are still wet, overlap them to blend. Move quickly when blending to get that nice transition. Get my full Basics in Blending Acrylic Paint lesson on my blog HERE.
This blending technique is great for painting skies, creating sunsets, water, etc. I’ve used this technique on more paintings than I can count!
The next painting technique I like to use a flat brush for creates bold texture. This is actually one of my favorites because it’s messy and free! This texture is created with what I call the Art of Not Blending.
Use a flat brush to overlap colors in short, quick brush strokes in different directions.
Don’t stay connected to your canvas. Be sure you are picking your brush up and setting it back down so you don’t over-blend.
I highlight my Art of Not Blending technique in my Spring Path painting tutorial HERE. Check it out to learn how to layer different paint colors without making them look muddy.
Flat paintbrushes are ideal for making straight edges. Use a flat brush for straight edges when painting shapes like squares or rectangles.
It’s also perfect for creating a smooth horizon line. Load with plenty of paint and pull in one smooth direction across the canvas.
Easy Evergreen Trees
One of the last things I want to show you about painting with a flat brush is a super easy way to paint evergreen trees.
Start with a tree trunk as an outline and use short strokes to create the branches. Overlap the brush strokes to widen the foliage as you work your way down.
This is by far one of the easiest ways to paint some quick evergreen trees. Check out the video below to see how simple these trees are to paint. Get a more in-depth lesson on how to use a flat brush to paint evergreen trees and create shadows and highlights in your paintings HERE.
Remember, these are just a few techniques you can use with a flat brush. Experiment and see what works best for you. I highly recommend grabbing a mixed media pad and working through these brush strokes until you are comfortable with them.
With practice, you’ll master the flat brush and be able to create a variety of beautiful paintings using these techniques.
Learn All About My Favorite Flat Paint Brush Painting Techniques
There is a ton of valuable information inside this quick video, and I hope it helps you along in your painting journey! Whether you have never painted before or you’re just perfecting your technique, you can find lots of tips and tricks here!
Download your FREE brush guide where I give you a breakdown of what brushes to use for what techniques and how to take care of your brushes, so they keep their shape and last you a long time!
Learn more about paintbrushes in my Acrylic Paint Brush Series
- EPISODE 1: The Flat Paint Brush
- EPISODE 2: The Angled Paint Brush
- EPISODE 3: The Fan Paint Brush
- EPISODE 4: The Round Paint Brush
- EPISODE 5: The Filbert Paint Brush
- EPISODE 6: The Rake Brush
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