Artist Brush Buying Guide

Your Guide to Selecting the Right Brush

Kolibri Brushes​​​​​​

There are numerous manufacturers making artists' brushes today. Unfortunately, there are no standards for sizes, and there is some confusion about the types of hairs and bristles used to make them. The fact that there is no size standard makes it very challenging for artists to choose the right brush for any given project. Many artists follow the guidance of other artists and teachers, but in the end, we must learn to choose the brushes that adhere to our own standards and painting techniques. By selecting the right brush, we can take our paintings to the next level, and if we properly care for them, they can last for years.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Our brushes are made by Kolibri, a German company that has been making brushes by hand for over 121 years. Our guide will make it easy to choose the best brush for your work.​​​​​​​

Brush Sizes Explained

Artist brush sizes are confusing because each brush manufacturer has its own size standard. To make your selection easier, we provide the dimensions in inches and millimeters of the hair or tuft length for each brush size in the online catalog. The length of the handles is also supplied on each product page.


Kolibri Russian Polecat Brushes​​​​​​

Russian Polecat is somewhat softer than mongoose but retains its strength and snap like sable (weasel). The silver-plated brass ferrule of each Kolibri Russian Polecat brush receives two deep crimps. Deep crimping compresses the walls of the ferrule into the wooden handle, creating a mechanical lock that securely fastens the ferrule to the handle.

Hardwood Handles

The long green polished handles are made of hardwood and are lacquer finished for long life. Only the best brush handles are dipped. They are made by lowering the handles first in primer, then twice in colored lacquer, and finally in varnish—a total of four coats—for a lustrous durable finish. For ease of handling in both a pencil or palm grip, the hardwood handles are 25 cm (10 in.) from the ferrule to the handle end. The long handle permits you to stand back from the painting while working to have a better view of your subject.

Russian Polecat Bright Brushes​​​​​​

When pressed sideways, brights create broad and bold brush strokes. Use the sharp edge to create thinner lines with fluid paint. These brushes are ideal for acrylic, oil, and tempera paint.

Russian Polecat Round Brushes​​​​​​

When pressed sideways, brights create broad and bold brush strokes. Use the sharp edge to create thinner lines with fluid paint. These brushes are ideal for acrylic, oil, and tempera paint.

Kolibri Pure Red Sable Brushes​​​​​​

The hair used to make these brushes comes from the tail of a species that is a member of the weasel family found in many parts of the world. Weasel's hair is considered one of the strongest, with excellent spring and the ability to hold its shape. These brushes hold a very fine point or edge and are wonderful for oils, acrylics, and tempera painting. The ferrule of each Kolibri Pure Red Sable brush receives two deep crimps. Deep crimping compresses the walls of the ferrule into the wooden handle, creating a mechanical lock that securely fastens the ferrule to the handle.

Red Sable Bright Brushes​​​​​​

​​When pressed sideways, brights create broad and bold brush strokes. Use the sharp edge to create thinner lines with fluid paint. These brushes are ideal for acrylic, oil, and tempera paint.

Red Sable Round Brushes

​​​​​​​​The pointed round has long hair length, which is ideal for painting the sharpest details with fluid paint. These brushes are ideal for acrylic, oil, and tempera paint.


Featured Brushes

  1. Synthetic Golden Sable Varnish Brush
    Synthetic Golden Sable Varnish Brush

    Starting at €16.45

    - +
  2. Synthetic Mottler/ Varnish Brush
    Synthetic Mottler/ Varnish Brush

    Starting at €17.95

    - +
  3. Pure Red Sable Bright Brush

    Starting at €7.45

    - +
  4. Pure Red Sable Round Brush

    Starting at €7.40

    - +
  5. Red Sable Detail Brush

    Starting at €8.90

    - +

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