Does your brush size matter? Best Illumination Brushes

One of the things I get repeatedly asked is my brush size and I find this a very odd question. I would get it if you ask me about the brand of brushes I use, but the size? It is very relative to what you are painting. It does not matter if I am using size zero if your pattern is much bigger and requires a size 2 brush. The size of the brush you need is relative to the size of pattern you are painting. My brushes range from 1 to 10/zeros. Yes my painting scale is very tiny and it only gets smaller. Although, I am playing with the idea of going bigger with bigger brushes, but that’s a story for another time.

The brand of brushes depend on your geographical location. The UK has a wonderful collection of various brush brands that can be suitable for the art of Islamic illumination, some places like Saudi and even Australia might not have a great selection, so do not be discouraged by the type of brush you have to get. Just start with what you have available because practicing is better than the perfect brush. I mentioned some of my Islamic illumination tools previously, but some of you need more information, so here you go!

Best Brushes for Islamic illumination

Brushes suitable for the art of Islamic illumination

  • Rosemary and Co is my absolute favourite and I like that is local in the UK. They have SO many types and I use their Series 33, pure Kolinsky Sable brushes.

  • Windsor & Newton is another reliable brand for brushes and can be found in most places. They have a few sizes and types as well. I use their standard series 7.

  • Da Vinci brush is popular amongst illumination artists. I have a few and they are okay, but I prefer the other two brands.

What is the best illumination brush?

Instead of answering you with the size and the brand I use of the perfect illumination brush, let me tell you the qualities I look for in a painting brush:

  • Brush suitable for watercolours and gouache colours, so a fine brush

  • Natural hair is always preferable like sable hair, squirrel or cat. I like to make sure they are cruelty free.

  • Long tip to help me reach the mini details that I have in the pattern.

Here are few suggested brushes that you might like based on all the above

Suggested brushes for UK students:

Suggested brushes for US students:

What is the best outlining brush?

I look for the same qualities above, but look for a finer and smaller brush and in most cases I end up using the 5 or the 10 zeros. I have not used smaller than that and I don’t think I will. The 10 zeros is very tiny and frail and I think smaller than that won’t give me sufficient ink coverage. You can even get away with a 2 or 3 zeros if you have really good control because the thickness of the lines come from the pressure you are applying as well.

The video below has a little bit about the outlining brushes and the types I already have, which might help you further.

I hope you found this post useful to find the best brush that is suitable to you.

Ps. Some of the links in this post are affiliates meaning, I get a small commission to support this content with no extra cost to you. Read full disclaimer.

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