Brush Tips 02 – The Flat Brush

My painting tips for the next several months will concentrate on all the types of brushes we use in One Stroke painting. I will start with the most common and work down to what I call my ‘specialty’ brushes; the brushes that have a specific purpose.

I will describe the brush, the purpose of the brush, how to double load, and finally how to use.

When I started my One Stroke career, we basically had 3 brushes – a flat, a scruffy, and a script liner. With these 3 types of brushes we were able to paint everything – the chisel edge stroke, the tear drop, the One Stroke leaf and Wiggle leaf, the shell stroke, and more. In my beginner or basic classes, these are the brushes I start you out with. As we move into intermediate and advance level classes, my projects incorporate the other type of brushes.

So, let us begin with the basic flat brush.

One Stroke Flat Brush


The flat brush comes in all sizes; from a small #2 (which is about 1/8 of an inch) to an oversized 3”. The size of brush to use is dependent on your project. For example, you would not use a large 2” brush to paint a rose on a 2” x 2” mini canvas, but you could use a 2” to paint the background of a 16” x 20” canvas.

Characteristics of flat brushes are:
Straight or square end
Sharp chisel edge
Long bristles
Holds a lot of paint

Uses of the flat side of the brush include:

Uses of the chisel edge include:
Vines and branches
Flower stems
Scroll and line work

Adding paint to a flat brush (size 6 and higher):
I use the traditional method of double loading paint to my flat brush. I still follow the original steps –
1. On my palette, I add the two colors of paint I will be using. The puddles are about two fingers (the width of) apart.
2. I dip one corner of the brush into the lighter color of paint
3. I dip the other corner of the brush into the darker color of paint

Now look at your brush: Do the colors form a ‘V’ on your brush?

4. On the palette in between the two puddles of paint, stroke the flat side of the brush back and forth
Just one stroke in each direction
Do not turn your brush
Press the bristles down as you stroke

Repeat steps 2 through 4 two more times.

Now look at your brush: Do you see paint 2/3’s up the bristles from the chisel edge to the ferrule?

If yes, you are ready to paint.
If no, you need to add more paint. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until your brush is fully loaded.

Adding paint to a flat brush (size 2 through 6):
The smaller flat brushes can be difficult to double load using the corner dip method. For the smaller sizes, I fully load my brush in the lighter color and then dip one corner into the darker color. I blend on palette – just like the larger brushes.