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A Guide to Painting with a Fan Brush

a guide to painting with a fan brush

If you are looking for a new way to paint, fan painting may be just what you need. Fan painting is easy and fun, but it does require some preparation before getting started.

This guide will teach you the basics of fan brush painting, including how to load your fan brush with paint, what type of paint works best with fan brushes, and how to get different effects from fan brushing. Dig in to explore these helpful tips!

What to Know Before Painting with a Fan Brush?

How to Load a Fan Brush with Paint?

The first step to painting with a fan brush is loading it with paint. Here’re how to load it:

  • Hold the fan brush horizontally and dip it into the paint pot
  • Then, swirl the fan brush around in the pot to coat it evenly with paint

You can also load your fan brush by dabbing it on the edge of the paint pot. This will give you more control over how much paint you add to your fan brush.

What Type of Paint Works Best with Fan Brushes?

Fan brushes work best with fluid paint. This type of paint is easy to control and flows smoothly from the fan brush. Acrylics, inks, and watercolors all work well with fan brushes.

Suppose you are using thicker paint, such as gouache or acrylic paste. In that case, it may be difficult to get good results from fan brushing. Therefore, it is better to use a different painting technique.

How to Get Different Effects from Fan Brushing?

You may find that fan painting works well for blending colors if the paints are water-based or transparent (such as gouache). This is because fan brushes will be less likely to pick up large amounts of multiple color layers from your artwork. It is different from how they might behave on smoother surfaces like canvas boards and papers.

Fan brushes are great for creating different effects when painting! They work well with fluid paints such as acrylics, inks, and watercolors. You can use fan brushing for ombré effects, background effects, abstract patterns, fan painting, and more.

  • To create an ombré effect, start by loading your fan brush with light paint at one end and dark paint at the other end. Then fan brush from light to dark in a single stroke on your surfaces, such as paper or canvas board
  • To create background effects, fan brush with one color along an edge of your painting space instead of directly onto it. This step will reveal how much paint you added and give you new colors for mixing into later steps when the fan is brushing again over that same area
  • For abstract patterns, fans brush different colors next to each other across your painting surface for unexpected results!
  • Fan brushes are especially useful when it comes to painting landscapes, flowers, and portraits. To fan brush landscapes, fan brush a single color across the sky and then another color along the ground. You can also fan different brush colors over water to make lakes or rivers look more realistic
  • Fan brushes are also great for painting flowers. They give you control over how much paint is applied to each petal and leave spaces between your strokes to add additional details later on
  • Finally, fan brushes work well with portraits by allowing you to create thin lines around eyes and lips without having too many extra marks within those areas of the face!
  • If you would like to see some examples of fan brushing in use, check out this tutorial about using a fan brush for calligraphy, as well as these fantastic pieces of fan brush art!

Frequently Asked Questions

what to know before painting with a fan brush

How to Clean Your Fan Brush After Painting?

Fan brushes should not need much cleaning after each use unless dried paint is leftover from previous projects when the fan is brushed onto the bristles.

To clean a fan brush after painting, you can:

  • Hold it by its handle so only about an inch of bristles touch down against another surface (such as paper)
  • Gently drag the bristles against that surface until all the dried paint is gone. You can also use a toothbrush to clean fan brushes in this way
  • Once your fan brush is clean, hang it upside down by the handle to dry completely before storing away. This will keep the fan brush shape and prevent any clumping or bending of the bristles over time

How to Store Your Fan Brush?

After cleaning, fan brushes can be stored for later use in several ways:

Use the Masking Tape

  • If you have time, let the fan brush dry completely before storing it so that no water or moisture remains on it (this may take a few days)
  • Then wrap the fan brush handle with masking tape until needed again
  • You can also store fan brushes by wrapping them tightly with paper towels then placed into an airtight container until they are next used

Use a Fan Brush Case

Another way to store a fan brush is by using a fan brush case. This is a small container (usually made of plastic) with several holes to insert your fan brush handle. By doing this, you’re preventing the bristles from getting damaged and also keeping them organized together in one place.


The fan brush is great for creating contrast and texture. If you’ve tried painting with a fan brush and found it frustrating, we hope this guide has helped. Painting is an art form that can provide hours of enjoyment if approached the right way.

Get started by buying one or two brushes like these from our store, and get ready for some new adventures in creativity.

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