Painting Basics: How to Hold a Brush

They say we must learn to walk before we can run. The same goes with mastering techniques in art. Beginning Oil shows you how to get started by mastering the basics, starting with how to hold a brush.



Starting to paint can feel daunting, but you can learn techniques that will help you along your way. Even master painters practice their strokes with oil sketches. Practice will eventually help you create a painting that looks free and effortless. Experimentation is also an important part of painting. As you progress, don’t be afraid to try new ideas.


There are different ways to hold your paintbrush. Each will give your painting a different effect. Also, the type of grip you use will vary depending upon the size of your brush. Experiment to see which of the following three grips works best for your painting style.


To create fine details, hold your brush gently, like you would a pencil or pen. Grip it close to the bristles. Practice this grip by signing your name in oil paint on a paper canvas.


For a looser style of painting, hold your brush toward the bottom, away from the bristles. Hold it as if you’re conducting an orchestra with a baton.


When you’re blocking in large areas of color, you’ll want to hold your brush with your hand over its top. Hold it parallel to the canvas to quickly apply the paint.

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Beginning Oil Tips and techniques for learning to paint in oilBeginning Oil teaches aspiring artists everything they need to get started with oil painting.

A well-rounded introduction to the art of basic oil painting, Beginning Oil describes and explains everything needed to paint your own oil masterpieces, including tools and materials, color essentials and theory, design and composition, still life painting, landscape painting, plein air painting, and more. Basic oil techniques are clearly explained and beautifully illustrated, allowing readers to master key concepts and then put them into practice. Step-by-step exercises then allow aspiring artists to mimic and practice each technique within a larger work, making oil painting approachable and accessible to artists of all skill levels.