There are 5 ways to hold a paint brush. Each hold allows for just the right pressure for your hand, based on the stroke/imprint you desire. Now, what you can’t see in these pictures, is the rest of your arm. The position of your elbow and shoulder along with your body movements are equally as important as how you hold a brush. But for now, we’ll just look at the hand movements. Pierre Finkelstein of Pierre Finkelstein Institute of Decorative Painting will show you how.
Grab the brush as close to the ferrule as possible. This hold is best for optimum stability and accuracy.
Grab the brush at the tip of the handle, like a conductor’s baton. Pinkie up for style! This hold is ideal for veining faux marble, using a softener to “tickle” the surface, or striping with a striping edge. Just because your hand is at the end of the brush, doesn’t mean you cannot control the stroke. However, this hold takes practice.
Grasp the entire handle like a drummer’s stick. As you can see by these images, the actual hold varies, but the idea is constant. By holding the brush in the middle, you can apply less pressure and still have full control of the brush. This hold is used with the flogger, which requires a unique “whipping” motion, to sketch out heart grain for walnut with a tooth spalter or to create the whispy side grains for wood using a tooth veinette.
Hold with an open grip, as if holding a baseball. This hold comes naturally, especially when grabbing a sponge. Also, you can stipple all day with this comfortable grip, that’s why Pierre designed this stippler.
Hold the brush between the thumb and the fingers. Pinch either the hairs or the ferrule to mimic a quacking duck. This hold is most often used with a spalter to create moiré’s for woodgraining.