Introduction to Miniature or Spotter Brushes

A miniature or spotter brush is a round brush that has had the hair – the brush head – clamped at the fullest part – the belly – so that the hair emerging from the ferrule is much shorter than that of other round brushes. The shorter hair has less flexibility and, therefore, can be controlled better.

The extra control that is offered makes this type of brush ideal for very fine detail and precision work and, so, is favoured by painters of miniatures, model-makers and restorers. Where a round brush can deliver a differing thickness of mark depending on which part of the brush head is being pressed against the surface, the miniature gives less flourish and more consistency of line.

Compared to round brush marks, much more detail can be achieved with the miniature

A common misconception is that miniatures come in smaller sizes than normal rounds. The size of a brush, although not standardised, is generally based on the diameter or width of the widest part of the brush head and, so, you will find miniatures and rounds in the some of the same sizes – 000 to 6 being common to both brush types. It is only the length of hair that differs.

A round can achieve the same fineness of line as a miniature because they will, both, be shaped to a fine point but, because the shorter hair can only hold a limited amount of colour and so deliver a smaller amount of colour to the surface, the mark can be delivered more accurately.

The length of the hair also makes the artist hold the brush more as if they were holding a pen rather than a brush. This ‘angled’ pen position enables the artist to position and move the brush with more precise movements.

Miniatures come in natural hair and synthetic fibres from the softer end of the spectrum and can be used with a wide range of media although it should be noted that, if you are using a natural hair like Sable with acrylic or oil paints, extra special care should be taken to clean the brush and a shorter life span should be expected of it.

The full range of Series 7 Miniatures are available from Curtisward