Brushes & Sumi Supplies
Brushes are defined by the hair.
Soft 'absorbent' hairs are suited for fluid applications. Stiff coarse hairs work best when a paint is heavy body, and allow the artist to scoop and spread their colors. Many artists prefer natural hairs, since machines can still not reproduce the beneficial characteristics of animal hair. Modern synthetic brushes, however, are often of fine quality.
Long handled brushes are for painters at an easel - short handles are for artists who work flat (and would rather not poke their eyes!) Brush hairs are arranged by skilled brushmakers into 4 basic shapes - flat (long hair that is straight and square), bright (like a flat, but the hair is shorter), round (as the name implies, a round base that comes to a tip), and filbert (a flat base with a semi-rounded top). Exotic shapes and heads are also available for specific painting techniques.
Expensive brushes have the finest hairs that are arranged by the most skilled artisans. A fine brush, if properly cared, can last a lifetime.