There are many painting knives and palette knives available for artists today. Both are a valuable part of the artist’s kit and the names are often used interchangeably. Although at first glance both look the same, a painting knife is quite different to a palette knife. Both are available in metal and plastic.
The Painting Knife
A painting knife has a springy blade, with a deeply angled handle which allows the artist to put paint on the canvas without their knuckles touching wet paint. In advanced painting it is a useful tool to apply textured and thick paint and bright, sharper, marks in a painting.
The Palette Knife
The palette knife has a straight handle and is therefore difficult to paint with due to the angle needed to keep the artist’s knuckles out of the wet paint. It is used for picking up and moving paint around the palette or removing paint from the palette to clean-up. If paint needs to be removed from a canvas the palette knife is ideal. It is sometimes used to mix paint also, especially when larger quantities are needed.
below: palette knife with straight handle and blade
Both the palette knife and the painting knife come in all different shapes and sizes.