Sunday, 27 September 2020

let's talk about : watercolour brushes

My current favourite watercolour brushes


I've been getting a lot of questions about my brushes lately, so I thought it was time to give you a list.

From left to right -

  • Large 1.5" flat. 
    Daler-Rowney, Skyflow
    Mostly for pre-wetting skies with clean water, and sometimes for painting large skies too. Only for studio use.
  • Smaller 1" flat
    Unfortunately name has worn off.
    Fantastic for painting around things where you want a hard edge. For example where a building juts into a sky. Flat brushes offer so much more control where you want a sharp line, than a round brush can.
  • Largish round brush
    Kaerell Raphael, No2
    This brush holds a lot of water, so it's wonderful for wet in wet washes. I use it mainly when I'm painting a large area (eg sky or fields) and I need to work fast, but not super accurately (as it's point is not overly sharp). Only for studio use.
  • Largish round brush
    Escoda Versatil No12, travel version
    If I could only have one brush, this would be it. I can paint almost a whole medium to small painting with it. It holds a lot of water, has excellent spring and makes a very sharp point. So it's both good for big, wet washes, and for tiny detailed work. This brush goes everywhere with me.
  • Small round brush
    Escoda Perla No8, travel version
    A lovely compliment to the Versatil, for when I want a little more accuracy or finer lines. It doens't hold as much water as the Versatil, but it has great snap and a very sharp point, making it easier to control. This brush also goes everywhere with me.
  • Small round brush
    Escoda Perla No4, travel version
    I would have preferred a No2, to complete the set of travel brushes that go everywhere with me, but none were available in New Zealand. Since I'm not really a fussy detail person, this size still works fine for me for small details like grasses, branches, leaf veins etc.
  • Super tiny brush
    Escoda Perla No0
    Who am I kidding? I don't usually have the patience for detail that requires a brush of this size. Haha! But, sometimes, you know, a teeny-tiny brush is just the ticket. And then you want one that is tough and snappy.
  • Small cat-tounge brush
    Van Gogh No8
    A cheaper, stiffer flat brush is great for scrubbing and lifting out colour. I wouldn't do this with one of my better brushes, as it can ruin them. So this brush works a treat.
  • Fine rigger brush
    Not shown
    For branches, rigging, grasses I do use a rigger brush. For studio use only, because it's just too delicate to carry anywhere.

  • The three travel brushes fold up and I pop them in my pencil case to take everywhere with me. They go travelling, hiking and then back to the studio. They're my workhorses and I love them. I did spend a lot of time researching the brushes that I felt would work for me and I really think I've found them. Although if Escoda made a larger Versatil travel brush, I'd be in!
  • I don't have a lot of brushes, because learning a new brush takes quite some time. It becomes an extension of your hand and learning a new snap or "flop" can take a while to accomplish. Each brush also holds a different amount of water, so knowing what's on your brush takes a while to become second nature. So my advice is to do some research, buy the best you can afford, then practise, practise, practise before adding a new tool to the bag. There! I hope I just saved you a fortune :-)
  • All the brushes are synthetic and work as well as natural fibre. I can't see the point of animal cruelty for the making of artist brushes, when synthetic works just the same (and will probably last much, much longer).

Where I bought my brushes...

  • The Escoda brushes I bought in New Zealand from Takapuna Art Supplies, or directly from Escoda when I was in Spain.
  • The Raphael I bought at Dalbe in France. Wish I'd bought a bigger one as well when I could!

Happy painting! Any questions, please give me a shout.

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