Watercolor Techniques #1 : Favorite Tools

I get a ton of questions about watercolor techniques - what I paint with, how I paint, and what I paint on. In this three part series, I hope to answer some of your questions!  

First off, the brand of brush doesn't matter at all. I use a mix of cheap brushes and some more high quality ones that my parents have handed down to me, and I really don't feel strongly one way or the other- so don't feel intimidated about what to buy! It's all about how you use the tool, not what brand it is.

A "good" brush (in my opinion) has these two qualities: 

  1. Doesn't shed bristles
  2. Holds its shape when wet 

When shopping for brushes, touch them! See what they feel like. Tug the bristles a little & make sure they don't fall out - nothing is more annoying than picking out hair from a painting. Leow-Cornell makes some fantastic cheap sets that will last for years! And don't be afraid to return something that doesn't work out for you. 

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(^this gif is sexy isn't it?)

#1 The Round Fluffy Brush

The round fluffy brush can be used for soft washes, irregular blobs, and splattered texture. Using a dry round brush, you can create a plethora of quick dots that work wonderfully in creating vegetation & splashing water textures.  If you want your painting to have a "soft" delicate feeling, go with the round fluffy brush. Every mark it makes is gentle and a little unpredictable, which I really love.

SOFT ROUND FLUFFY BRUSH 

SOFT ROUND FLUFFY BRUSH 

#2: The Flat Brush

A flat brush is great for applying straight line washes, quick squares & lines. If you need a straight edge in your painting, a flat brush is by far the easiest way to achieve this. It's a wonderful tool for clean lines. It also layers beautifully over itself for a nice geometric effect.

ONE INCH SOFT FLAT BRUSH 

ONE INCH SOFT FLAT BRUSH 

HALF INCH SOFT FLAT BRUSH

HALF INCH SOFT FLAT BRUSH

#3: The Waterbrush

The waterbrush is probably my most used tool. It has a squeezable barrel that you fill up with water (or ink), that you squeeze to wet the brush while you work. This gives you full control over the water content of the paint, allowing for lots of fun blending and organic shapes. The pointed brush tip also allows you to create a ton of patterns & lines just like a marker. It's a super versatile tool that I highly highly recommend! 

WATERBRUSH 

WATERBRUSH 

#4: Fan Brush

The fan brush is a funny little tool that has the most textural possibilities (in my opinion). When totally wet, you can achieve a wash of color that sits somewhere between a flat & round brush. When the brush is a little dryer, you can create lines, stripes, and fun stippling patterns. 

FAN BRUSH

FAN BRUSH

Thanks for reading! Follow me on instagram @_wildhumm and share photos with hashtag #wildhumm if you try out any of these techniques! Next week, I'll talk about some of my favorite watercolor sets! 

What are some of your favorite tools?