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Basics of Brushes
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This information was reprinted courtesy of Delta "We Love 2 Paint"
Brushes are the most basic tools for any artist in-the-making. The success of any painted project is dependent upon the use of the proper tools needed to complete the task at hand. The quality of a brush can greatly affect the outcome of any painted project. We can’t expect a beginner student to perform a miracle when using an inferior tool. If you, as an instructor can’t use the brush you hand to a child to paint a particular technique, how can you expect a child to be successful with the same tool. Inferior products only inhibit the learning process, leading any student, especially a child, feeling frustrated squelching their self-confidence.
For someone who has never held a brush in his or her hands, standing in front of a brush rack can seem overwhelming. Below is a brief description of the more popular brush types used to paint most craft projects.
These brushes are sometimes referred to as shaders. The bristles on any size flat or shader brush should form 2 right angles and have a crisp, chiseled edge. Flats are used for base coating areas of a project and the bristles should be longer than the width of the brush. Shaders on the other hand have shorter bristles and are used more for blending colors.
When working with children it’s important to teach then NOT to over load the bristles of the brush. Allowing paint to travel up underneath the metal feral will only make it more difficult to remove all traces of paint from the bristles when cleaning up. Be sure to teach a beginner student to apply even coats of color to their project making sure not to leave ridges in the paint.
Rounds & Liners
These types of brushes should have bristles that come to a fine point and are used to paint details and work in tight areas. The difference between the two types of brushes is that liner brushes have fewer bristles compared to rounds and are generally used to paint flowing stroke work such as lettering.
Lines and Letters
Be sure to demonstrate for your students that the more pressure applied to the bristles of these types of brushes will lead to wider lines while the less pressure the thinner the lines. It’s important that you load the brush properly. Dip the brush into the paint. Roll the bristles of the brush onto your palette removing any excess paint before applying color to the project. To paint very thin lines it’s important that you hold your brush perpendicular to your surface, staying up on the tip of the brush. The key here is PRACTICE on a piece of scrap paper before you attempt painting lines on your project. Become very familiar and comfortable with the brush.
Here’s another technique you should practice when using these types of brushes. Load the tip of the brush with paint. Place the bristles on your surface applying sufficient pressure so that the bristles flare out slightly. Drag the paint on your surface and come up on the very tip of the brush. Your paint stroke should resemble a comma. Now, dab the end of the brush hand into the paint and add a dot to the tail of the comma stroke. This will be the head. Reload the brush, adding legs and antennas to the bottom of the comma. Now you’ve painted an ant!
These types of brushes are sometimes referred to as a rose petal brush. They resemble a flat brush with the bristles cut at an angle. An angular brush is used to paint controlled blended strokes such as rose petals.
Place the brush in water and blot the bristles on a paper towel leaving only a trace of water in the brush. It’s important that you not press so hard that you remove all the water. Dip only the tip of the brush into your paint and blend the paint on your palette moving the paint across the bristles. Holding the brush perpendicular to your surface pivot the bristles of the brush to the right. Reload the brush and add a separate stroke for each petal of the flower.
Now try this. Load the brush as described above. On the chisel of the brush, draw a short line across the surface coming up at the end of the stroke. Reload the brush with paint. Place the bristles of the brush on the previously painted line and pivot the brush painting a half circle. Be sure that you do not end the stroke all the way to the end of the short line. With a liner brush add two antennas where the half circle and the line connect. Now you’ve painted a snail!
These types of brushes are sometimes called a cat’s tongue. They look like a flat brush but with both corners rounded giving the brush almost an oval appearance. Filberts are used to create faded or soft edges and for blending color.
Load the bristles of the brush with a dark shade of green. Turn the bristles sideways and touch the tip of the brush into a lighter shade of green. Place the brush laying all of the bristles down onto your surface. Apply sufficient pressure to flare the bristles slightly outward, pulling the bristles and coming up on the tip of the brush. This will require turning the brush back on its side. This stroke will resemble a comma stroke. Repeat the process adding a second comma stroke to the first.
Reload the brush with paint. Place the bristles of the brush perpendicular onto the surface. Apply sufficient pressure to flare the bristles out slightly and wiggle the handle of the brush back and forth coming up on the tip of the brush. Repeat, reloading the brush and adding 2 more strokes in a straight line with the first. Dip the end of the brush handle into paint adding a dot to the end of the last stroke. With a liner brush add antennas with tiny dots to the ends.
Basic Brush Information
When purchasing brushes make sure the bristles of the brush snap back quickly to their original shape. Flats should have sharp edges while rounds and liners should come to nice points. Brushes are available in various sizes (#1, #4 or 1/8”). All brush manufacturers categorize their brushes in series and by size. Series refers to the purpose of the brush while the number refers to the size. The higher the number on the brush handle the greater the width or diameter of the bristles of the brush. When choosing a brush be sure to select the size based on the size of the area needing to be painted.
1. Never leave paint in the bristles of the brush. Rinse the paint out by swishing the bristles periodically in water. Acrylic paints dry quickly and once dry, can ruin a brush.
2. Do not leave a brush sitting in water. The bristles will act like a wick, drawing water up underneath the ferrule and will eventually dissolve the glue that holds the brush together.
3. Clean brushes thoroughly at the end of the work period by gently stroking the bristles on a wet bar of soap. Use your fingers to work the soap into the bristles and rinse. Repeat the process until all traces of color are gone and the water is clear.
4. Lay the brushes flat to dry.
5. Store your brushes in a container with the handles facing downward.
Thank you to the Delta team for permission to share these tips and techniques with our customers. www.homespirations.com