Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why and How of the Waterbrush


Tuesday Tips & Tricks:

Have Brush, Will Travel


There are countless little things to be thankful for every day. One of the little things for me is the waterbrush. I don’t know who invented the waterbrush or remember who introduce it to me, but I owe them a debt of gratitude! It is my go-to-brush whenever I’m traveling or sketching on location. In the studio, I use a variety of brushes, but out-and-about, it’s a waterbrush for me. There are quite a few brands out there. They all work in the much the same way, similar, though not exactly, to a fountain pen.


How to Use a Waterbrush 

The brush has three main parts:
1. The plastic barrel that contains the water reservoir.
2. The screw on ferrule connects the bristles to the water supply
3. The cap keeps the water from leaking.
Need more water to moisten the paint in the pans, to make the paint run, or to wet the paper to paint wet-on-wet? To increase the flow of water to the brush just squeeze the plastic barrel! It’s that simple. Want to change colors and clean your brush? Squeeze the barrel and wipe the brush on a tissue or paper towel. I use the cuff of an old white sock. I wear it on my wrist. With a little practice controlling the flow becomes second nature.


Filling the brush varies a little from brand to brand. Some you just unscrew the barrel and hold it under running water. Others use the suction principle. Squeeze the barrel, submerge the opening in a glass of water and release. Easier yet, hold the barrel under running water, squeeze and release. It’s surprising how much water the barrel holds and how long it lasts.


Benefits of the Waterbrush 

“Keep it simple” is one of my mantras and when you’re sketching on location you can’t beat the convenience of the waterbrush. I don't leave home without it. There's no need to carry around an extra water supply for clean water. The cap protects the bristles and fits on the end of the barrel to lessen the chance of losing it. Waterbrushes are available from art supply stores including Dick Blick, Cheap Joe’s, and Jerry’s Artarama.

Do you have an art supply that you’re really thankful for? Tell us about it!

1 comment:

  1. My eyes. I've tried to draw with my eyes closed or by only looking at the subject, but to be able to see what I am sketching and to plan out the page is something I thank my lucky stars for every day.

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