Sunday 3 April 2016

Equipment: Watercolour Brushes

As I've mostly been posting about watercolour work lately, I thought I'd talk about what equipment I use, starting with my brushes. I don't have a vast or extravagant range of brushes - just 14 at the moment. They are almost all student-grade or a bit better - I have one high-end brush, and, whilst I love using it and I can feel the quality when I do so, I don't feel the need to suddenly replace all of my other brushes overnight, but I will slowly be doing so, one brush at a time. I've got a pretty good selection at the moment and they are all dedicated to watercolour-only - I do occasionally use a rigger, spotter or skyflow from my acrylics brushes for watercolour, but these watercolour brushes are dedicated.

Here they are, all laid out ready for use - I'm going to describe them each below, from the left to the right, but before I go into that, I want to go through the different materials that my brushes are made from:

Goat Hair - this comes from the domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus L.) and is used in both natural (white, WG) and black (dyed, BG) forms - I'm not sure why it's dyed to be honest. It's a very springy hair and absorbent - it's particularly good for brushes used in making washes.

Kolinsky Sable - this comes from the Siberian weasel (aka the kolinsky, Mustela sibirica Pallas.) and is a very soft and high-capacity fibre that will hold a lot of pigment and/or water. It also forms a beautiful point for accurate painting.

Pony Hair - this is a cheap and soft hair that has a pretty high capacity for pigment but is very floppy and doesn't stand up too well. Can be mixed with golden taklon (below) to form a pony-synthetic blend (P/S).

Taklon - this is a synthetic polymer and comes in various varieties - white, golden and dark-tip (DTS), in which the ends of the fibre have been treated in some way to hold more water, which makes them suited to watercolouring, whereas golden taklon is better for acrylic.

Squirrel - this comes from various different members of the genus Sciurus L. - they make for a very sharp point and a highly absorbent brush.

From left my brushes are:
Fan blender (Size 4, DTS).
Pointed wash (Size 2, squirrel).
Round wash (Size 26, P/S).
Flat wash (1", P/S).
Flat wash (3/4", P/S).
Flat wash (1/2", P/S).
Flat wash (1/2", DTS).
Oval wash (1/2", P/S).
Round (Size 12, DTS).
Round (Size 8, sable).
Round (Size 6, DTS).
Round (Size 4, sable).
Oval wash (1", WG).
Round mop (1", BG).

In the future, I'll be doing a video showing what I use each of these brushes for and what effects they can produce.

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