When painting a piece of art, always try to pick the biggest brush you can find to get the job done. Use finer brushes for the details in the end.
Long vs short
A brush is an extension of your vision, your mind. The longer the brush, the more you can paint and see what's going on at the same time. ( for example working with a model or still life, landscape..) Long brushes are perfect to see things at a distance, perfect for oils. Short brushes are more used for horizontal work, to look up close. Like watercolours or fine details.
Some are much softer than others. These make them more flexible and help thin paint strokes away. Whereas others- like hog hair bristled, are stiffer, making them great for textural brush work, but the rigidity also makes them easier to accidentally lift paint up, which can be hard if you’re beginning, as you generally want to use more paint when working with these.
The length of your bristles determines if it's more flexible-bouncy (longer hair). With shorter bristled brushes, the paint that gets gummed up at the base begins to push the bristles outward, warping the shape and as it gets further down to the top, this build up begins to stiffen the brush.
Synthetic: cheaper, easier to clean, good for beginning of painting. Because then you are more abusive, more raw. Synthetic brushes are perfect for this. I work with them all the time.
Natural: beter quality, they grab the paint in a better way because of their structure. fine work, expensive, not animal friendly.
Test your brush in the shop to check the quality:
Push the top of the brush against your hand. The resistance, aka the "bend", should be in the middle, not end or tip.
Each shape can help you how the paint is applied on the canvas:
Round brush: traditional > sketching, soft and curvy (for example painting hair)
Flat brush: edges, straight or bold lines, big surfaces or varnishing.
Bright type: square and round on the sides > bolder application. or a round brush!
Spits: Detailes like lips and eyes.
Filbert: dome shape > soft, straight use and blending.
Fanbrush: to soften everything > mostly used on the final layers wet on wet, with a dry brush.
These are just tips. Experiement to see what fits use best. Each brush can create different effects.
- TURPS/ MINERAL SPIRITS: Cleans quickly but is toxic. Always use gloves and a mask with proper ventilation. These products causes early brush degradation.
-TUPRENOID NATURAL : (a non-toxic, non flammable brush cleaner, conditioner and paint thinner formulated from the natural essence of citrus products and other natural sources. Not as effective as regular turps).
- You can also use (Winsor&Newton) brush cleaner and restorer. This dissolves EVERYTHING.
- DISH SOAP: Non toxic, safe option. Takes a bit longer to clean but is better for the brushes. My personal favourite.
*Wear gloves when cleaning. If you get oils on your skin wash off immediately.
For the lazy ones:
-Store it in the freezer till you have to use it again.
-You can wrap your brush in a piece of polyester film (PET or Mylar). As you don't use them all the time, it's not necessary to clean and rinse them all the time. Unless I don't plan on using a brush for longer than about a week, this is how they are stored. (varnishing)
cleaning pallette: a spray bottle with turpentine/alchohol/white spirit/.. makes it easy to clean the glass. You can just wipe it off. However, I never use this technique because it's kinda toxic. I just scrap the paint off after each session and it's not a problem. Or I forget about it for months and the paint turns hard and I have to put dubbel the effort in it.
The more texture a paper has, the rougher it feels. Smoother paper is great for drawings with a lot of details, while more structured paper is better for experimental work. Blending on smooth paper is more difficult, but the result will be better for realism. If you use charcoal or pastel, use a paper with more texture so it can hold on to the medium.
The thickness of the paper defines the firmness and is expressed in g/m2. The heavier the paper, the stronger and more expensive it is.
Standard printing paper is 80 g/m2. (It’s cheaper so you can use this for sketches that are not that important.)
Standard drawing paper is 120 g/m2.
A drawing paper must be durable enough to take repeated erasure without serious damage to the surface.
Each artist should make his or her own experiments and comparisons among the varieties available. Even a simple pencil line will appear totally different on different brands of the same type of paper.
Paper which contains acid will turn yellow and brittle over time. Use paper that says “acid free” on the cover.
Archival paper is paper which are intended to last a long time such as
- Conservation grade: acid-free, buffered paper made from wood-based pulp.
- Archival grade: museum grade, cotton rag paper made from cotton pulp.
This can mean the standards laid down by museums or international standards.
-Watercolors, drawings, prints and posters should be stored flat.
-Store in containers which are free of plasticisers, harmful chemicals or for small artworks you can
use archival boxes. Make sure you use acid-free surfaces all around the paper. Also to prevent transfers
-Store away from UV light and high levels of artificial lighting.
-Ideally store between 18 and 20degrees Celcius.
-Humidity: 45-50%, but above 30% and below 60% is acceptable.