Ahad, 19 Oktober 2008

How to Hold a Watercolor Brush: 5 ways to Loosen Up by Getting a Grip

Hold your brush like you are picking up a pencil from a table, pinching it between your thumb and fingers. We'll call this grip the Pinch because you are using a pinching action to pick up your brush. As you run through this exercise you can loosen the grip to allow the brush some travel, but only use your fingertips to hold the brush when painting. You can use 2 to 4 fingertips to hold your brush. I found 3 worked best for me.

Pre-mix some puddles of colors on your palette and prepare to play. And I mean that in the best sense. Position your brush parallel with your paper, loosen your wrist and start seeing what strokes you can make as you hover over the paper. You won't have much control, but in some artistic situations that may be exactly what you need. Notice the brush's resistance to upward, pushed strokes and the ease of pulling strokes toward you, or downward.
Most of the control is in your arm, wrist, and fingertips. Vertical strokes are easiest to pull but erratic to control in width. The wash of the stroke may be broken because you cannot apply the same pressure to the brush as you can with other grips. This same lack of pressure gives a unique texture when you move the brush side to side across your paper. Note that the arc of your horizontal strokes is controlled almost entirely by your arm.

How to Hold a Watercolor Brush: 5 ways to Loosen Up by Getting a Grip

The Classic grip for holding a watercolor brush is much like the way you hold a pen or pencil for writing. The only difference being that you (for the most part) are gripping the brush further from the business end of things. Pick up your brush and grip the thickest part of the handle above the ferrulle—the body of the brush—and hold it like you are getting ready to write a letter. Remember writing? Weigh the brush in your hand, roll it with your fingers, find the balance of the brush in your grip

Since you are holding your brush as a writing instrument go ahead and use it for that. Practice signing your name in a way that you can use to sign your paintings. It may take a bit of practice to find one that suits you so take your time. The Classic grip gives you linear control, making it ideal for flowing lines and drawing with paint. Mix up some colors, start doodling and see how the brush works as you push and pull it on your paper.

Your control for the Classic grip starts from the simple actions of the arms and wrist to the fine control of the fingers. With the control of the brush tip at hand (ha), try drawing a simple picture or two like the old masters' ink cartoons. Crosshatching, creating value with thin overlapping strokes, is best handled using the fine control this grip offers. Pointillism, the dot by dot laying in of color or texture can be easily done holding your brush this way.