Today I thought I’d share some of the tools I use in my work as I’m regularly being asked how I achieve certain effects with the inks or liquid medium I choose.
That aspect quite honestly is random and uncontrollable, which is its beauty and why I love painting this way. When it comes to tools, however, you can get much more consistent results and start to develop your painting ‘style’.
Specific tools and brushes are frankly whatever I can afford. What I use doesn’t matter to me so much, it’s about playing and enjoying the process. All I will say is that variety is good; don’t discriminate. [Tip for life there! ;-) ]
DIY wallpaper brush
I start most times with a tub of water to hand and a DIY wallpaper brush, which I dip and swoop over the surface of the paper – the shape and pressure is not important at the initial stage. When you drop any colour on to this you can almost mesmerise yourself watching it disperse.
A cheap pack that came in mixed sizes, sadly already falling apart a bit – I’ve had them about 8 months – but they make a variety of marks with one brush depending how loose you hold it or at what angle.
A mixed set of wooden calligraphy pens – the dipping sort. These are great for dragging across existing colours and dividing up areas or defining with black ink in thin, graphic lines. (continued..)
The basic plastic sort which comes in a set from any art supplies or hobby store. I use these on heavier surfaces to drag wet colours across dry areas or to ‘splice’ (be careful not to score the paper). They either blend or ‘wipe’ away wet ink leaving white lines across blocks of colour.
Brushes are the biggest outlay cost-wise. Without getting technical check out the images for visual reference – I’ll highlight them in more detail.
The tiniest I have is a 3/0 or a 10/0 Liner which are so ancient now the paint’s peeled off the barrel!
Generally I use Daler Rowney and Windsor & Newton: Round Mop, various basic Round and Flat versions, various sizes.
These are vital. Inks and liquid watercolours can come with pipettes in the lids, but not always, and not with larger bottles. If you don’t want to waste ink (or money), get several pipettes and keep them for single colours alone as cleaning them entirely is a bind, if not impossible. I use one and only one for black, for instance. This is purely to avoid the danger of contaminating those beautiful pure colours – ink is a pricey commodity per ml.
Because I get through a lot of ink, I do squeeze up any unused ink after a session and put back in the original bottle, BUT ONLY if it hasn’t been diluted or mixed with any other colour or been out too long. You’ve been warned: don’t blame me if you make a mistake in the moment – I’ve done it a few times myself!
After purchasing a handful of plastic palettes, I’m now re-purposing used Gü pudding dishes rather than chuck pottery or glass in the bin or fill up the kitchen cupboards. They’re great for separate colours as they’re more solid and don’t accidentally spill when I trip over in the half-light... or I’m wearing my blindfold! ;-D