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Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

Lesson 6 of 13

Brushes and Other Tools For Watercolors

 

Getting Started with Watercolor & Gouache Paints

Lesson 6 of 13

Brushes and Other Tools For Watercolors

 

Lesson Info

Brushes and Other Tools For Watercolors

I want to talk a little bit about the brushes now because I feel like as I'm using these tools you're understanding, I'm teaching you about what are the colors you should have in your pallete. Tube versus cake. How the colors act, wet into wet, that sort of thing. But the brushes are a really important part of this, and you don't just use one brush. So I'm gonna move this aside. And I'll pull this paper back. And I'm gonna flip to a fresh sheet. So for watercolors, you're gonna have a variety of brushes. And the brushes come in different sizes but there are also different types of brushes. One type of brush, it's called a round. But it's actually doesn't really look round. It has a point. But these are referred to, and it say it right on the brush. A round tip brush. Okay, so a round is a really nice tool for making a beautiful, thin and varied line. Thick to thin, thick to thin. Has a lot of control. You could go very tiny with these strokes. It's a really nice tool to have. So, I lik...

e to have for my rounds, I'm a big fan of rounds as you could imagine because I work with a lot of line. Look at how thin that color could be, it could be so so fine, or it can be thick. This particular round is a number six. I usually like to have at least three sizes of a particular type of brush. So for rounds, I would have like a one, two, or three. A four, five, or six. And then maybe a really big one. Like this which is a, I think this is a ten. I was using a 12 before but you can see that you don't have to have 20 of these brushes. It's like small, medium, large. And this brush, the biggest brush, also has a beautiful point, it's called a round, but you're just gonna get a fatter mark, right. And you can get pretty fine with it. Fairly fine, but still, it's giving you a variation of mark-making that's different than the smallest version of a round. The next type of brush that's really wonderful to have are your square tip brushes. And basically, that's this brush that I used before to make the paintings with the wet into wet. This is a brush meant to make anything with a square shape. It's meant to make a gradient. Where you're trying to get a lot of coverage. You would not use a round-tipped brush, ever to try to make a gradient because it doesn't have enough coverage. So I like to have one that's about this size, which is roughly an inch. It's a, what number is this? It doesn't say what number it is. But I usually go by the width of the brush, about an inch or so is my favorite size for making a gradient unless I'm doing a really big painting I might get an even fatter square tip brush. But you want to have one this size and then it's nice to have a smaller version. This is a number eight. And that's just if you're doing a smaller passage but you're trying to get a really clean, sort of perpendicular edge. Something that you're trying to make boxes or rectangles. Again, you wouldn't use a round. You would only use this because it's doing the work for you. And a lot of, I think, methods and materials is like you're trying to use them to their greatest advantage. You're trying to work smart, not hard. And so, it should be fun. This should all be really fun. I mean, I think it's fun. So that's the second version, a smaller. This is a number eight and you can go really tiny. This little guy is super small if you were making a really little passage that had to be, have to be rectangular. So those are your square tips. There's other brushes that I don't use as much. But that some people absolutely love. This one's called a filbert, which I love that name. It makes me think of a character, Filbert. And a filbert is literally round. You can see the roundness of that tip. And so that is beautiful for making, let me use another color just for fun, I'll use, let's see, maybe an orange. Interesting. So you can see, it was very liquidy when it came out. That's the gum arabic. There's a lot of gum arabic in this particular color called cadmium orange. And you'll find that when you squeeze your tubes out, sometimes there'll be this clear stuff that comes out. That's the gum arabic. And there's nothing wrong with it. You just have to squeeze a little further to get the pigment So, the filbert is really beautiful for making rounded shapes. And that's because, I mean, as I turn it I can make a circle without trying. If I tried to do that with my square tip brush, I'd be in trouble. So it's really meant for organic or round shapes. It's easier to apply with a filbert. I don't have to work that hard to make a circle. And circles are hard to make. (laughs) Easier with a filbert. And again, I would have three different size of the filbert I would have, this one is a, let's see, this would be kind of your medium. This is a ten. And then, you might have one, I would have like a small, medium, and large. This is a 20. And then you might have a tiny one for tinier passages. Another brush that I think is interesting, this is an angular brush. And there's something I want to tell you about synthetic versus sable, but I just want to talk about the angular first. This is really wonderful if you're trying to get, let's mix the orange and the purple together. We're neutralizing them because they're opposites in the color wheel. I can't help it. I have to talk about color. I'm gonna make a sort of plumy sort of tone with these two colors and I'm mixing, not layering. On the palette. But this really gives you a wonderful ability to turn corners because of the shape of the tip of this brush. So you can't do this sort of thing with any of these other brushes because it's not designed that way. So, I don't use this brush as often. I only have, I think two of these. This size and then a smallish one. But again, as a rule, you could have three of each. Small, medium, and large. But this is called an angular brush. And it's great if you're doing architecture, and you have to get into a corner but it has to have a kind of turn or a twist. This is a great brush to have. Now one thing I want to mention about the brush is is that they could be two different types. You have your, well, you could have synthetic, which means man-made fibers. You can have a blend of synthetic and sable or kolinsky. Or you could have full on sable or kolinsky. Those are made with animal hairs. And we have all of them here. We have all different types. The synthetic brushes tend to hold a little less water than the kolinsky or the sable. Animal hair holds a lot of water. And they make a beautiful point. So, these brushes, the stiff bristles, this is a man-made fiber. But if we look at, let me just find one that's a, this is a kolinsky. This brush holds a ton of pigment. I'm gonna make a new color. I'm gonna mix my ultramarine with my purple. This one because it holds so much color I can make a big big mark. Or I could go all the way to the tiniest mark. Because it's almost like a sponge holding a ton of pigment and water. It's beautiful kind of brush. I love sable and kolinsky. You could always stuff it. All this stuff is from Blick. This is a Blick brush. Beautiful brush. I love these. They're just more expensive. They cost a little more. They're not super expensive but they cost a little bit more than this pure synthetic brushes. This is a synthetic brush and I could tell just by, looking at, you know, the, actually this one, this actually is a combo. This, I believe, is pure synthetic. The synthetic brushes hold less water. And they also don't hold their point as beautifully over time as the sable. So, to sort of split the difference, you could get a blended brush. A brush that's synthetic and sable. And it'll be a little less expensive than the full on sable or kolinsky hair. And a little more expensive than pure synthetic. The only problem I have with the synthetic and I'll show you another kind of brush. The only problem with the synthetic is that it tends to get, it does this, too fast. It becomes splayed. And when you're painting and you want a nice point, you don't want a brush that looks like a broom. So that's really the only sort of the main problem with synthetic brushes. But I am going to show you a very cool brush that I discovered that I'm so excited about because it works really well with the portable set. It's a portable paint brush that holds the water in it. And so there's a variety. Just like with the other brushes. You can get a really fine point. You can get a sort of medium point. You can get, and these are rounds, and you can get a square tip. But I'm gonna show you the coolness of this and I have to use a syringe to do it. So let me grab this one. It literally twists off. And let's say you're in the airport. Or you're in a cafe. You're not gonna carry a bowl. You're not gonna carry all these other tools. You don't have that. You might be able to carry just this and a brush, or a couple of brushes that hold water. Now, where is my syringe? Here it is. This may seem a little odd. But in trying to get water into this, it was not that easy unless I used a syringe. Let me just get some water in here. And then I'm gonna pop it right in. Where's my brush? Where did it go? I lost my brush. I'll use another one. So then I'm just gonna pop it right in. Fill this with water. Put the cap on. So now to activate my pigment, especially if it's dry. Let's go to our cakes here. This is a very small palette. I could not work on this. I have to use this size over here. So automatic. I'm so used to putting my brush into the bowl that I did it and I don't need to. Because the water is in here. So you squeeze out a little water. And you're literally just pinching it. And that's gonna activate the color. I squeezed out too much. So this, you could do a really wet mark. Or if you're wanting it to be more dry brush, you could do this. But it's beautifully flexible and it's coming with the water already inside of the brush itself. It's almost like a marker, in a sense. So it's beautiful. And you can tap it on the side of this to kind of clean it up. Use a paper towel. But these brushes are very portable, really nice. Now the only problem, it has a nice point now because it's brand-new. But as you use this brush, it's a synthetic brush, the hair won't last that long. These are not expensive brushes. So you can easily replace them, unlike your kolinsky or your sable. You gonna use those brushes if you keep them really clean, really nice and I'll explain that in a minute. You go through these and you just buy a new one. So I did want to show you, I'm making kind of a mess on this surface, but I do want to show a really nice holder. I also purchased this from Blick. And this holder allows you when you finish painting, you can put your brushes in and you can literally put them upside down. Like this. And what's nice is that as you put the brush in the holder, and I'll turn it sideways so you can see, the water is dripping down to this little tray below, and so it allows the water to come out of the whole brush in a really nice way and dry naturally. You don't want to leave your brushes sitting in a bowl with the hair being pressed sideways. I have done this Kenna so I know this from experience. It ruins your brushes. And you also, if you leave your brushes sitting in the water for too long it starts to peel away the plastic in the wood. It just deteriorates the brush. So a holder like this is a wonderful thing to have. I definitely suggest investing it. You don't need to do that with these kind of brushes because you empty the water out, you put the cap back on. It's synthetic. You're not gonna have a problem because you're covering it with a cap like a pen. So some of the other things I want to talk about here, and I still have an array of things going on, when your painting, there's one thing I'm gonna do when we do go on break is empty the water because as you can see it's kind of blue gray. If you have a little tiny bucket or cup, that color is going to change to a color like coffee, very very quickly. So I tend to have a good size bucket. And it can be anything. It can be a plastic bucket. This is a big metal bowl. It doesn't matter what it is. You just want to have easy access and have enough quantity of water so that you don't have to keep jumping up and running to the sink to get clean water. I've had students work with a coffee cup or a little Dixie cup, and I'm like, you better be kidding me. So you need a big bowl or bucket for your water. In terms of your palettes, and these are just some other tools I want you to be thinking about when you're using your watercolor. You have your glass palette. You have a plastic palette here. I don't love the plastic palettes, mostly because the plastic creates a resist and the color kind of pulls to the middle. Whereas the glass let's the color kind of sit on top of it. The other kind of palette that you could use for watercolor and I was using it to house my brushes, is a metal tray. And this is good for oils. It's good for acrylics and it's good for watercolor. It's covered in a kind of like semi little light ceramic tone. It's metal but it's covered with ceramic. And that allows the color, just like the glass tray, to sit and kind of, I would say, like a pool or a puddle of color. And so I like this and the glass better than the plastic. But that's just my own preference.

Class Description

Are you interested in working with watercolor and/or gouache paints but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to the world of watercolor and gouache paints. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a painting practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to pick up a brush and start experimenting with watercolors and gouache!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of watercolor and gouache paints available on the market and how they work
  • Which brushes and papers to use with those paints
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium



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Reviews

shoney
 

I really enjoy Mary Jane Begin's style of teaching--I have a degree in Fine Art and have been painting for years, but think she does such a good job of building on the basics and encouraging play. Get your supplies ready ahead of time, if like me you want to play along. Thank you!

user-b0a82a
 

Fantastic class - so informative and inspiring. After watching the lessons, I picked up my watercolors and started playing around with some of the covered techniques. Highly recommended!

a Creativelive Student
 

The watercolor class was fantastic! MJ is a great instructor!