It’s something that, as my husband says, I can open a store with the day I’m out of work…. Everywhere I travel I jump into the local store to look for brushes.
Here I am trying out a few that I brought back from Japan. I often make sketches of them in my sketchbooks (when I don’t have painting inspiration I paint my brushes and drawing supplies!) One sketch is a page with brushes and drawing supplies, and another sketch is just with brushes that I brought from Japan.
What I love about trying new brushes it is that those new brushes, with special hair I don’t know, oblige me to find new movements! With those Japanese brushes you don’t paint in the same way as with a Western sable hair or synthetic brush, for example: with those soft calligraphy brushes you have to hold the brush perpendicular to the paper if you want to go to a fine point or paint fine details. You can also obtain large variations in thickness.
By trying out “new” movements to get the most out of the new brush still unfamiliar to me, I also get a different perspective on what I am doing.
The tips of those Japanese calligraphy and drawing brushes turn out to be very “maneuverable,” and very long lines can be drawn with them, with varying thicknesses, without back and forth movements from paper to paint. They can hold a lot of paint and water. A fine brush for making line paintings is the Kyosuisai Sengaki, with a mixture of weasel, deer and goat hair.
A “funny” brush I bought is of stiff “deer” hair, rather stiff and the bristles stick out in all directions. No point. This is made that way on purpose. (Yamato Sanba). You can make nice “splashes” with that for painting vegetation.
The Renpitsu brushes are a composition of round brushes to a wide brush for painting nice large areas. There is also a variation in bristles: from stiffer deer bristles that you can also paint some details with, to the very (for me too) soft goat bristles.
Another special brush is all bamboo: the Megodake. It is the red brush at the top of my drawing. This is a brush made by finely splitting the tip of the bamboo. This becomes flexible once it absorbs water, and the tip does not point. It cannot be twisted, but rough straight lines can be painted. (I didn’t manage yet to paint “properly” with it… but I find it interesting)
Usually I like painting with the very flexible sable hair brushes, of course, but also with the cheaper synthetic Escoda brushes of the Perla series, for example: inexpensive and very elastic with a fantastic tip, allowing you to make super fine lines even with the thicker numbers.
Escoda also has fine travel sets with stainless steel caps (and important: a vent hole so they don’t get moldy if you forget to open them again when you get home to let them dry! 😉
My favorite brush is currently a brush with a diagonally cut sword-shaped tip, a dagger, of imitation sable hair from Rosemary’s & Co. This is a small family-run business in England.
What I also like and find important: Escoda is also a family business. Craft has something beautiful and sustainable. The Escoda Perla series also has a diagonal sword-shaped version. That diagonal flat shape gives tremendous flexibility to movements and shapes: one can paint broad areas as well as fine lines with the side and fine details with the tip.
I am curious about your experience. What is your favorite brush for the moment?