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Brushes are the tools of the artist. They are the single item (apart from the skill of your arm) that will make the biggest difference between a slop on the page and the work of art that you always knew that you could produce.

Materials for brushes

Many water colour artists have strong views on what an artist must use and this is quite generally a view that you must use kalonski sable brushes or sable of some kind. This is because most of your painting will be done with some kind of "round" brush, the key feature of which is that it must reflex back to a good point and hold plenty of fluid. A round brush is the term used for a brush that is round in cross section but tapers to a point.

In my experience this is too ridged a rule and I have found that sable brushes have a tendency to bend during the stroke of painting and stay bent until you paint the other way. This means that you must constantly turn your brush in your hand to keep the point.
Many of the other artists would argue that this is normal and quite acceptable, but in my opinion there are some better brushes which are a combination of other hairs which perhaps are not quite so good at holding the fluid, but spring back to a point better.

Other Materials for brushes

I have found that the Terry Harrison range of brushes is quite fantastic and indeed Terry used to use sable brushes, but developed his range in preference to sable, so as to move the subject on a bit.

The exception for me is that I use a Pro-Arte 103 range rigger for fine lines, (the name comes from when painters used to paint the rigging on ship pictures.)

Other brushes

Other effects require specialist brushes for example a fan brush which was originally designed for oils can be used to smooth the transition between a graduated wash and if you try the Terry Harrison techniques he uses (and so do I) a fan for painting some trees. be continued (still being written)

Pete Ormroyde 2005
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