How To Develop Awesome Brushwork Skills

How To Develop Awesome Brushwork Skills

How to develop awesome brushwork skills

To become a successful artists means knowing how to develop awesome brushwork skills. Well that and many other fundamentals. However, brushwork is what typically defines one's style and ability to express themselves.

Below are some examples of brushwork types and how to get good results. If you want to view the premium video tutorials that go along with the images be sure to become a painthog member. It's free to sign up and you can check it out here.

Splatter

This is a commonly used technique but often misused by many artists. It can be very messy if you take the wrong approach. However, you can achieve some fantastic results once you tame it and know how to apply the splatters without decorating your walls and floors.

What you need to know;

  • Avoid mixtures that are too wet - this will only make a bigger mess.
  • Try not to back flip - this will usually result in paint on your face, floors and walls.
  • Work from the elbow - this will help you gain better control.
  • Stop abruptly about an inch, or so, from the surface - this will minimize the range of splatter.
  • Test your accuracy by drawing four inch circles - test your skills by drawing a four inch circle and keep splatters within the line.

Demo Images

 Whoa! Too much water.

Whoa! Too much water.

 Just right!

Just right!

Stabbing

Another fantastic stroke for adding texture to various subjects such as tree foliage, shrubs, grass and whatever your imagination can handle.

What you need to know;

  • Use an older brush - don't damage your good brushes since this technique tends to ruin the tips.
  • This isn't a violent stoke - You don't need to press hard into the surface.
  • Once the brush starts to fan you can let off - This will help minimize damage to the brush.
  • Experiment with different size brushes - You can achieve large and small strokes depending on your intent.
 Try stabbing to create tree foliage, shrubs and more.

Try stabbing to create tree foliage, shrubs and more.

Line

Believe it or not, lines are in just about every painting and subject. They come up often so you need to handle them with skill.

  • How to hold the brush - light grip about three inches from tip.
  • Why diluting the medium is important - thinner, or more diluted, paint comes off the brush much easier and creates a fluid line. Too thick and it becomes chunky.
  • Where the movement comes from - It comes from the shoulder.
  • A few ideas on developing lines - Try adjusting pressure into your surface to create different thicknesses.

This is a quick way to test your basic skills. Use a small sheet of paper to create a series of lines. Be sure to dilute your medium thin enough to create fluid strokes. Hold your brush three to four inches from the tip and avoid using a tight grip. Work from the shoulder and not the wrist, or elbow. Try to adjust the pressure into the surface to create thick and thin lines.

Line Study

 develop good lines

develop good lines

Spirals & Squares

Now it's time expand your line range by introducing spirals and squares. Everything remains the same as with the line study. Try to work clockwise and counterclockwise with both shapes. Can you work quicker as you become more comfortable?

 try spirals and squares

try spirals and squares

Sailboat Study

Now you can test your line skills by creating a simple sailboat sketch. To do this make a quick sketch of the boat. Add a layer of color that only includes the main shapes being sure to omit all lines. Add the second layer once the first is dry. This layer will include all lines. Start with thicker lines and move to thinnest. Be sure to dilute with water as you move to thinner lines.

 try a quick sketch of an old sailboat

try a quick sketch of an old sailboat

Flicking

Flicking is very useful for creating textures such as grass, branches, trees and more. It's really up to you to determine how to apply this brushwork technique but first you need a few pointers on how to apply it. In the tutorial watercolor is uses but it works the same with any medium.

What you need to know;

  • The movement can be from the fingers, or wrist.
  • Start with medium pressure and fade it as you flick upwards.
  • Experiment with different brushes to explore the range of strokes.
  • As you become comfortable try some tree branches and trunks.
 flicking to create branches and trees

flicking to create branches and trees

 flicking brushwork skills

flicking brushwork skills

Dragging

This is a fantastic stroke for adding subtle textures and layers. I've used it to add sparkle to water, texture to building, and much more. Again, it's up to you to first try it out and then use it according to your vision.

What you need to know;

  • Load the brush with pigment - this will help you cover more area.
  • The wetter the paint the less texture you get - wet paint tends to come off the brush smoothly versus having a chunky look.
  • The dryer the paint the more texture as the paint appears more chunky - dry paint will have more texture.
  • Experiment with different brush types and sizes - try large flats and other brushes depending on your intent.

Demo Image

 dragging to create texture

dragging to create texture

What you need to know

Practice! That's what separates the good from the struggling painters. Successful artists understand investing time into their technique is more important than creating finished art so they can try to impress everyone on social media. So, roll your sleeves up and develop your brushwork so that when you start creating finished art you have improved skills that will make an impact.

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Free TipsRobert Joyner