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EPISODE 3 - WATERCOLOUR for Beginners - 'Round Brush techniques'

EPISODE 3 - WATERCOLOUR for Beginners - 'Round Brush techniques'

  1. EPISODE 1 - Creating a dilution chart
  2. EPISODE 2 - Creating a Colour Chart
  3. EPISODE 3 - Round Brush Techniques
  4. EPISODE 4  - Flat & Fan Brush Techniques
  5. EPISODE 5 - Glazing Techniques
  6. EPISODE 6 - Masking & Resist Techniques
  7. EPISODE 7 - Creating Watercolour Textures
  8. EPISODE 8 - Creating a Landscape painting in Watercolour

Welcome to Episode 3. This episode, Ellie Jakeman, guides you through how to use your new round brushes with mark-making, textures and patterns.

There are many watercolour brushes on the market, various shapes, various sizes, natural or synthetic bristles and all come with different price tag! As a beginner, it may be likely that you wish to spend as little as possible whilst deciding if watercolours are for you? 

It can be confusing deciding what brush you will need for certain techniques, in this video we have tried to show you how versatile our ARTdiscount brushes are whilst not breaking the bank!  As you become more confident and more skilful we have a full range of other brushes on offer. 

This week we feature Round shape brushes. We have showcased our no 10, no 6, and no 2 round brushes from our own ARTdiscount collection. Our brushes are the ultimate synthetic watercolour brushes and therefore animal friendly. They are crafted from Taklon, using a blend of differing hair diameters. They give a combination of colour holding, precision and endurance. Round brushes are the most versatile and widely used brush for watercolour painting, their shape makes them suitable for small details and delicate lines, but also for broader strokes and washes. In the video below you can see the variety of marks made by the same brushes, this all depends on the pressure applied; light, medium or heavy and the angle of the brush in which you deliver the paint to the paper.

Artists Round Brush Techniques

The marks created also are dependant on how much you load your brush with water and pigment. For this video the brushes were not too wet and had a sufficient pigment load to carry out lots of investigations. Notice also where the focus of the grip is on the handle, some of the marks were made holding the brush at the top of the handle loosely and some were made holding the handle of the brush close to the ferrule.  

Round Brush Techniques

Basic Anatomy of a Watercolour Brush

Watercolour brushes traditionally have short handles so artists can work closely to the paper and control their brush strokes and fine details. Brushes have a handle with a tapered end. The handle is usually wider in the middle to make it easier to grip and control. The metal Ferrule may come in different lengths and shapes depending on the size and shape of the brush. The metal ferrule keeps the bristles of the brush in place and keeps them attached to the handle.

The head of the brush is made up of bristles, either natural animal hair, or synthetic or a combination of both. A good watercolour bristle will hold a good amount of  water and pigment to enable a smooth transition from palette to paper, retain its point and be flexible but not too soft. Depending on the bristle type, a watercolour brush will either be soft or firm. Animal hair especially Kolinsky Sable is considered the Gold standard among watercolour brushes.  Looking after your watercolour brushes doesn't require too much elbow grease; here are a few tips to help preserve their shape.
  • Always wash your brushes when you are finished painting in cool water using a mild soap. Press the brush in the palm of your hand gently under the running water until it runs clear.
  • Using a soft dry cloth or kitchen towel, blot your brush until it is damp then lay your brush horizontally to air dry. Don't put it on top of a radiator or try to dry it with a hairdryer! 
  • Only use your brushes for watercolour painting. Keep separate brushes for acrylics and oils.
  • Do not store them with the bristles face down vertically, this will cause them to bend out of shape. When dry you can store them in jar with the bristle facing upwards.
  • Never use your good brush to apply masking fluid. Use an old brush dipped in soap, then wash immediately.

Ellie Jakeman
Ellie Jakeman

I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. After completing an Art and Design Degree and Post graduate studies I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design , Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for ARTdiscount as a content creator and product tester.

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