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How to paint fur with a frayed brush

Every workman in the land has tools in his van that you cannot buy but are priceless. Little bits of metal, pipe and broken tools. All kinds of nik naks that serve some very specific function in their day to day work life.

It is no different for an artist.

Today you'll discover how even the most battered brush in the pot can make for a useful tool.

But first some background.

Most artists treat their equipment with love and respect - Not I

I am notoriously bad at looking after my things, my paintbrushes included.

Many painting sessions end with me wandering away from my table, completely forgetting the bit where I'm supposed to clean my brushes. As an acrylic artist this is a disaster as once acrylic dries on a brush it ain't coming off!

My poor brushes get a second battering from a technique that crosses dry brushing with stippling. In essence, I jab the tip of my round brush into the hardboard with gusto, in exactly the manner our primary school teachers used to tell us off for.

My brush pot tells a tragic tale of ruin. Many barely even pass for a paintbrush, whilst the survivors... like this shiny new round brush... live in mortal terror; quivering in fear as he looks upon his fallen comrades knowing that he is next.

I could fix them. There are ways. But I don't have time for that. It's too boring.

And I discovered *as you'll see in the below video), that a knackered brush can be a handy tool.....


Yes, jabbing round brushes at a board destroys them rapidly, but it also gives them some nifty new features.

As the bristles become increasingly frayed, they act as a stand alone fine detail brush... I can gently pull the brush across the board to paint in hair.... the still functional part will lay down some broad strokes, whilst the frayed part will add fine detail highlights; giving me less work to do!

I did this on my Hare's ear fluff.

But as the video demonstrates, this knackered old brush comes into its own in the stippling technique I like to use to build texture in fur. Made of frayed bristles with a hard point glued together by old paint makes a mixture of splodges and dots. My ruined brushes impart a sense of randomness to the size and shape of the paint marks that you just cannot get with a purpous build stippling brush.

So no. You don't have to throw out your buggered brushes just yet. Or faff around fixing them. They can become in invaluable (and very specific) tool.

Just like that piece of bent galvanised wire in my Dad's van.

Have a play with them and see what cool effects you can create!

Pre-order your giclee print of Eyes of the Old God's today here or buy the original by dropping me an email.

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