Monday, March 9, 2009

Watercolor Brushes - Do's & Don'ts

QUESTION: Do you have any tips on how to take care of my new watercolor brushes. Thanks!

SUSIE'S REPLY: Yes, I do! Here is a quick list of do's and don'ts.

Do wash your hands before handling your brushes to remove any body oil or lotion.
Do wet your brush before picking up pigments.
Do rinse and reshape the brushes you are working with even during a painting session.
Do clean your brushes using soap and water to remove paint residue.
Do use tepid or lukewarm water for cleaning. Never use HOT water.
Do air-dry your brushes laying them on a flat dry surface. (or hanging from the handle hairs pointing downward.)
Do keep brushes in a brush holder (during transport) to protect then tips from becoming crimped.
Do store dry brushes in air tight container when not in use for extended periods of time to protect then from moths and dust.


Don’t pick up paint with a dry brush. (Wet the brush first by gently stroking it against the bottom of the water container to work out trapped air bubbles.)
Don’t use a watercolor brush for painting with oils or acrylics, inks or dyes.
Don’t use a good watercolor brush to apply maskoid, masking fluids or resists.
Don’t let your watercolor brush dry out with paint in the hairs.
Don’t pull a stuck dried brush from your palette (To remove: moisten it first to soften the dried paint to release the brush from the palette with out fraying the brush ends.)
Don’t leave a brush standing on its head in a jar (wet or dry)
Don’t submerge a brush beyond the ferrule for extended periods. (metal ring)
Don’t try to reshape it using a scissors or a razor blade.
Don’t pinch or pull at the hairs to remove excess moisture…be gentle.
Don’t dry a watercolor brush with a hair dryer. (Air dry lying them flat)
Don’t dry your brushes with the tips pointed up in a jar. (Ok for storing after drying.)
Don’t use a good watercolor brush to scrub with.
Don’t store a damp brush in an airtight container. This encourages mold and mildew.

For more watercolor tips visit my website: