Brush Advice

Digging through old sketchbooks, I found some (solicited) advice on using a brush – specifically on cleaning a brush from Simon Fraser and Frazer Irving from May 2000. It was before my career as a comic artist and I felt sure I’d only get somewhere if I was using a brush.

The great thing is, unlike advice on digital drawing tools, this advice is NEVER out of date, so thought you might like to read it:

Simon Says

A good winsor & Newtown Series 7 Sable can last for years with constant use. Apparently some of the acrylic ones are as good now, but I like the sables.

  1. Never dip the brush all the way into the ink, only about half way up the bristles, this stops the ink going into the ferrule where it is hard to remove by cleaning. You can overload brushes for filling in large areas but use a different brush for this, noe you don’t expect to come to a decent point.
  2. Rinse the brush thoroughly in a jam jar of tap wate/
  3. Twist it a bit on the edge to remove the water, if there is still ink coming out of it then keep rinsing until only water runs from the bristles.
  4. Gently dry the brush on a piece of cloth, shape it back to a point.
  5. Stick it in your mouth and use your tongue to bring the thing to a good point and your spit will protect it until the next time you use it.

THIS is why you don’t use anyone else’s brush!

Frazer had this to say

D’oh! NEVER use that eeeevil windsor + newton shit on the brush… it’s WAY too thick with shellac for them, and should only be used with pens. I use Rowney Kandahar black indian ink, which is about as watery as I’m prepared to go… Also, if you use the brush mainly for spotting blacks and big lines, then the brush will clog quicker because it’s always loaded… When I use that much ink I generally clean the brush afterwards to purify the ferrul. Also: what brush you using? Could be that the brush is shit also. A tip I got for cleaning brushes was to dab off the exceess ink BEFORE dunking in water (always cold) and I find sloshing around in a jar more effective than the tap. The soap I tried, but was too much hassle, and may even contribute to wear and tear. And the sucking… I (rather disgustingly so0 load the brush wid spit and then gently lick it to a point… A tiny point I know, but you gotta Lurve that brush…

In the past 16 years I’ve generally stuck with Winsor & Newtown ink-clearly completely ignoring Fraz’s rather splendid advice.

That said, I’ve never done experimenting with traditional inks and you can now get all sorts of great manga focused inking tools from amazon – at the moment my preference is for Deleter Black ink (Number 4) which goes on Matt black and is pretty damn dark.

Anyways, apologies to Fraz and Si for digging up this old info (I’d printed it out from emails I think and cut it out and stuck it in a book that I was using to keep advice in – it has one page on Brush cleaning and… pretty much nothing else. C’est la vie.