I have a new brush, and like the new pen I recently bought it brings with it all kinds of new and interesting possibilities. It’s unlike any brush I’ve ever used before because it’s a brush that thinks it’s a pen – it fills with water like a fountain pen fills with ink, and the brush is where a nib would be. It’s called a Water Brush and it’s quite weird to use. I need practice.
I tried it out by doing a quick sketch of my neighbour’s front garden, full of winter pruned bushes all hunched and huddled in the dusk on a cold afternoon.
For some time now I’ve been trying to wake up my drawing practice from a state of hibernation, and the more I draw, the more I want to; everyday things that I see all the time are becoming things I simply can’t ignore. Colours jump out at me. Shapes catch my eye. Pattern, texture, light and shadow have my attention before I’ve even realised it. Today this patch of garden is full of dark colour; tomorrow it may well be transformed by snow.
This Water Brush is a clever thing. If you squeeze the soft plastic body of the brush, the water flows out more quickly into the bristles and you can pick up colour straight from a watercolour pan; then when you apply colour to the paper you can soften it out as more clean water flows into the bristles. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it means that you could manage without a water pot, great for sketching on location.
There are so many reasons to draw, just as there are lots of reasons to write, but they’re both things that need to be practised all the time if you’re going to do them even passably well. Andrea Badgley just wrote a great piece for the Daily Post on using a writing prompt box to kick start those times when you can’t get the words to flow. I use WordPress writing and photography challenges as prompts, but I often want to post drawings and it got me wondering why there’s no weekly WordPress drawing challenge. There are lots of artists and illustrators and urban sketchers out there who are WordPress bloggers.
Anyone else like the sound of this idea?
Note: I’ve published this post at the same time in a slightly different form on another WordPress blog of mine. If you come across it, for the record it’s not been pirated or plagiarised by anyone except me.