10 Rules for taking care of your (watercolor) brush

A while ago I made an investment in a really really good watercolor paint brush. Sadly my brush looks like the upper brush now. So if you want to prevent your (high-quality) brush from ending up like this, keep on reading the following 10 rules for watercolor paint brush care 🙂

At the beginning I was able to draw suuuuper tiny details and also color broad spaces. To have long lasting fun using my brush, I googled how to take care of brushes. Finding rules like: Don’t let it stand on its head, clean it, etc I set out to take care of my brush. My fun didn’t last long as after a while my brush looked like any well used and mistreated brush. I was left wondering what I did wrong to ruin an expensive brush like this. So I went to my favorite art supply store and asked how to take care of my brush. And not only did I get the expertise I was looking for but also left the store with the same brush again. To my defense…The shop assistant did a really good job on why this is the best and only watercolor brush I’ll ever need. If you take proper care of it.

So here are 10 rules I learnt for brush care to ensure a long brush life for high quality brushes. 
  1. Before using the brush let it soak in some water, use your fingers to loosen it up a bit and sharpen it at the edge of your water container.
  2. If possible use Tube paint, as you have to swirl your brush less in the paint and the paint components are slightly better for your brush hair. Do not use any other paint than watercolor for your watercolor brushes.
  3. Let your brush soak in the paint and then sharpen it on the edge of your paint container. 
  4. Only drag/ slide your brush over the paper in line with the direction of the hair. (It might be a “Duh” but even I got corrected by the store assistant while holding the brush too vertical and pulling it towards me.)
  5. Never ever let your brush stand on its head.
  6. To clean it from color: Press your brush gently to the side of your water container and drag it upwards a few times. Just swirling it in water doesn’t do much but scramble the brush hair.
  7. To dry your clean brush: Sharpen your brush. Then dry it on a paper towel and press it gently on a paper towel. Swing your brush a few times to get out remaining water. Then let it dry over time
  8. Let it dry at least horizontally or let it hang completely. 
  9. Use a special brush soap every 5th or 6th use. Let it absorb the soap for 30s before washing it out.
  10. Don’t let anyone fool you with your brush unless they know exactly how to handle it.

I hope you find these rules helpful. Let me know in the comments if some of them are new to you. And if they helped keeping your brush in good shape. If you want to check out what kind of drawings I make with my brush, check out my art gallery! Have fun drawing!

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