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'Painting Tips and Strokes'

Painting Strokes

I once took a tole painting class, just to learn how to 'sideload' a brush - for whatever reason, reading the instructions in the back of books or magazines made absolutely no sense whatsoever to me! Hopefully, if you arent too clear on some of the brush strokes, maybe I can help a little bit. I'll certainly give it a whirl!


This technique is used for shading and highlighting areas; ive found that angular shaders work the best for me, instead of a flat shader. Here is the technique I use - dip your shading brush into water. Lay it flat on a damp paper towel, lightly, until the gloss is gone from the brush bristles - this usually only takes a second or two. Then, you dip the pointed end of your brush into the paint, getting paint on both sides of the brush, but not all the way from end to end - using palette paper,(available at craft stores - wax paper works in a pinch!)stroke your paint brush first on one side, then the other, using short strokes no more than a half inch wide, and keeping your brush in the same spot - this gives you a gradual heavier/lighter blend of color on your brush. If your brush is too dry, it will drag - dip it into water again really quick, lay on a paper towel for a second, and continue. Use the pointed end that was dipped into the paint at the darkest shaded part of your project. Repeat if needed, but always allow to dry between coats - otherwise, it just pulls up whatever was painted previously.



Also known as 'drybrushing' and 'pouncing' - this is a technique that works really well on some floral backgrounds, and hilighting snow. Using a stippler brush, or a stiff, round brush, dip lightly into your paint, and pounce it up and down on a paper towel until most of the paint is off - you can check it out on a piece of paper, to see if there is enough or too much paint. When you apply the paint to your wood piece, use a straight up-and-down motion, lightly, trying not to get too heavy in one spot. A really good effect, is to use a shade darker than the original shade for the first coat, and a second coat in a shade lighter - works great on Santa hair, beard, and fur on his clothes.



I always used to think that the shorter the brush, and the fewer hairs on it, the finer line and better control I would have. Not so. A Scriptliner brush gives you excellent control, even though its quite long. When doing light stroke work, such as strands of hair, curling vines, etc., its best to mix paint and water until the paint has the consistency of ink - again, just barely touching it to a damp paper towel, to take off any excess water on the brush. Then use light, random strokes. For some reason, the more careful you try to be, the more you mess up the lines! I hold my brush and paint as if I were using a pen, and it seems to work. When the paint is an inky consistency, it can paint quite an area.


This is basically the same as regular side-loading, except youre mirroring the first side-loading stroke. What it amounts to, is the area where your shading is the darkest, you repeat the side-loading instructions, and place your brush on the opposite side of the darkest shaded area, and repeat the stroke; one side mirrors the other. This works really well on something like an eyelid, giving it real depth.


This is a really nice addition, to give a piece an almost dreamy, cute quality. Its a mass of tiny dots applied with the non-bristle side of a brush, a toothpick, in random sizes, and usually closely around the item itself. (For example, roses, flowers, etc.). This works really nicely on Halloween pieces, which gives them a sort of dreamy quality, and gives a sense of 'magic' -


Speckling is about the easiest paintstroke to do, and it has a way of covering up little inconsistencies and 'boo-boo's' that you may have made while painting! Its always best to finish all the painting you plan to do on the piece, and seal it first- That way, if you over-do it on the speckling a little bit, you'll be able to wipe some away with a damp cloth without ruining all of your hard work! Take an old toothbrush, preferably with stiff bristles. Dip it into water, and pounce a couple of times to take the excess off. Put a puddle of paint on your palette paper, and lay the toothbrush into it, getting it on the bristles evenly. Pounce a little to get the excess off. Now here comes the 'yucky' part, but believe me, it helps! Dip your thumb into water, and shake it off- use this thumb against the brush, and test the speckles on a piece of paper to see if its heavy or the way you want it. Lightly fleck the paint onto your piece- repeat as necessary-

'Painting Tips'

    When you basecoat a piece, never use any brushes you use for shading - it ruins the brush, and splays the hairs, which then show up on the pieces you try to shade.

    When basecoating, thin the paint a little bit with water, and use two or three coats, instead of one heavy coat.

    Sealing your wood before you paint makes a big difference in the way your piece will look, and handle. It gives your paint truer color, and its much easier to shade, making the painting surface much smoother. Gesso is good, as well as sealers made by Jo Sonja, Delta, Duncan, and others. Be sure to lightly sand when the sealer is dry.