Watercolor brushstrokes

The way you hold your brush, and move it, has a direct effect on the marks you make. Here are four simple brush-holding tricks for brilliant results:

  • Choke Up: Hold the brush close to the ferrule, or bristles, for more controlled, detailed marks.
  • On the Tip: When you grip the brush at a higher point—further away from the bristles—you have more freedom to produce lovely loose strokes.
  • Move Away: Try holding the brush at the end of the shaft while moving your whole arm in a loose fashion away from you, rather than toward your body, to produce sweeping, feather-like marks.
  • Along the Side: Use the side of the brush’s bristles to produce thick, juicy lines, which are great for making larger, rectangular marks such as tree trunks and bark or seaside cliffs like in the painting below.