Using a Liner Brush

Some free form stencils require you to connect the various flowers and leaves with hand-painted vines, as well at to add veining details to the leaves to complete the overall hand-painted look of free form stenciling. We offer a very nice liner brush that will enable you to do this. Once you become comfortable using the brush, you will find it very enjoyable and relaxing to use it. Like any other new skill, it just takes a certain amount of practice.   

Here are some additional hints to help you along.

1.  Relax, relax, relax.  Shake out you arm before beginning if you are tense.  Painting involves your whole arm from the shoulder down, not just your wrist, so you need to be able to move freely and easily.

 2.  Practice, practice, practice. The more you do, the more comfortable you will become.  Just doodle on some scrap paper.  Since you will be working primarily on walls, you will need to be able to pull the brush and paint in different directions.  Play with putting different amounts of pressure on the brush, and even try rotating it slightly with your thumb and forefinger as you pull the stroke to se the different effect that you get.

3.  Make sure that you use fresh paint and thin it well. I prefer to use Folk Art Extender, but you can thin with water as well. A good ratio would be 1:1, it should be very inky and fluid.  You can adjust the ratio depending on the situation. Very transparent prints of leaves will not look good with dark stripes of veins going through the, so thin the paint more in that case.  If your leaves are very dark to begin with, you might need to have more paint in your ratio, or use a darker color.

4.  I usually use a mixture of the leaf and shading color (usually a shade of brown) for the liner work when doing the veins, and then add  more of the darker color to paint the branches or vines.

using a liner brush to detail leaves

5. Wet the brush thoroughly and rinse often during use in a well of clean water.  Remove excess water by dragging gently across paper toweling before loading.  Make sure that you load the brush well with paint.  Just dabbing it once into the pain isn't going to take you very far.  Load the brush by pulling it repeatedly through the thinned paint.

6.  You should hold the brush at least midway up the handle (not down at the bottom like you would a pencil), so as not to restrict your range of motion.  You may also find it helpful to rest you pinky against the surface to help steady your hand.

7.  One of the nicest things about working with thinned paint is that it is erasable, as long as it's still wet.  If you happen to create a less than perfect brush stroke, simply remove it immediately with a piece of dampened paper towel or sponge that you have handy (just in case).

8.  Begin and end each stroke up on the tip of the brush.  The more perpendicular you hold the brush to the surface (straight up and down), the thinner your line will be.  As you push down and flatten out the brush bristles on the surface, you will create a MUCH thicker line.

9.  Because the paint does stay wet longer you should work left to right if you are right-handed, and vice versa if you are left handed. This way you can avoid dragging your hand through your nice fresh stroke work.

10.  I usually paint in a certain order: veins first, then vines, then connect the leaves to the vines and add last touches (like tendrils). Tendrils must be painted very loosely, with the brush held perpendicular to the surface so that just the tip of it is touching.

using a liner brush for painterly effects
11. You can also use a liner brush to add hand-painted details, such as shadows and highlights, to stencils to give them a more "painterly" look.

Our Classic Videos, Stencils and Strokes and Extraordinary Stenciling include detailed demonstrations on the use of free-hand liner work to complete our many free form stencil designs. Advanced Shading and Shadowing demonstrates how to add brushwork to a trompe l'oeil design for a hand-painted look

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