Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chinese Brush: Make A Bird with Split Brush

Edit History:

  • (02/01/2008): Fixed bird's belly and added photos of split brush

Split Brush
I said be gentle on your brush when dabbing, and this is no exception. After you rinse the brush, hold it vertically with the tip facing down and touch it to your dabbing cloth. Put a little bit of pressure on the brush so the bristles bend a little, then twist the brush in between your fingers.

The tip will split into many smaller tips.

Touch the brush to the dabbing cloth horizontally to narrow the tip. You should end up with a cylindrical shape that's spiky on the tip.

Load the brush with ink like normal and go for it.

Make A Bird
Step 1: use a detail brush to make the beak and the eye.
Step 2: use a hard bristle brush, using split brush technique, to make those nice scratchy strokes for the top of the bird's head and then the top of the body. Notice how we make another stroke in the middle of the body for a little definition in the wing.
Step 3: use a hard bristle brush, NO LONGER with the split brush tip, to add in a line for each wing-tip and then a couple lines for the tail.
Step 4: make a light gray stroke under the head and another under the body. Let them be a little wet, so it's fuzzy looking on the bird's underside.
Step 5: use a detail brush to make the legs and talons.
Step 6: make it up! These are the techniques I used for that specific bird in that specific pose, but now that you know the techniques, just go get some reference of some birds and have fun! Just remember, we made the beak and eye first so we could control where we ended up using or not using our wet on wet techniques.

Dirty Water
Take a really good look at the belly of my bird.

The original bird was a lot fatter and cuter. I thought I was being sly by using a brush directly from the dirty rinsing water because I wanted a very light gray belly. Well, when it dried, my strokes completely disappeared (because it was just water!)

Let me tell you, that fat little bird was sooo cute... until I got home. After the ink dried, the fat belly disappeared! And now my bird just has a big head! :)

Lesson: Dirty water is still water! It's NOT a substitute for your light gray pallet.

Edit: I fixed the bird last time I had the inks out:

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