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  More than you wanted to know about brushesJun 01, 2016 10:11 PM PDT | url
Added 1 new A* page:So last week I said that, starting with page 21, I was going to bring back an old brush I had stopped using two episodes ago, because I was missing certain things it could do—and that I would talk about that more this week, after I'd had a chance to get some new pages done with it. Now is that time!
Here are the brushes I'm currently using for A*'s watercolor work:
From left: Winsor & Newton "One Stroke" 1/2" and 1/8" brushes, and RaphaŽl 8404 size 0, 4, and 3 brushes.
The newly brought out old brush is the RaphaŽl 8404, size 4: a long, finely pointed brush (it's a bit flattened after the day's work in the above photo : p) with a pretty big barrel that can hold a lot of paint or ink while still being able to make fairly sharp lines; it can also make pretty wide lines or cover wide areas if need be. In other words, it's versatile! But I stopped using it at episode 27, page 10, and what I said at the time was that I was using it to do too much linework, and I didn't think that was my forte; I wanted to focus more on composing areas of color, rather than lines, and I was going to do that using brushes with broad heads, rather than points.
I think that was a useful thing to practice, but lately I've been a little irritated by difficulty I've had in making tidy lines or even just edges in certain situations when it would have been nice to have them; without a precise edge tool, areas of color can fail to get across critical details as readily as one would like. Now, it happened that for the page near the end of the last episode with Selenis stalking down an alleyway—episode 28, page 73—I needed to pull out the tiny 8404 size 0 brush—which I hadn't used for watercolor before (they used to come as free extras with the 8404 size 4s : D, that's the only reason I had them in the first place!)—in order to paint the extra-tiny Selenis in the distance. Since then, I've kept it around, and found it sneaking into use here and there for intricate detail work—Agnar's face and hands in our first view of him on page 18, for instance—and it was actually working out rather well, letting me get across things I wouldn't have been able to get across with just the wide-headed "One Stroke" brushes I had been using. (I've been using the 8404 size 3 all along, too—although before I called it a size 4, but it's definitely shorter than the size 4 I pulled back out, so I *think* it's a 3? or it just shrunk over time : P—but it's an old beat-up brush, and I use it strictly for applying white corrective ink, which is all gummy and would ruin the nice point on a non-beat-up brush.)
So that got me thinking about the other 8404 I used to use, the size 4, and I started to realize that the One Stroke brushes couldn't quite handle everything: the big one is good for covering large areas, but trying to put large areas around detailed shapes is something it *can't* really do on its own; and the smaller One Stroke can kind of do shapes, but its rectangular head sometimes makes that a little erratic when I don't *want* it to be erratic—and it can't hold much paint at once, so it can't be used to fill in larger areas, which meant I had to use the big One Stroke for all but the tiniest areas, so medium-sized areas would definitely come out a little raggedy at the edges.
So anyway, the 8404 size 4 is back—for those medium-sized areas, and places where I need a smoother, medium-sized line. In today's page, for instance, the big One Stroke handled the large washes of color, the small One Stroke did the blocked-in cubbyholes in the background, the 8404 size 0 did the fine dark red and purple details of the faces and sword, and 8404 size 4 filled in the background color around Selenis and the sword, to keep the edges neat and tidy and preserve the outlines, and also handled the localized background color washes that produced the "glow" effect of the sword, and the 8404 size 3 did white highlights on the sword hilt and cubbyhole objects, and also tidied up a few edges and hid a few watercolor splatters here and there.
And that's all I should have to make you read about brushes for a while. : P
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