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    The tissue method

How Moist is Moist?

  • Moist brush for softening edges
  • Method 1. - Paper towel
  • Method 2. - Tissue
  • Method 3. - Hand

One of the main questions my students always asked when learning how to soften a watercolor edge is, how much water do you need to have in your brush? Well a lot depends on the final effect you want to achieve, as the degree of wetness you need can vary. For the most amount of control when softening my edges, I use a moist brush.

What exactly is moist?  The dictionary definition of moist is: slightly wet, damp. Since each of us could interpret this differently, I will show you three ways to make your brush moist. I know that all three of these methods work well. Go ahead and test them to see which one you would prefer to use.

Softening a Watercolor Edge
softening a watercolor edge demonstration

This is a technique that allows you to soften or blur the hard edge of a previously painted area that is still wet or damp. To soften an edge, you use a clean, moist brush.

How to Make your Brush Moist  -  Tutorials
Method 1

Paper Towel

an effective way to make your brush moist using a paper towel
Lift your brush out of your clean water container and slide the brush once against the rim to remove the excess. Then lightly stroke the brush back and forth across your folded paper towels. The amount of pressure you put on your brush against the paper towels, and how many times you stroke back and forth, determines how much water will be removed.  

Method 2

an effective way to make your brush moist using a tissue
After sliding the brush once against the rim of the water container to remove excess water, lay the brush on a tissue in your left hand as shown. How long you leave the brush on the tissue determines the amount of water that will be removed.

Method 3

an effective way to make your brush moist using your hand
After placing a tissue in your left hand, remove the excess water from your brush by sliding it once against the rim of your water container. Lay the brush on the crook of your left pointer finger as shown.
Touch your thumb to the brush.

Slide the brush out from between your thumb and finger, removing the excess water onto your finger. Then use the tissue in your hand to absorb the water on your finger. The amount of pressure you apply with your thumb determines the amount of water that will be removed.
personal note   Give yourself plenty of time to learn this moist brush technique. You will be so grateful that you did. As a rule I don't often say to buy a particular name brand item, but in this case I would for the sole purpose on helping you achieve the best possible results with the least amount of frustration. The brush that I recommend getting is a no. 5 and/or a no. 7 round from the Bette Byrd "Aqua-Sable" 100 series. For some reason, the brush hairs handle this technique very well.

NEXT:   How to Soften Edges   

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