How to use a dagger brush with watercolors

You know it certainly, i love painting greenery especially with a dagger brush. But what is this king of brushes ?

Normal round brush on top vs dagger brush at the bottom

This particular brush is often in natural hair (squirrel), it has long hairs with a triangular shape. The ferule is flat like a normal flat brush, but on one side the hair are much longer than on the other side. So why is this interesting ? Simply because it can hold lots of water and make random marks on the paper.

The size of the hair are useful for two essential things : holding lots of water, but also it reduce your ability to control the brush. Long hair are very bendy and can go in all direction once on the paper. The triangular shape is very useful too because it allows you to paint very fine line as the point is so thin. You can use all the body of the brush and make blod strokes but by using no pressure you’ll be able to make the finest line.

As i said it’s a hard brush to master as it creates so much random marks. It seems a little bit confusing to paint with that kind of difficult brush. But with a bit of exercises you’ll be able to paint texture very easily. For trees, bushes, branches… it’s the perfect brush. You’ll have to be very precise in the pressure you apply on it, but it’s well worth the work !

Using a dagger brush in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda aquario nº18, Rosemary & Co serie 39 1/2″.
Paper : Canson Héritage hot pressed.
Colors : Potters pink (Schmincke), Ultramarine blue (Sennelier), Aussie red gold (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone burnt scarlet (Daniel Smith), Burnt sienna (Schmincke), Lunar blue (Daniel Smith).

And here you have an exemple of what one can achieve with this brush (Click to enlarge) :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.