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4 Watercolor Brush Mistakes Everyone Should Know Now

Learn 4 watercolor brush mistakes you can avoid now in this cardmaking video tutorial! Featuring Christmas Gnomes from Alex Syberia Design.

This video is also part of an Instagram Hop. Head over to my Instagram Post and join the hop for more inspiration and prizes.

Not only do I discuss 4 watercolor brush mistakes to avoid, but I also share watercolor tips and advice for painting these adorable Christmas Gnomes. All the painting is in the video so grab a cuppa and enjoy!

Watch here or in HD on YouTube. While you’re there I’d love it if you like, subscribe, and share it with your crafty friends!

Watercolor Brush Mistake #1

Leaving Brush In A Jar Of Water

Argh, I’m so careful not to do this, yet it happened. I accidentally left my favorite watercolor brush in a water jar overnight and ruined it.

The bristles took a left turn and I could not straighten them. While I’d love to show you a visual, I further ruined my brush with the next mistake. You can see a hint of the left turn in the photo above.

Incidentally, my favorite watercolor brush is a Wonder Forest #8 pointed round brush. It holds the perfect amount of water and pigment (for me) and has a super pointed tip. This means I can use the same brush for large areas and detail areas.

Watercolor Brush Mistake #2

Trimming Watercolor Brush Bristles

Unless you’re trimming off a single bristle that’s out of joint, do not try to trim your watercolor brush. It never works the way you expect.

I attempted to trim the bent tip. Yikes, even my sharpest scissors did a poor job. The bristles were jagged, the point was fair at best, and it still had a slight left turn.

Watercolor Brush Mistake #3

Using A Brush That’s Too Small For The Task

As I mentioned, I ruined my favorite pointed brush, so I grabbed a #2 round brush to get into those small detailed areas. Goodness, this was a frustrating experience.

A #2 round brush is perfect for details, not to paint washes or large areas. So even though those purple and gray stripes on the hat above aren’t “large areas” the #2 round brush didn’t hold enough water or pigment for the job at hand.

I needed to constantly reload the brush which was inefficient. In addition, the brush was so dry it was difficult to achieve those beautiful watercolor effects.

It’s a bit like wearing sandals that are too large. You spend a lot of effort trying to keep them on your feet when you really should just buy a pair that fits. You need to use the right brush for the right job!

Watercolor Brush Mistake #4

Using A Long Bristle Brush In Small Areas

After the #2 round brush didn’t work out, I tried my Rosemary & Co R10 Pocket #8 round brush. This is a fabulous high-quality brush, but it’s not suited for the project at hand.

It has a full belly that holds the perfect amount of water and pigment. Additionally, the tip is super pointed which I love for the small detail areas. However, the pointed tip is much longer than my Wonder Forest brush.

This works well when you’re painting subjects on a larger scale, however, it was difficult to control in the tight spaces of these Christmas Gnomes. Again, I needed the right brush for the job! So I resorted back to my old faithful, despite its rugged tip.

And as you might have guessed, I ordered a replacement for my favorite brush! These brushes come as a set from Dan Fox over at Wonder Forest. I’m not an affiliate and don’t earn anything for recommending them, I just LOVE them. Especially the #8 round. ;o)

As I said, all of the details to paint these little gnomies are in the video. Do check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments here or on YouTube.

Alex Syberia Design Holiday Release

The new Alex Syberia Design release includes seven digital stamp collections for the holidays. This array of festive designs includes Christmas sweaters, gnomes, and winter florals, bouquets, and wreath’s in Alex’s iconic style.

Check out the full release here.

・・・ Thank You ・・・

Watercolor Christmas Bouquet

Alex Syberia Christmas Bouquet

Craving more Alex Syberia Design florals?

Visit this post/video for tips to watercolor this Christmas Bouquet digital stamp.


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  1. Liesl Golding says:

    Very informative. Thank you for sharing your findings. Learned so much.
    Do you have your color swatching pictures for sale

    1. Thank you, Liesl! I’m quite fond of your name as my daughter’s name is, Liesel. If there is enough interest in prints of my swatches then I would definitely look into making the available. For now, they’re just in my journal. Thank you for your interest and for stopping by!

  2. Denise M Freeman says:

    I love, love, love Gnomes! The hats are colored fabulously. Your palette is just perfect. I may splurge on the tubes first I’ll see if I have the colors on my thousand and one dots sheets – although I see you are using very extra fine I don’t know if they are the same. The brush tip is so helpful – because sometimes so much color can get into a brush that often you just want to let it soak – so great tip – Thanks, love it. Denise

  3. A gorgeous card, Amber! I never tire of watching you colour and listening to your helpful hints! These little guys are so cute. Take care! 🙂

  4. Erin Aulner says:

    Thank you so much for showing us these brush tips. It’s just what the doctor ordered. I love watercolors but don’t know much about it, and I have been so frustrated lately. Thank you, thank you, thank you!