Brushes and Surfaces for Handmade Greetings Cards
Choosing brushes is an important part of creating beautiful handmade greetings cards on a
regular basis, for the public to purchase. This article loos at the different kinds of brushes
that are available to artists today and explains how to choose the surface you paint onto.
Brushes broadly break down into two types; soft brushes (such as nylon and sable) and hard
bristles (such as hog). A general rule of thumb is for water colours, you would use a soft
brush and for oils, you would use a hard brush. For acrylics you can use either. There are
many exceptions to this rule – if you want to create a specific effect on your cards for kids,
then you can use the brush you find does that perfectly for you.
The shape is a very important aspect of a brush. Round brushes carry a lot of paint and can
be used to create detail and broad areas of colour. Flat brushes are excellent for laying
down flat, even areas or washes. There are unusual shapes such as the long ‘rigger’ brush,
which is used for fine detail, branches and similar work and the ‘fan’ brush, which is
excellent for blending colours and creating cloud effects onto your greetings cards.
Brushes are available in a range of qualities similar to those found in paint ranges. A top-of-
the-range artist’s brush will have a longer life and carry more colour than the one designed
for student use. It is always important to check whether the brush you want to use will be
affected by the painting medium and consequently affect the quality of your work.
Remember acrylic paint can quickly ruin a brush so you must never let the paint dry on the
bristles. I.e. always clean your brushes when finished painting your kids greeting cards. Oil
paint and turpentine can easily ruin the wrong type of brush
It is always important to have a range of brushes both in size and shape. A brush set is often
an excellent way of obtaining a good starting point for a brush collection.
Choosing a Surface for your Cards
Choosing the right surface to paint on can be the making of a good painting. It is important
to match your surface to the paint you will be using. For water-colour paints, use paper or
board, which can be embellished to a blank card surface. This comes in a range of weights
and surface finishes. For detailed work you will want to consider using a hot press (HP) or
smooth paper, for general use a ‘Not’ (or cold press) surface is ideal. A further alternative is
rough paper or board, which is perfect for adding texture to your kids greeting cards. These
papers are available in a range of weights from 71lbs to 300lbs – the higher the weight, the
thicker the board. On lighter papers such as 72lbs and 90lbs, it is essential to stretch your
board before you start work – heavier papers can be worked directly or stretched. Any guide
to watercolour will give you instructions on preparing your boards in this way. Water colour
papers are available in pad form or as individual sheets. It is advisable to go for the
individual sheets if attaching to thicker board for the perfect card. Water-colour board is
available, and it is actually a form of paper, which is bonded to a heavy duty acid free
cardboard. It is ideal for those who do not wish to stretch their papers. A new innovation for
coloured watercolour surfaces – in soft pastel shades. Get down to an online web store
called Cardly Greetings UK.