This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The first thing for a beginner in china painting to learn is how to lay flat washes of different degrees of strength in monochrome on a flat surface. Brun Rouge is a suitable colour. Fill your largest brush, and place a coat of the colour evenly upon a tile. With the broad side of your brush, next touch up your wash here and there until one could not tell in which way it had been originally laid. We would not have it supposed that we approve of concealing the evidence of spontaneous, and therefore legitimate, brush work; but this is a purely mechanical exercise, which may prove useful in man} ways by and by.
The next exercise should be the laying of a dabbled, tinted background. By this is meant covering a given surface with a uniform or a graduated tint against which subsequently some decoration would appear. There is the Moist and the Dry method. A moist tint is the easier, and will, therefore, be the kind for our exercise, which will be without reference to any design which might hereafter be used in connection with such a ground. We are now simply trying to learn something of our tools and materials, A broad stippling brush is sometimes used, but the less artistic-looking pad or dabber is the tool we shall employ as most suitable. As much colour as will cover a sixpence will be quite enough for a large tile. Squeeze it from the tube into the centre of a clean glass slab, and add to it Balsam of Copaiba in such proportion as to give a consistency that would just allow the mixture to move slowly if the slab were slanted. Oil of Lavender or Oil of Cloves is added to thin it until it will spread easily with the broad flat brush that must be selected to lay it upon the china. The function of the Balsam is to furnish a body to spread the small quantity of colour needed; that of the Oil of Lavender, or Oil of Cloves, is to keep the colour "open " (i.e., from drying prematurely) .
Let the wet colour on the china stand for a moment or two, until it begins to set and be slightly "tacky." Then work on this "tacky" surface with the pad or dabber - one made of old china silk tilled with soft cotton rags is best. On its flattened side it should have about the circumference of a florin. Hold it upright, and with deft, uniform, even touches, go over the whole surface, the dabber always being pulled straight from the china. The taps may grow heavier as the colour dries, each one seeming to lap the last one a little as you go around or back and forth over the surface, until the distribution is as even as may be desired.