The hair pencils or brushes used in water-colour painting are made of camel-hair and of fitch or sable. The best are those known as soft brown or black sables; those made of red sable are not so useful, as they possess the bad quality of stiffness, and disturb the colours by their harshness.
These brushes will hold a considerable quantity of fluid, and should be used full; but not overflowing so as to become unmanageable. After using, they should be carefully washed in clean water, and then slightly pressed in a piece of clean linen rag. A brush put a war unwashed, especially if it has been used for india-ink, or any dark pigment, can scarcely ever be cleaned again so as to be fit to use with light or delicate pigments. For large drawings, brushes are prepared, both round and flat, mounted in tin; these are also useful in washing. The most essential quality of a good pencil is that it should yield a good point, for it is that part only which is used; the hairs when moistened should form a cone terminating in a fine and delicate point. It should also be firm yet elastic, returning to a straight direction immediately upon being lifted from the paper. Management of Drawing. - The manipulation in water-colour painting is of the greatest simplicity, consisting merely in selecting the pigments required, mixing from them the various tints the subject demands, and leaving them in their proper places upon the paper.
These pigments are rubbed with boiled or distilled water, on earthenware slabs, with the addition of a small quantity of gum water, for the strong marking of the shadows, and so on. It is the usual practice to lay on the first tints or washes with the hard-cake pigments ground on the slabs, while the middle or foreground is painted with the soft or body-colours, which, by remaining constantly moist, are always ready for use. The pigments should be ground in sufficient quantity, and with so much water as to be quite fluid, and capable of entirely filling the brush; the superfluous quantity can be easily removed by slightly pressing the brush on the edge of the palette; for unless the pigments are reduced to this state of fluidity, the drawing acquires a dry and harsh appearance; while, at the same time, an excess of fluidity produces a thinness and meagreness, leaving a dark edge surrounding the coloured surface, which inevitably betrays the inexperienced hand. The progress of a water-colour drawing is from simply washing with the requisite colours, as a preparatory stage, and proceeding by gradual and delicate additions where they are required, and so on to the finishing, which consists in applying the colours in their full body and strength, giving solidity to the forms, and a defi-niteness to the outlines that constitutes a finished picture, equal in vigour, freshness, and richness of tone to oil painting.
Many parts of the drawing must unavoidably be gone over with colour that should be left white for the high or brilliant lights: the colour must be removed from these places by rubbing with a sharp scraper or by moistening the spot to be reclaimed with a pencil dipped in clean water; after it has remained a few moments, the moisture is removed with a piece of clean blotting paper, and then rubbing the surface of the paper by means of a white handkerchief, rubber, or bread-crumbs.
Boil good linseed oil with as much litharge as will make it of the consistency to be laid on with the brush; add lampblack at the rate of 1 part to every 10 by weight of the litharge; boil three hours over a gentle fire. The first coat should be thinner than the following coats.
Dissolve 1 part of chloride, of copper, 1 of nitrate of copper, and 1 of sal ammoniac, in 64 parts of water, and add 1 part of commercial hydrochloric acid. Brush the zinc over with this, which gives it a deep black; leave to dry 24 hours, when any oil colour will firmly adhere to it, and withstand both heat and damp.