How to Care for Watercolor and Ink Brushes

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How do I take care of a watercolor brush?

How to Care for Watercolor and Ink Brushes

Watercolor and ink brushes require special care. Unlike the paintbrushes that are made for oils or acrylics, which are stiff and sturdy, watercolor and ink brushes have soft and delicate bristles that can't take much abuse. Mistreated watercolor or ink brushes will lose their shape and will not hold pigment as well as before. The two key aspects of caring for these brushes include careful cleaning and mindful storage. When you are using a watercolor or ink brush, always rinse the tip immediately in a cup of water rather than allowing pigment to dry in the brush--especially ink, which will ruin the brush immediately if it dries. Don't allow the brush to rest tip-down in the water cup for any length of time; instead, rinse it vigorously and then place it tip-upward in a separate cup. As soon as you can, use a mild soap and cool running water to clean the bristles. Be gentle when cleaning the bristles, which are easily misshapen. Allow the bristles to air dry by placing the brush in an empty coffee can with the tip facing upward. This is also the best way to store watercolor or ink brushes long-term.



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