sketching simple subjects - paintbrushes

This is a challenge for those who would like to take it up - with a prize for the work I like best.

Your task grasshopper, should you wish to take it, is to sketch your paintbrushes. They can be simply laid out in a row - look at Jim Dine's beautiful etching . He also did a fantastic etching of a row of cans with large paintbrushes standing in them that I'd love to own. (any rich sugar daddies out there take note ;>) )

I often get the total beginners in my classes to sketch paintbrushes - they can be put right next the drawing area so it's easier to do the hand-eye coordination bit and build observational skills. Gaining confidence in achieving the shape and texture of the brushes - making the hair look like hair and the metal look shiny and reflective etc is excellent practice. I find them really interesting to draw and often doodle them if the class are occupied and need no help. The ones above were then used for the title pages on my main and sketching websites, though at the time I sketched them I was just doing them for their own sake, they interested me.

If you feel like having a go please leave a link in the comments to your blog post with the sketch you've done - the one I like best will win one of my paintbrush sketches.

Anyone want to have a go? Timescale? the end of June? to give people time?

please remember the book is out for those blissfully unaware! preview it on


links to those posting their sketches/paintings of paintbrushes

Mr Zip


dinahmow said…
I'm still wondering how I can "harness" the cats to do my daily sketches for me!
harry bell said…
Thanks for the suggestion, Vivien. You've shaken up my sketchbook inertia a little. Here's a link to my brush sketch -
Jeanette Jobson said…
I'm always willing to play and seem in constant need of inspiration these days!

I agree, Jim Dine's brushes are superb. I'd have that on my wall in a heartbeat if I had any money :)

I have a pot of brushes, some of which go back to my near beginnings in art. Yes, I'm a hoarder. I'll have to dig them out and see what I come up with.
vivien said…
Dinah I'm waiting for sketches of your tearaways on the blog! I well remember ours at the peeling-them-off-the-curtains-high-up stage

MrZip - your paintbrush is great! and an interesting blog too :>)

Jeanette I look forward to seeing your brushes with character :>)
Rose Welty said…
Vivien, I hope to jump in and do some brushes - figured if I left I comment than I would do it!

I'll let you know when they are done.
vivien said…
That's great Rose - please do let me know :>D
Robyn Sinclair said…
I was so impressed with Mr Zip's brush, I immediately launched into my own. I didn't read the fine print properly :(

Anyway, I've posted my effort on my blog, but still can't work out how to insert a link :(

Perhaps you should make these challenges a weekly or monthly event, Vivien. It's been fun.
Robyn Sinclair said…
Sorry, Vivien, here's the link
Robyn's brush
Rose Welty said…
Before I lose my nerve, here are my paintbrushes. This has been fun Vivien, thanks for doing it.
vivien said…
Rose I thought these were great :>)
Jeanette Jobson said…
Thanks for the memories while drawing one of my brushes Vivien. It was very enjoyable.
Cathy Gatland said…
Vivien, I'm sorry - I made a link to this post yesterday when I was just thinking about doing this, I didn't know it would pop up on your page!:-o Now I really have drawn my brushes and it was very enjoyable. This is the proper link...
laura said…
I like these challenges, focusing on the everyday and at-hand. I think sometimes I spend too much time looking for more "exotic" or "picturesque" subjects when it's what you do with the subject, not the subject itself, necessarily, that makes a painting!
vivien said…
Cathy I've added your link

Laura that's so true. When I first started doing landscape plein air with friends (before my degree) we'd drive around looking for a 'view' - until we realised that you make the view yourself - just stop, look around and there will be something to focus on.
laura said…
Hi Vivien. I was stumped for a subject a few days ago, but wanted to draw a little, then I remembered your paintbrush challenge: it's the 5/31 post on my blog
Thanks for the idea!

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