Just see your Tracing Brush like this …


I wonder what you came up with.

Like I said, it’s not a test.

It’s not a trick question.

It’s just this.

And I’m not going all psycho-babble on you …

But what’s in your mind makes a huge difference to how you paint.

Of course:

A calm and focussed mind will paint better than a fluttering, distracted one.

Everyone knows that.

But please just do this thought-experiment with me.

Think of your brush as a scalpel

Think of your brush as a scalpel

Imagine how, instead of a brush, you have a scalpel / kraft knife in your hand.

Imagine how, rather an undercoat on the surface of the glass, instead there is a thin layer of sticky-back plastic.

And imagine how you’re using the scalpel to cut out a delicate design.

You just want to cut through the plastic.

But you don’t want to scratch the glass.

All your attention is focussed on the tip of the blade.

All your attention is focussed on exerting just the right amount of pressure – just enough to cut the plastic but not enough to scratch the glass.

And that’s what tracing feels like when you’re in control of your brush.

That’s how tracing feels when your brush is loaded with the right consistency of paint.

Your brush really is like the tip of a scalpel.

The brush's tip is like a scalpel

The brush’s tip is like a scalpel

As you draw it towards you, the line of paint you leave in its wake is like a delicate cut – just enough pressure to draw down the paint, not enough to break through the undercoat.

So all I ask is this.

Next time you trace, spend however long it takes to mix the right consistency of paint – not too wet!

Then put this thought in your mind that the tip of the brush is like the scalpel’s tip.

See you brush differently.

You’ll see what a difference it makes.

Now maybe you did – or maybe you didn’t – see this video when it was posted.

No matter. Just watch it again. And now see what you think about the brush’s tip …

All the best,

Stephen Byrne