Oil Painting





Oil Painting Glossary:





How to make an Oil Transfer to Canvas:



Working up from a Grisaille:



Oil Paint Drying Times:



Russian Dry Brush Technique:


Dry brush technique, a modern style of oil painting on paper, quite similar to drawing portraits in pencil.


What is a drybrush technique?

Dry brush technique is a modern style of painting in which oil paint, bristle and synthetic brushes are used on watercolour paper or fabric. A few drops of solvent is used as well and a rubber eraser for highlights and details.

Why it is called Dry Brush technique? Black oil paint (of any kind) is squeezed from the tube onto the palette, only a little bit and if desired, 2-3 drops of domestic sewing machine lubricating oil or diesel fuel is added as solvent. Slightly touch the paint with the paintbrush and rub it on a palette so that the brush is actually almost dry. For a black and white portrait about 0.5 cubic centimeter of black oil paint is enough. Then apply a very thin layer of paint on watercolor paper or fabric. The result: the surface is not greasy when you touch it, therefore you can frame it or roll it up for transport without a frame.

At first glance Dry Brush is very similar to pencil portraits. In fact, pencil is actually used: some artists depict the picture initially by drawing a pencil sketch and only then do they start using a brush with oil paint; while other artists do not use pencil at all and use dry brush technique from start to finish – like some of the artists of Moscow’s Arbat street used to do.

How to dry brush

The most important feature of dry brush technique is that it allows speed drawing with excellent quality in a very short time, so a portrait artist can earn much more money this way than using any other drawing techniques.

The dry brush method of drawing first came into existence roughly about the mid-20th century. Soviet artists made such black and white and color portraits by rubbing brushes with paint on white cotton cloth ordinary white sheet stretched on a frame. Paper was also used but this was short-lived because of the conditions (sunlight, etc.) and the size that made it non-practical. The size of the portraits were often as big as three meters and therefore only canvas was practical to use – although it was expensive. They were mostly portraits of political figures of the Socialist era: Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev and other important people. In the days of Leonid Brezhnev there were court painters -so called “retouchers”- whose jobs were to touch up someone’s image: their imperfections, clothes /uniforms – especially the images of very important persons: members of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the USSR, who wished to appear in the portraits as immaculate – hence, more respectable.

The dry brush technique used in such portraits involved several techniques: dry brush, watercolor, colored pencils, tempera. In modern art dry brush is perceived as a non-traditional technique, it has mostly been used by free/street artists. Not in one art institution this technique of drawing is taught. A new painting technique simply cannot be recognized in academic circles for various reasons, conservative views – despite the fact that we live in the 21st century now and portraits in this brilliant painting technique have gained popularity. You can find no information about dry brush technique of drawing in bookstores either. Therefore, many skilled artists have trained independently. . Currently dry brush technique is considered to be one of the most advanced drawing techniques.

It is the fastest way to draw a portrait from life, yet some artists from different countries do not know about dry brush at all and so they draw portraits using the old method of drawing with charcoal, pencil, sanguine, pastel, etc., thus they lose more of their time – and, of course, their earnings. At present I am getting a lot of emails with various questions from many portrait artists from different countries about this popular technique of drawing on paper with oil paints. The Dry Brush technique today is recognized by many freelancers throughout the civilized world, the popularity and demand keep growing and growing every day.





Frequent questions about dry brush and drawing tools

How to dry brush using oil paint? What is a black oil paint I can use to dry brush?– You can use any black paint, no matter what it has a tone, enough 0.5 cubic mm of black paint for a portrait, this is a very thin layer of paint that is not absorbed into paper. It is desirable to have any black paint that does not dry out quickly. You can at random, pick a more interesting black paint according to your taste.
How to dry brush using oil paint for color portrait?You may use any not quick-drying oil paints, tints of color paint of your choice
At drawing by a dry brush I never use in this technique: charcoal, charcoal powder, pastel or pastel powder, graphite powder, ink, acrylic paint, and so on.

Which is better of watercolor paper texture to use to Dry brush?

– The porosity of watercolor paper has an important role in dry brush. Due to relief surface of the paper, we get a nice effect of dry brush. A large texture is not desirable, since the pores will be a lot of useless paint as a result portrait will turn out dirty and not accurate. So for beginners also for experienced users better to use watercolor paper with small-grained texture. Now i draw on paper the company Fabriano, It has middle-grained texture. Pick a more interesting watercolor paper texture according to your taste

What types of paint brush do you use for Dry brush portraits?

Practice of drawing in dry brush shows that – flat bristle and synthetics types of paint brush with different size, is the best to use thinner synthetics brushes used to draw small details of portrait, such as eyes, lips, nose, and other small parts, the wide bristle brushes used to draw a portrait of large details, such as the shadow of face, hair, clothes and background.

What the magic rubber eraser you use, and why do you use it, after you are drawing with oil paint?

– This is a simple rubber eraser, but very soft. a rubber eraser applied for highlight details of portrait. For one black and white portrait is enough very little paint, 5 cubic millimeters of black oil paint.

What do you add to mixing black oil paint when drawing a portrait?

– When I draw black and white portrait, I add 2-3 drops of domestic sewing machine lubricating oil and mix it with black oil paint on a palette, it is unique feature of this drawing techniques, for a good rubbing brushes

How can I to correct a blot on portrait?

– If you drew a dry brush portrait, I inadvertently smeared portrait with paint on a white area, so get the Blob.

– You can be corrected only slight blot by rubbing it with an eraser, if the spot is very tight and it is located directly on the face, you probably will not be able to remove this blot, so the next time you should be very careful

Why is my portrait with a dry brush turns dirty and not accurate?

– Well firstly you’re probably in a hurry, when drawing your portrait, do not to hurry. On my videos it seems that I quickly draw, in fact the time of my portrait takes 4-6 hours. When you have touched a brush in a paint, then rub it well on a dry palette for 5-7 seconds or 3-4 seconds on a piece of paper, that performs the role of palette. so paint evenly distributed throughout entire area of brush, then you can rub brush on paper with your drawing. If you want to get a smooth, most importantly do not rush. Be patient, after some experience, you will be all right.

How long does it take to draw a live portrait in dry brush technique?

Usually 1-1.5 hours.

For what purpose do you use a scalpel?

– Interesting drawing tool. Certainly using a scalpel in drawing a portrait seems strange, nevertheless purpose is simple and it is somewhat like to the role of an eraser, only difference is, a scalpel is necessary to do bright glare, such as glare on eyes, teeth, earrings, rings, etc., where an eraser for this purpose would not have managed. To use a scalpel not desirable, if you are not using thick watercolor paper. However scalpel you can not use at all, to create different reflections in portrait you can use regular “Correction Fluid“. In this case, small brush, soak in the Correction Fluid and make small glare where you want.Please tell me, do you pretreatment of watercolor paper before you draw dry brush portrait (primer, wetting, Imprimatura and so on)No pre-treatment for dry brush drawing on watercolor paper, this is not necessary. watercolor paper, for example, firms Fabriano, it is very thick and white paper, you can also pick up other paper grades to suit your taste Because, you draw on paper with oil paint mixed on palette with lubricating oil .

Can impregnated oil paint on watercolor paper basis?

Oil paint will rot paper when it comes in contact with it. Visitors often ask me this question. Remember the name of this drawing techniques (Dry Brush), This means that a very small amount of paint on a brush, allocated over the entire surface of a bristle. The paint is not absorbed into the paper because it is a very very thin layer of paint.

What can I do if I do not have machine oil? Can be replace it with linseed oil?

Linseed oil is not suitable, You can use instead of lubricating oil, kerosene or diesel fuel.

In my experience, all of these materials I have used for many years. I like to paint with acrylics, can I use these paints with dry brush technique?

Frankly speaking I’ve never tried to paint with acrylics. But if think logically, then this sort of paint is not appropriate in any case, because the acrylic paint is very different from the properties of oil paint. What Drawing materials do you use to draw a dry brush portrait?

I would like to see the variety and sizes of brushes, you work with.

– Well, I am often asked such questions, my Drawing materials or drawing supply are shown in this page. Here, collection of art brushes for dry brush portraits, oil paint TIONDIGO, a scalpel, and lubricating oil and of course a very important tool of dry brush is usual eraser. Ironically, many call it a magic eraser ): All of these drawing materials for dry brush are sold in the art drawing supplies store, At your discretion, you can use more expensive professional paint brush or cheap paint brushes, for dry brush is not so important. Are brushes and accessories expensive to buy? very frequent question – a brush is $1, a tube of paint $2, watercolor paper 20-50 cents, eraser 20 cents. Can be expensive, only work of artist:)


Drawing materials

Drawing materials, dry brush tools




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