|There are a few basic things you need to know about Chinese art brush care in
order to get the most out of your brushes, and to insure they remain in good
condition. This guide provides you with general information regarding the care
of a Chinese art brush.
Before You Use a Brush for the First Time
One of the most important things you need to know about a typical Chinese art
brush is that it is made with natural animal hair. The better the quality of the
hair a brush is made with, the easier it is to ruin.
Before you ever use any art brush it should be soaked in luke-warm water for
five minutes, then the brush should be gently pressed against the sides of the
cup or water dish to loosen the hairs. You should do this carefully and slowly
for a couple of minutes to not only loosen the hairs but to remove the starch
like glue holding the hairs together.
Things You Should Never Do!
- DO NOT use your fingers to pull on or bend the hairs, ESPECIALLY if they
- DO NOT use water that is too warm or hot, only slightly warm water, no
soap is needed.
- DO NOT use any strength to clean the brush, be gentle and press lightly as
if you where writing/painting.
Now that your brush is clean and prepared for writing or painting you are
ready to create your next fine artwork. Follow this same procedure for all of
your new brushes.
Cleaning a Chinese Art Brush
One of the most important factors affecting the life of a Chinese art brush
is proper cleaning. Allowing a brush to even partially dry before cleaning it
will shorten its life. As soon as you finish using your brush clean it
immediately with luke-warm water, NOT hot hot, just slightly warm.
If you are not finished using your brush but need to take a short break,
rinse the brush out and hang it from a brush stand. You can then remove the
excess water before using it again and do a thorough cleaning after you finish
writing or painting.
When Cleaning a Brush
- DO NOT use soap or any chemicals to clean a brush.
- DO NOT use hot water!
- DO NOT allow the brush dry with ink or paint on it.
- DO NOT use any force, pull or bend the bristle with your fingers.
When you clean your brushes you should use the same gentle strokes you use
when using them to create an artwork. Pressing them in the water against the
side of a cup or water dish is all that you should do to remove ink or paint.
Use clean water to finish the job and use your fingers to very gently shape the
bristles into a point before hanging the brush on your brush stand.
We highly recommend using a brush stand to hang your brushes. You can buy
one, make one or even hang them from hooks on a tool bar. Hanging the brush
allows the water to leave the ferrule and the hairs to dry straighter.
laying a brush down may cause the hairs to dry pointing more in one direction,
which is not desirable.
Final Thoughts on Brush Care
Never try to test brushes by pulling on the hairs or bending them with your
fingers, and always be gentle with them. The more expensive a brush is the more
gentle you must be with it, and more careful to clean it well. Just like most
expensive items, highly quality art brushes are very delicate. The hairs used to
make them will last a very long time, but only if you care for the brush