Ceramic Dry Brushing Technique

by Missy Farage
Dry brush bisque to create a visually engaging masterpiece.

Dry brush bisque to create a visually engaging masterpiece.

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Bisque -- pottery after it is fired in the kiln -- is typically painted after firing. The simplest way to create realistic, engaging paintings on bisque is to use a dry-brushing painting technique. Before you begin, make sure you have the right materials handy. Many craft and pottery stores sell stiff-bristled brushes specifically used for dry brushing. Set off your creative spark with these ceramic dry brushing techniques.

Base Coating

The most successful way to create a visually captivating dry-brushed piece of ceramic is to base coat the pottery before dry brushing. If the work will exhibit dark colors, use a wash of black acrylic to coat the piece. To show off lighter colors, use a brown or grey/blue base coat color.

Less Is More

To successfully pay tribute to the dry-brushing technique, follow one rule: less is more. When loading paint onto your brush, put the paint on the very tip of the brush. Loading too much paint onto the paintbrush can completely ruin a dry-brushed piece and transform it into an ordinary acrylic-painted piece of pottery. After you load the paint onto the brush, wipe it back and forth on a piece of scrap newspaper or denim. Once it seems you have wiped all paint from the brush, you are ready to begin painting.

Dark to Light

Create three dimensions in your dry-brushed artwork by building the paint onto the ceramic. Begin by working with darker shades of a desired color, such as dark red. Brush the acrylic onto the pottery. Gradually add lighter shades of the base color to the pottery to make them pop out and catch the eye.

Brush Strokes

Move the brush back and forth along the pottery to apply the paint onto the pottery. Don't overpaint; you want all previous layers to show through your brush strokes, which gives it the unique dry-brushed look. Use a detail brush to add small details to the dry-brushed pottery once you have finished all the layers.

About the Author

Missy Farage began her writing career in 2008 when her freelance articles were published in the Washington life-and-style journals "425 Magazine" and "South Sound Magazine." She has won awards for her poetry and writing. Farage holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Puget Sound.

Photo Credits

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