Artists tools are very personal. I’m just talking about tools you would use to apply paint. You may think ‘paintbrush’, and you’d be right. Every artist has their favourite brushes, but that’s not all that can be used to create a painting.

So why would an artist use other tools to apply paint?

In my experience, there are two basic reasons:

  • To create different marks – Sometimes you want a different type of mark in the painting. Variety adds interest to a painting, so using different tools will provide those differences.
  • To unlock creativity – there’s a significant element of problem-solving in art. Deciding to paint without using a brush means selecting the right tool, adjusting the way the paint is applied, and then assessing whether you’ve achieved the look you are aiming for.

Some tools will work better in some mediums. This week I worked on an oil painting – a medium I don’t use very often, and while I started with brushes, I found that palette knives suited me better. So the result was a combination of the two.

Here are some unusual artists tools

You may find some of these unexpected. Some can be used to apply and make marks in thicker paints like acrylics. Others will work better for watercolour and ink

If you’re an artist, why not challenge your self to try a new one this week:

  • Sticks
  • Fruit nets from the supermarket
  • Greeting card cellophane sleeve
  • Cardboard tab
  • Homemade brush (string or straw)
  • Credit card
  • Disposable cutlery (either plastic or wooden)
  • Drinking Straw
  • Fingers
  • Crumpled paper
  • Leaves
  • Feathers
  • Hair comb
  • Bubble wrap
  • Paperclip

All of these can be found in my studio and have been used to paint at some point.
(Note: the fingers are only there when I’m in the room, lest you think my studio is some macabre dungeon :-D)

If you decide to take up the challenge and try using a different tool for painting. I would love to see it. Post it on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @vandymasseystudio