THE PALETTE KNIFE--POPULAR, POWERFUL TEXTUREMAKER
(For an introduction to this topic, see Basics 1.) A palette knife takes paint and makes it more 3-dimensional. Scraping paint with the back of the blade, the tip or its side places paint in wide bands of uneven, broad textured layers,(left), 2-sided stripes or thin linear lines (right) depending on its control.
The scraping can be loose, tightly controlled, and anywhere in-between. Dried, overlapped layers are colorful and build dimension. Layer heights can be augmented further by pre-priming the surface with gesso and any tool depending upon the outcome desired.
THE BRAYER, A ROLLING DELIGHT
The brayer is a fast worker, covering a whole background very quickly. Color can be completely solid (center left, top), thinly applied with multiple colors (right), or as a thin, patchy "haze". Paint is rolled on a glass or acrylic pane (left). The application on the background can be thick and even by continuous rolling across the area. This produces a nice, fairly even "linear" texture To have more transparent applications, the brayer is inked up and excess paint is removed by rolling the brayer over scrap newspaper before being laid onto the background.(center left, bottom)
THE SPONGE--SOFT SIMPLICITY
Sponges can vary from very fine to very coarse. Color applications may be solid, open and airy, dragged and linear, splotchy, soft or hard edged. The sponge "brush" (left) produces even or streaked tones, and nice, solid "liners". The fine sponge (2nd left) is a gentle color applicator effecting small, thin, delicate, open tones which are great for foggy, transparent light sprays of color fading to the background. Medium and coarse sponges (center and right), having wider open spaces exhibit color in larger circular patterns. Colors can be applied in layers over themselves or other solid/blended backgrounds or shapes.
DRY BRUSH--TEXTURE FROM NARROW TO WIDE DEGREES
There are many types of brushes, and each is a distinct definer of texture. Wide bristle brushes (left) offer speedy coverage in large areas. Flat, stencil brushes (2nd) pounce colors on like a hard sponge. The fan brush (3rd) can drag, twirl, tap or streak colors into wonderful textural patterns and forms. A soft brush can be dampened, and deliberately pinched flat with separated hairs. When lightly dipped into paint, the split sections provided multiple lines with each stroke. Great for detailing on a painted background (right). Some dry brush "stippling" can be found at Step 1.
A few considerations about working with these tools: select a tool appropriate to the size of the needed form and area; always do several small color practices with it before the final application; directly mixing color blends on the format is time-freeing and practical; each tool can be used as a solo application or be means of layering over already painted areas. Experience and enjoy!