The Ultimate Guide to Brusho Painting for Beginner Artists

Brusho is a brand of watercolor ink crystals known for their vibrant colors and versatility. In Brusho painting, these crystals are sprinkled or applied onto paper and then activated with water, creating spontaneous and often unpredictable bursts of color.

This technique is popular for its ability to produce unique textures and effects, making it a favorite among artists seeking to experiment with abstract and dynamic watercolor styles.

What is Brusho painting?

Made by ColourCraft in the UK, Brusho painting uses a type of paint called ‘Crystal Colour’ (English spelling) that uses water-soluble pigment powders.

The pigment powders are made from concentrated dye, and they come in a variety of colors. Brusho paints can be used on their own or mixed with other mediums, like watercolors or acrylics.

Are Brusho paints the same as watercolor paints?

No, Brusho paints are not the same as watercolor paints. Watercolor paints are made from a pigment and a binder, whereas Brusho paints are just pigment powders. Brusho also doesn’t have the same transparent properties that watercolors have.

Brusho paintings need to have the Brusho pigment mixed with another medium, like water, in order to work otherwise, they are just a paint powder/pigment powder. It is recommended to use warm water to ensure the pigment is dissolved properly.

Can I mix Brusho pigment with an oil-based medium?

No, you cannot mix Brusho with an oil-based medium. The Brusho pigment is water-soluble, so it will not mix well with an oil-based medium.

What surfaces can I use Brusho paints on?

Brusho paints work best on absorbent surfaces, like paper or fabric. You can also use them on non-absorbent surfaces, like glass or metal, but you’ll need to use a fixative to make sure the paint doesn’t run or fade. They work best when treated like watercolor paints.

How do I mix Brusho paints with other mediums?

Brusho paints can be mixed with other mediums, like watercolors or acrylics.

Mix Brusho paint with watercolors

To mix Brusho with watercolors, simply add a small amount of Brusho pigment powder to your palette along with your watercolors.

Mix Brusho paint with acrylics

To mix Brusho with acrylics, you’ll need to use a medium like Liquitex Medium Gel or Acrylic Medium. Simply add a small amount of the Brusho pigment powder to your palette and then mix it with the medium until you’ve achieved the desired consistency.

Thickening Brusho paints with a medium

You can also thicken Brusho paints with a Brusho thickener that allows you to make the pigment/paint thick enough to be used for printing or to apply glazes.

Thickening Brusho paints with a medium

Can I use Brusho paints on their own?

Yes, you can use Brusho paints on their own. They work best when used with an absorbent surface, like paper or fabric.

If you’re using them on a non-absorbent surface, like glass or metal, you’ll need to use a fixative to make sure the paint doesn’t run or fade.

What colors do Brusho paints come in?

Brusho comes in a variety of colors – up to 33 different colors if you purchase the individual pots, including red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink, black, and white. You can also buy sets that contain a mix of colors.

The chart below can be accessed here and if you click on a color it will provide you with the name.

Brusho paint pots can come in 33 colors for the 50gm pots and 32 colors in the 15gm pots
Brusho paint pots can come in 33 colors for the 50gm pots and 32 colors in the 15gm pots

Can you blend Brusho?

Yes, you can blend Brusho paints to create new colors. To do this, simply mix two or more colors together on a palette until you’ve achieved the desired shade.

You will also notice when you look at Brusho pigment up close that Brusho pigments are actually made up of many colors to create secondary and tertiary colors.

You can also blend Brusho on the surface as you would watercolor paints.

How long does it take for Brusho paints to dry?

Brusho typically dries within 24 hours. However, depending on the thickness of the paint and the type of surface you’re using, it may take longer for the paint to fully dry.

How do you clean up Brusho?

To clean up Brusho, simply rinse your brush in water and then soap. You can also use a brush cleaner if you have one handy.

Are Brusho paintings waterproof once dry?

Yes, Brusho paintings are waterproof once dry. This also means Brusho paint can not be reactivated with water after it is dry as you would with Gouache paints.

Do Brusho paintings need to be sealed?

Brusho paintings do not need to be sealed, but you may want to varnish your painting for extra protection.

Especially with the claims from some long-term users of Brusho paint saying that there are cases where the colors have faded over time from long-term exposure to sunlight.

I would recommend using a UV conservation varnish for that extra level or protection.

Can I use Brusho on fabric?

Yes, you can use Brusho on fabric. Simply mix the paint with a fabric medium and then apply it to your fabric.

Once you iron the fabric after painting with Brusho it will be permanent and will last quite a few washes.

Is Brusho archival quality paint?

Technically yes, Brusho is an archival quality paint. This means it will not fade over time and is therefore ideal for paintings that you want to last a lifetime.

In the real world, there is lots of anecdotal evidence from people who have made Brusho paintings who state that Brusho paints do fade over time if left exposed to direct sunlight.

Some of the possible effects you can create with Brusho

You can pretty much create any effects in Brusho painting as you can with watercolor painting. These are:

  • Splatter – this is created by flicking or spraying the paint onto your surface.
  • Stippling – this is created by using a fine tip brush to apply the paint in small dots.
  • Dry brush – this is painting using a brush that has very little paint on it and then dragging it across your surface.
  • Wet on wet – this is created by applying wet paint to a wet surface. Like watercolors.
  • Wet on dry – this is created by applying wet paint to a dry surface.
  • Resist effects – this is created by using a masking agent like wax or tape to create patterns in your painting.

Here are some tips for painting effects with Brusho:

When using Brusho for the first time, start with a small amount of paint and gradually add more until you get the desired effect.

Brusho works best on porous surfaces such as watercolor paper, canvas, or even wood.

If you want to create a resist effect, apply a layer of petroleum jelly or white wax crayon to the area you want to keep free of color before painting. Even some masking fluid for watercolors will work quite well when painting with Brusho.

To create a dry brush effect, mix your paint with very little water so that it is almost like a powder. Then load your brush with the Brusho paint and gently brush it across your surface.

For a wet-on-wet effect, simply add water to your Brusho paint and apply it to your surface.

To create stippling effects, load your brush with paint and then tap it gently onto your surface using a fine tip brush.

Where to buy Brusho and other related products

You can find Brusho at most art supply stores, or online. I have linked to a few online throughout the article, but your best bet is to support your local art stores.

If they don’t have Brusho in stock (as it is a niche product) then by all means buy online.

Examples of artwork created with Brusho

I have curated a few Brusho painting examples that I found online (mostly Instagram) and have linked a YouTube video that I think you will find quite useful.

brusho examples 1

Brusho painting basics

Brusho crystals tutorial video

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