I have found it difficult to paint very small details, such as features on a little face, on canvas. I tried every trick I could think of to get the paint in a small enough area, including cutting a brush that was already small, down so it only has a few bristles left to paint with. What sort of things do others use to paint small details on canvas?
I'm not above using anything I can find that will give me the result I want. Have you tried something like a tootpick - wooden or plastic? Depending on what you are trying to paint, look around your home with new "eyes".
I'm going to have to get myself one of those magnifiers. Janine, you made me chuckle. Thanks! Loretta, I tried a toothpick, but you're right, I should look around to see what else I can use around the house to get those paint into those tiny spaces. I still have some work to do on those tiny faces.
Another factor is the coarseness or smoothness of the canvas or other substrate. Smooth surfaces tend to make it easier to to paint precise, small details. Wiping and reloading the brush often is crucial. I've seen students try to get that last bit of paint off the brush, thereby ruining details that they have just created. But of course as Alfred said, you want to load it sparingly.
Also, find some way to stable your palm. you cannot do this against wet paint so if your canvas is wet, let it dry or use a cross bar to rest your palm. learn to make quick single precise strokes to avoid mistakes.
I find that s,mall details work best if I'm painting into a surface that's a little "wet" (oil), but not the really wet spreadable kind of wet. Then really thin paint using just the tip of a brush. Sometimes a squared off or angled brush has a sharper point if you tilt it at just the right angle.
Has anyone tried dog-earing a toothpick to expose the wood fibers, then cutting it down from there?
I had my husband make an artists' bridge for me. It really helps! That's a good idea Regina. I haven't tried that yet but I will. I did retouch a painting using a hat pin for some tiny details in a face. That worked ok.
I've always loved a lot of detail in my paintings and when I was first starting out then I'd buy very fine sable brushes. Unfortunately, I would quickly wear the bristles off these expensive brushes, so I'd use the quick. At some point it occurred to me that the brush end was basically a twig... and I had a whole box of twigs in the kitchen called toothpicks. This has lead to being nicknamed the 'toothpick artist' locally. So I use a toothpick, sometimes as a fine knife, roller, etc.. It really is a quite interesting tool, this portrait was painted almost entirely with a toothpick.