Fear of Fine Materials

I realized yesterday after posting Fear of the new sketchbook that I possibly had a series of “fears”.

Yes, in quotations because the world won’t end if I ruin something with my “fine materials”.

Watch this video please, it’s about how Da Vinci Blue Squirrel Hair brushes are made.
They are made in Germany, by hand, each one of these brushes is hand-combed, hand-smoothed, hand-bound and hand-assembled.

How can I not be intimidated by fine materials when I’m just sketching?

I bought ONE of these brushes because I like to do fashion illustrations and the style I’m pursuing is very flowy and minimal, it requires a few strokes of watercolour to make it look timeless. An example of what I’m trying to accomplish is below in the links section.

So I decided to give it a whirl. I’m self-taught so I didn’t know if the size of the brush was correct. It appears I have chosen too big of a brush for a sketchbook size illustration but the lines, the strokes!

However, I didn’t enjoy it because as it always happens, I am expecting things to come out perfect the first time I try something.

There is a first time for everything and this time it involves using one sheet of fine watercolour paper, fine-er watercolours and an artist quality watercolour brush.

These are my notes to self from the experience.

  1. Yes, it’s intimidating and uncomfortable. It will be every time for a good couple of years.
  2. Remember what Karl Lagerfeld said. Draw for the wastebasket so you find out what you want.
  3. If the first time turns out nice, it was a happy accident. It won’t alleviate the fears next time.
  4. Your workflow is fine, stop beating yourself up because you sketched in pencil first. IT’S FINE.
  5. If you go through your fine materials, you buy more, because this is what you do.

This is the experiment I set for myself:

I have one block of really nice watercolour paper that I haven’t opened either.
I will take one sheet and I will make a bad painting. I will sketch directly in ink and as I was instructed in my drawing class, I will push through until it’s finished.

It will happen this week.
I’ll report back.


  1. Pingback: From Watercolor to pattern by Luisa

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