The A – Z of Artful Journaling: B is for Brusho Part I

Hello and welcome to this post on creating beautiful backgrounds for your journal using Brusho, highly pigmented watercolour crystals made in the UK by COLOURCRAFT.

Brusho comes in little pots containing 15g of powdered pigment. You can buy them individually, or in sets. I have the set of 12 which costs about £20 depending on where you buy it from.

Top Row: Scarlet, Bright Red, Orange, Yellow

Middle Row: Lemon, Leaf Green, Emerald Green, Ultramarine

Bottom Row: Turquoise, Purple, Dark Brown, Black.

Once you start using Brusho, one of the first things you’ll notice is that a little goes a VERY long way! I created these puddles of colour with water and just a few granules of each of the powders. I think the most controlled way of getting the powder out of the pots is to gently lift it out with a very dry brush. The instruction leaflet suggests using a pepper pot or poking a hole in the lid to make a shaker, but I think this would lead to adding more than you really need.

Before trying these paints in my journal, I swatched them out using the puddles I’d created above. You can see how vibrant and saturated they are – click on the image for a closer look. Obviously, if you want a more intense colour you just add more powder, or less water. (The black came out more of a grey-purple, but that was because I only used a few granules.) I did wet-on-dry and wet-in-wet for all the colours, and they took beautifully to the watercolour paper, producing lovely washes. Another thing you’ll notice about Brusho, is that some of the colours are made up of a mixture of pigments, the greens, purple and brown for example – when they first dissolve you can see all the colours dispersing.

Now, onto using Brusho to make a background.

Obviously, you can make puddles of colour and simply paint them onto the page however you’d like (See Background Basics for one idea.), but you could also try this blotting method I learned from Marta at Maremi Small Art. You’ll need:

  • some Brusho
  • a craft mat or something nonabsorbent and non-staining like a non-stick reusable cooking sheet
  • a very dry paintbrush
  • a water spray
  • your journal
  • a hairdryer or heat tool

First, spray your mat with some water – just enough so it beads up.

Next, using your brush, pick up a small amount of powder and drop it onto the beaded water. You will probably need to tap the brush to knock off the pigment. Be careful not to get your brush wet, or the powder will stay stuck to it. You can spray the mat again if you need to dilute your colours further.

Use as many colours as you like. I chose turquoise and emerald green. You can see that these two pigments are made up of more than one colour. The green is made up of multiple greens and also has yellow in it, and the turquoise has at least two shades of blue. (Click on the image for a closer look.)

 

To get the colour onto your journal page, just press your page face-down onto the mat. If you’re using thin paper, like 52gsm Tomoe River Paper, don’t press too hard. If you press too hard for too long, you can actually force the colour through the paper and out onto the next page!

 

Now, lift up your journal, and take a look!

If you’re not happy with the distribution of colour, you can press it down again and again until you are.

 

I’ve found it’s best to dry the page with a hairdryer or heat tool to prevent the paint bleeding through the page.

 

 

And here it is, the finished page. You can see how the paint has run and dried and spread and mixed, and you can still see some of the individual pigment granules dotted about. I love the variety of colours and effects the Brusho has left on the page.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about other ways you can use Brusho in your journal. What about you? Have you used Brusho or similar powders in your journaling? What effects have you been able to achieve with them?

Thanks for reading! Bye for now.

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