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How to Load a Flat Brush with Two Colors

Use a double-loaded brush to blend two colors in one stroke.

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Have you ever thought about loading more than one color onto a brush before you start painting? That way the colors blend as you paint. This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to load two colors onto a flat brush simultaneously, or create what's known as a double-loaded brush. It's a technique that works best with more fluid paints as they're easier to get onto the brush.

1. Pour Out Two Paint Colors

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
The first step is to pour out a small quantity of each of the colors you wish to use. Don't put them too close to one another, you don't want them to mix together.

Quite how much of each color you pour will depend on what you're painting and is something you will soon learn from experience. But if in doubt, rather pour out too little paint than too much. This will avoid it going to waste, or drying before you've used it. It only takes a moment to pour out some more if you need it.

2. Dip a Corner in the First Color

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
Dip one corner of the brush into one of the two colors you've selected. It doesn't matter which one it is. You're aiming to get paint half-way along the width of the brush, but don't stress about it, it's something that you'll soon learn with a bit of practice. You can always dip the corner in again if you need a little more paint.

3. Dip the Other Corner in the Second Color

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
Once you've loaded the first color onto the one corner of the brush, dip the other corner into your second color. If you've got your colors poured out quite close to one another, this is quickly done by twisting the brush. Again, this is something that you'll learn with a little practice.

4. Spread the Paint

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
Once you've got your two colors loaded onto the two corners of the brush, you want to spread it on the brush and get it on both sides. Start by pulling the brush across the surface of your palette; this will spread it on the first side of the brush. Notice how the two colors blend together where they meet.

5. Load the Other Side of the Brush

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
Once you've got the one side of the brush loaded with paint, you need to load the other side. This is done simply by pulling the brush the other way through the paint you've spread out, until you've got paint loaded on both sides. You might find you need to dip into the puddles of paint more than once to get a good amount of paint on your brush. (Again, this is something you'll soon get a feel for with experience.)

6. What to do if You Get a Gap

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
If you don't have enough paint on your brush, you'll get a gap between the two colors, rather than then blending together. Simply load a little more paint onto each corner (making sure you dip into the right colors!), then brush back and forth to spread the paint.

7. Ready to Paint

Decorative Painting Loading a Brush with Two Colors
Image © Marion Boddy-Evans
Once you've got paint loaded on both sides of your brush, you're reading to start painting! When you've used up the paint on the brush, you simply repeat the process. Though you may want to clean your brush first, or at least wipe it on a cloth, to keep the colors pure and avoid cross-contamination or unintentional color mixing.
Related Video
Basic Brush Types and Strokes

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