11 July, 2018
(Click for a larger image)


The amazing variety of marks possible with the humble toothbrush!

Soft marks leave dark blobs with a dry brush and neat paint, but once water is added, a faint, sustained line is achieved, akin to a paintbrush mark.

Sharp movements, like ‘ticks’ give marks with a rounded front edge, as the brushes splay, and fine trailing lines at the end of the stroke. Pouncing with the brush yielded splotches with fine radiating lines.

Heavy pressure gives a dark, continuous line.

These are some of my favourite marks, so far. Dry brush gives intense coverage mixed with unpredictable white space. Pressure one one curve of the bend gives a stronger mark, interceded by trailing, stop/start marks in the tail. When the same movement was repeated with a wet brush and diluted paint, the full, solid coverage I expected didn’t occur, instead white space emerged and darker/lighter areas.

Fast lines produce wide stripes, trailing off,

The slow lines were quite similar to the fast ones, with the added feature of ‘globs’ of paint being released randomly and dragged along to yield a pleasing group of lines of variable thickness.


As mentioned in the flowing experiments, variable line marks were achieved. The other interesting occurrence were lovely round drip marks with fine, furry edges and internal rings, made by the pools as the paper dried.

The most natural movement in the world to make with a toothbrush is scrubbing. Hard pressure in wide circular movements produced variable bushy lines, with the circular movement pull through them.

Flicking the loaded toothbrush gave spots and lines ranging from tiny to a few millimetres in diameter, giving a pleasing ‘shaded’ effect.