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Drybrush is a painting technique in which a paint brush that is relatively dry, but still holds paint, is used. Load is applied to a dry support such as paper or primed canvas. The resulting brush strokes have a characteristic scratchy look that lacks the smooth appearance that washes or blended paint commonly has.
The drybrush technique can be achieved with water-based media and with oil-based media. With water-based media such as inks, acrylic paints, tempera paints or watercolor paints, the brush should be dry or squeezed dry of all water. The brush should then be loaded with paint that is high viscosity or thick. The loaded brush should then be applied to a dry support. With other water-based media, the brush should be loaded with paint then squeezed dry. The dry but sparsely loaded brush should then be applied to a dry support.
With oil-based media, such as oil paint, a similar technique may be used, although instead of water, the brush should be dry or squeezed dry of oil and solvent. Because oil paint has a longer drying time than water-based media, brushing over or blending drybrush strokes should be avoided to preserve the distinctive look of the drybrush technique.
The technique is frequently used in model painting to apply highlights to miniatures.