The world, as we know, is held up by antediluvian white elephants resting on a giant, primeval turtle. It’s turtles all the way down to the egg, and in the opposite direction, brushes all the way up to the clouds - culminating in the finest, eyelash tip of the Clouds brush. What lies beyond the clouds does not belong to us; the Clouds brush is as close to the Original tiniest brush as it is possible to make which holds paint.
As illusory as the world is, occasionally we are offered glimpses of what lies beyond in the plane of the gods. Similarly, the Clouds brush for miniature outlines is not all that it seems to begin with. It’s little, but it’s capable of greatness. Shy and recondite at first, it needs a little coaxing to come out of its shell, but once it gets going, it’s happy to be yours. It’s an individual that must come to be known, just as it will get to know you in return. Each brush has its own unique personality, which can be trained: some want to draw curves; others – fine lines.
We’ve gone halfway there for you with this brush. We tested each of these brushes individually by hand to ensure that their nature is most suited to create the tiny, continuously uniform lines that are the hallmarks of Persian and Indian miniature painting. This is a 'drawing' brush. They say miniature painting is really the art of the line, borrowed from China and most evidently seen in the Chinese clouds, which form some of the most iconic elements of Islamic miniature painting.
Its ferrule is nickel-plated brass and the hair is the finest sable. Three times the price of gold, it is the best hair for creating the thin, elegant lines in miniature painting. The handle is raw birch wood, which is lightest and easiest to hold and allows for the best grip, which in turn grants the most control. Since these brushes are specially designed by me, they are not standard sizes, although they are close to the European size 00000 (UK equivalent 000).
This brush, combined with a steady hand and a focused eye, paints outlines and can also be used in combination with the Rocks brush to paint the final, tiniest stages of a miniature painting. It can equally be used in the very first stages of painting when the initial lines are inked in after transferring and before the ground washes. Elegant and versatile, it can be used to create all kinds of fine lines with every exquisite nuance in between.
Each Clouds brush should have come with a small flag on the brush lid - I encourage everybody to always keep these lids for all brushes you have anyway as they are also brush tip protectors. And the flags tell you what the Clouds brushes are.
However, there is another, better way to tell: take your 3 brushes and draw a spiral with all 3. One of the brushes is best at doing so and will give you the nicest spiral (this is the Illumination brush); write this down on the brush handle. Then draw a fine, thin line with the other 2; one of them will give you the nicest line (this is the Miniature brush). The last one is the Fine Detail brush and good for doing dots, foliage etc.
I also encourage everyone to write on their brush handles what they are good at doing (eg spirals, leaves, flowers/foliage etc...) - thus personalising the brush to you. It may also be that in future as you calibrate the brush to your unique painting style you find other uses for it, and I left the handles in raw birch wood so that you can write down what they are good for. Happy doodling, happy painting!