Trekell’s Artist of the Month

I am incredibly honored to be featured on Trekell and Company’s website as their February Artist of the Month. Not only does the Trekell team make extraordinary tools, they are also very supportive of their artists.

When it comes to paint brushes Trekell is one of the best in the business (rivaling Rosemary & Co but recently I’ve been preferring Trekell).

Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Hog Bristle Long Filberts – I begin every painting with one of these bad boys. I don’t know why but it seems most artists tend to reach for the smallest brush in their conglomeration of tools. I start with a size 6 and try to hold onto it for as long as I can before relinquishing it to a smaller brush for detail work. The longer handle makes it more comfortable to step back and block in the overall shapes and check for proportional issues.

Legion Long Flats – I’ve almost exclusively used *filberts and only started using these *flats in the last couple of months. These brushes are so pretty. And even though Trekell claims they’re synthetic I truly believe they are made from unicorn hair. These brushes are so versatile I’ve completed full paintings with just one or two sizes. They are ideal for covering large areas.

William Whitaker Signature Series – Designed by the master himself. The long handles are slightly contoured for a comfortable fit and perfect for detail work and blending.

Kolinsky Rounds – Like the signature series I also use these for detail work and blending. The handle is short so it issues a lot more control. Be sure to use a mahl stick though or your arm and wrist will hate you later. These are also perfect for signing your signature.

Trekell also announced they will be selling Bill’s own palette designs which you can find here and here. I’ve used both and they are extremely comfortable and lightweight. I use Style 1 more frequently but if you have a lot of colors and do lots of mixing I’d go with Style 2. Trekell shows you how to hold them properly and I appreciate that they have kept the lefties in mind during the design phase (It’s not as easy as just flipping the palette over to fit your right hand if you paint with your left…all of the edges are beveled for a smooth contoured fit so the edges would be backwards and poke and cut in all the wrong places, like wearing a left shoe on your right foot). The palettes come unprimed so they can be stained or painted to suit your individual style.

Now, for those followers who nodded off during the boring painting and tools and stuff speech, here’s a work in progress of a good looking guy.

*Each of the different shapes of paint brush bristles (say that three times really fast) have a name:

  • Flat – square end, medium to long bristles
  • Filbert – similar to the flat but with soft rounded bristles
  • Round – rounded or pointed tip
  • Fan – I’ll leave this one to your imagination

Paintbrush Demo

Bill found his favorite sable brush for portrait detail in London, England many years ago. They are difficult and expensive to ship overseas, however, and he’s been searching for its equal in the states ever since to no avail. Bill also has a close relationship with Trekell, a wonderful paintbrush company located in California. He’s been purchasing brushes from them almost since the company’s inception and has also filmed demos and tested products for them before they head to market. Trekell, in turn, made Bill a Signature Series of portrait brushes according to Bill’s specifications.

Recently, Bill sent Trekell one of his England brushes to see if they could make a replica. They sent him five to test, and Bill gave one to me for my input.

To test the brushes as objectively as possible, Bill is simultaneously using the Trekell replica, his England brush, and a watercolor Kolinsky sable. He remarked he’s unsure of the feel of the replica just yet. As I’ve had no previous experience with magical paintbrushes discovered in a dark and quaint London shop…resting perhaps in a velvet-lined case near the window, a shaft of light breaking through the dirty clouds to form a dusty halo around the lacquered hardwood handle and glinting off of the silver-plated ferrule which catches the artist’s eye…


I am loving the Trekell replica. The sable bristles are longer  than my other detail brushes and yet retain their point for a buttery smooth stroke every time. This is not the smallest brush I own, but it renders minute details with ease.

As I work layer upon layer, I used the Trekell sable to create broken strokes. I then go over the strokes with one of Bill’s old Kolinskys which are perfect for blending and creating textures.

The painting still isn’t finished, but here’s another progress shot: