Trekell has been making handmade professional quality paint brushes for over 30 years. They are sleek and handsome brushes. We will take a little look at the company, what they make, and then I share some thoughts on creativity at the end.
“Brian Trekell was backpacking through Japan when he was first inspired by the art of brushmaking. That spark led to an interest that blossomed into a passion. Soon after, he traveled to Bechhofen, Germany to fine-tune his skills. After mastering the discipline, he returned to America and began his business, one with a commitment to excellence that deserved to be given his name. Things started small: Brian used his Brea, California apartment as the first base of operations. He worked hard, never forgetting his original inspiration and to always put quality first. The company grew steadily and he moved to California’s spacious High Desert to accommodate it. “
Here is a 1:04 minute video of Trekell brushes and supplies in the making.
All the brushes that they sent to me are well constructed, balanced, and come to a fine point. The types they sent were Golden Taklon, Kolinsky Sable, Goat Hair Mop, and Synthetic Squirrel Quill Mops.
“The balance, the flow, the snap; every aspect has been considered and tested and tweaked until it’s right. And we’re all about getting things right, including the cost.”
Trekell brushes have been on my radar for a couple of years. They have a loyal cult following. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to try them out.
Golden Taklon are a synthetic sable. Round, script/rigger and dagger pictured below.
Excellent spring and snap, fine points that aren’t prone to leaning over.
The Kolinsky Sable Series starts at $5.90. The flat wash and round series are shown here. I had never used a Kolinsky flat before, this one is a 5/8,” it held a ton of water and pigment and laid it down smooth.
The rounds come to a fine point, excellent water capacity. Good for painting loose. I expected a little more snap with these. While painting with them, the point didn’t quite come back as I expected it would. I used the Golden Taklon for detail.
The first brush in the photo below is a Goat Mop, great for washes and soft blends.
They have a whole line of Synthetic Squirrel, which includes swords, daggers, and quill mops. I love quill mops and I’ve tried a few different brands. Trekell’s mops are wonderful and a good price. I took a close up here so that you could see how nicely the wire wraps are done- nothing sharp or poking out. That guy peeking down in the upper right is the Golden Taklon dagger.
This is a general use quill demo- I love watching this 5:06 minute video of Anne-Laure Jacquart using a large quill brush to paint the Taj Mahal. (That other odd-looking brush she is using in the video for the detailing is called an extended point.)
Trekell has their own line of watercolor brush care- brush restorer and a coconut oil brush soap. Click here to check out those items, plus a sample pack, a brush case and a brush stand.
Sonoran Desert plants that I sketched with these brushes, on a variety of papers- Stillman and Birn Nova Series in beige, a Hobonichi Techo, and Hahnemühle watercolor sketchbook. If you like a pointy brush with great snap, go for the Golden Taklon. For their size, the quill mops hold a nice point too. The prices are affordable, they are handmade, they feel good in the hand, and they paint well.
If you are in the market for a new brush, or a set, I recommend hopping over to their site. If you have never tried a dagger or a sword- go for it! They are really fun and expressive to paint with. I find them good for painting grass, weeds, and vegetation. Fans of urban sketcher Liz Steel, might be familiar with their shape, she writes about using them here.
Thoughts on Creativity
Feeling this article- In Praise of The Good Old-Fashioned Hobby by Austin Kleon.
Sometimes it’s not easy to, simply, be who we are. Think about that for a second…
We live in a reward, award, certificate, degree, comparison, judgement based society. You know- a what have you accomplished and are you enough, kind of a place. I see this mindset in what I will call, art snobbery. Much of the time, it’s from people that are found to be rather anonymous, or the types that don’t really put themselves out there creatively. The one’s that would rather tear someone down instead of contributing something of their own, or collaborating and encouraging others. If you are into self-expression, whether it be creating art, painting, or some other creative form- don’t listen to the clap trap! Even if it’s coming from yourself.
There’s a difference between a helpful solicited critique, and outright unsolicited criticism. The latter has no place in a healthy life. Overcoming other people’s opinions, our need for external validation, and working with that inner critic, will help us to successfully create. One person’s sense of successful creation does not look like someone else’s. Creativity is not just a job, a profession, something to master, or a mere hobby- it is something that will powerfully transform your life. Giving yourself to the creative process, regardless of outcome, flies in the face of so much nonsense. The world needs your creativity.
This is Doodlewash, there’s a lot of us in this community, sharing in this personal creative expression movement! And this is our Manifesto:
Happy painting and sketching.