Innovative techniques which do not require a paint brush

Throughout the course of history, many pioneer artists have found very inventive ways to produce paintings that usually reject the traditional method of using a paint brush on canvas. From the ground breaking painting styles of abstract expressionists to pushing the limits modern day creations, experimentation is the root to coming up with  great works of art. Whether you prefer to get your hands dirty with finger painting or decide on using new tools and styles, here are 7 inspired techniques that do not require a paint brush.

Dripping and Splattering With Paint Brush

Jackson Pollock is considered to the most well known artist for splattering pigments across canvases through a process of random yet calculated movements. This riveting technique involved setting up canvases on the floor and then dripping, splattering and splashing paint onto them while using sticks, his hands and sometimes kitchen tools! Rejecting conventional methods of painting, Pollock’s works are thought to visualize the essence of life itself.

Also, long before Pollock, Japanese Zen Buddhist painters were already practicing this technique with splashed ink in the 15th century. And today, many painters continue to experiment with various versions of this technique.

Scraping and Pulling

The scraping and pulling technique is mostly associated with Dutch abstract artist Willem de Kooning, who pulls paint using a palette knife, and German Painter Gerhard Richter who used to prefer a squeegee. This technique is similar to dripping and splattering since the idea id to le the medium dictate the final outcome of the painting.


As the name suggests, the pouring technique involves pouring different colours of paint directly onto the canvas on top of each other in order to produce visually appealing swirling patterns. Mexican abstract artist David Alfaro Siqueiroswas the founder of this technique who termed his works as accidental paintings. His paintings inspired many artists after his time who used the technique to produce flowing, abstract paintings that represent pure color.

Finger Painting

People usually refer finger paintings to paintings that can be done only by children. However, it is known that this classic form of meditative practive can actually produce incredible results. Although the painter’s approach seems freehanded, each blank canvas is always carefully planned in advance. It could be anything that provides inspiration; from a photograph to a sketch to just something passing you by randomly.

Ebru Painting

This form of painting is popular in Central Asia and Turkey. Ebru paintings are also known as paper marbeling. They are produced using dyes, a water based solution and a set of tools. The colorful dyes are added to the liquid surface before the artist uses a pointed tool called a comb or awl to force the liquid into swirling designs and patterns. A sheet of paper is then placed on top of the design to transfer the image. Although Ebru is an ancient painting technique, it is used by many modern painters to produce mesmerizing patterns.


Airbrushes first originated in the 1800s and were used as a photo retouching tool. However today, many artists choose the subtle painting technique in order to achieve a smooth, photo-realistic results.

Digital Painting without paint brush

With digital technology on the rise nowadays, with paint brush artists are now able to move away from traditional ways of painting on canvas in favor of a computer screen. There are a variety of learning resources and digital tools that are available allowing tech-savvy artists to create painterly effects while using brushes and virtual palettes that can be customize according to their needs.

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