In a number of art books I've seen pictures of brushes and I've always been fascinated by the ways in which different artists capture the fine bristles of these objects. Often they're solid and distinct yet also, somehow, merged together as a gestalt. Anyway I picked up one of my children's brushes today for a quick sketch:
With a bit of light on it this simple brush yielded up a decent range of tones which I attempted to copy through shading and a certain amount of erasure. Getting the outline down wasn't too hard although I didn't really see the angle of the brush quite how my photograph shows it. The shading though required a few passes with a soft pencil to create a decent gradient across the top and a more consistent tone lower down:
The bristles though? Well they're thicker than I expected and I tried to make up for this by adding more of them but that hasn't really worked; with this brush I'd have been better off trying to outline the negative space of the transparent bristles I think. Also my picture looks somehow flattened, rather than successfully pretending to be three-dimensional, because the top edge should be a lot lower down. So I gained some useful practice doing this but the result has too many flaws to be pleasing.