Improving brushes for Japanese Woodblock Printing

How to soften your brushes for better printing.

New Japanese brushes of the type featured here can be improved by careful singeing in a hot pan followed by rubbing on rough sandpaper (I used our belt sander here) to split and soften the brush bristles. This is also especially helpful if you are improvising with bristle shoe or stencil brushes. You can see my cut down shoe brushes hanging with my other print brushes here.