I get that question often enough to warrant a post/tutorial (of sorts! No pictures though)
You can see pictures of numerous previous posts where I used the dry brush technique here, if you need some visuals.
I use this technique as often as possible. It’s super fast and easy, and works on surfaces that have a lot of TEXTURE, that would otherwise take a lot of work to FULLY cover with paint. And you get about the same look as painting, then sanding to distress.
I remember learning to dry brush in the 5th grade. We could only use primary colors and had to paint one of the zoo animals that the teacher had put up pictures of. Back then I was NOT very artistic. I painted a blue elephant! Anyhoooooooooooooooo . . . dry brush painting IS so easy a 5th grader can do it. It’s actually easier to DO than it is to EXPLAIN! I wish I could SHOW you how. That would be the ideal way to learn.
Don’t dip your brush in any water and don’t load very much paint onto your brush.
Have a ‘blotter’ next to your paint container, dip JUST THE TIPS of your paint brush into your paint, then swoosh your brush around on your blotter to distribute that little bit of paint on your brush and make it nice and DRY. LIGHTLY, ever so lightly brush your first stroke across the surface of the item you are painting. You should get about 50% coverage; leaving 50% of the area it’s original color.
It’s easiest to do on TEXTURED surfaces, like woven baskets, wicker, rough cut wood with a lot of raised grain; because if you lightly apply your paint you will only hit the HIGH SPOTS.
Practice on a scrap piece of wood or the back or under side of a piece of furniture until you get the feel for it. OR buy an old basket for 99 cents at a thrift store and practice on that. Then you can use the basket as a gift basket later on. The secret is to have as little paint as possible on your brush. Remember, if you don’t get as much coverage as you’d hoped with the first stroke, you can always go back and add MORE. But if you get TOO MUCH on the first time, you can’t take it away.
Go look at the posts/pictures and you’ll have a much better idea. Happy painting!