Actual drum brushes
I did a bit of a web search, which turned up the history of "drumming brushes", contained in this very informative article. Apparently they were actual wire flyswatters (fan-shaped, rather than square-shaped); and also people used whisk brooms.
(As an aside: oddly, you can't find whisk brooms here in Australia. Duunno why.)
Anyhow, I became curious as to whether "actual" brushes would work -- so I picked up a pair of dish-scrubbing brushes, and a pair of grout-scrubbing brushes, and gave 'em a try. Here's the Y'allTube video clip:
BTW, here's the drumhead, which a few years ago I let my daughter decorate with permanent markers.
And, here's the drumhead with the brushes on it:
I'm pleased with how my experiment turned out. Cost me about ten bucks, all said: $2 each for the dish-scrubbing brushes, and $3 each for the grout-scrubbers. That's a reasonable price to pay to satisfy my curiosity -- and expand my range of possible drum sounds. :)