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kiagc 08-09-2020 03:26 PM

Watercolour Need to Know
Watercolour Need to Know

Brenda (Benzi)

First, I am going to talk a little about watercolor paper. Hot and cold press refer to the texture of the watercolor paper. Cold press is a bit bumpy and more absorbent than hot press.. Hot press is smoother than cold press . It seems you can make corrections easier with the hot press because it doesn't absorb as quickly. There are many choices, archival, acid-free, cotton....so much to learn about paper. I mostly use Fabriano hot press and sometimes I use cold press. I like the smoothness of the hot press. But either cold or hot is fine. I have also used Strathmore with a vellum surface. I found a good article you may be interested in reading on Dick Blick as it gives a lot of info on different watercolor papers. https://www.dickblick.com/.../painting/watercolor-paper/... About brushes, I use my #6, and #8 round brushes probably more than any, along with a 1/2” flat brush. But, I do have a fan brush I really like because you can use it for many things. I once used it to make Christmas trees and I have seen people use it to make grasses and water ripples. Round brushes are versatile and good for small line or broad strokes, along with washes. Another brush I have to get into the tiniest spaces is a 12/0 and one more is an angle shader for creating curved strokes and to shade in tight corners. I don’t have the best, most expensive brushes but they are o.k. for now. For paints, I am mostly using Kuretake Gansai Tambi and I like them. I am really looking forward to getting some Daniel Smith paints. I also use Tombow markers and just bought some Tombow Dual Brush pens to see if I like them. I’ve used Ranger Distress ink for watercoloring, also. Everyone just has to find what they like best and be happy with it.

Linda (Holstein)

We are discussing some of the products we use to watercolor. There are two kinds of paper I use...Arches 140# cold press for stamped images or hand sketched, Buy it at Hobby Lobby with the coupon. When using digis, I use Strathmore 90#, because it works in my printer. It has to be cut down to 81/2 x 11 to fit in printer. This paper doesn't take a lot of water. It works fine with reinkers, watercolor markers anything water soluble. Just can't get it too wet. My favorite brushes are two silver black velvet, a #4 and #6. They are great for holding a nice amount of water. I just invested in some Daniel Smiths water color tubes. They are expensive, but they are fun to use. Love the colors you can mix. I use reinkers, ink pads, aqua pencils, brush markers and watercolor crayons. I use a ceramic egg plate my Mom made me years ago for my palette. It works great for mixing the colors and making my paint into puddles. My other item that I use is a tombow sand and rubber eraser for erasing lines and mistakes.

Kia (kiagc)

First, let me start by repeating what my Art Teacher said to me, which is when getting your materials buy the best that you can afford. With that being said, the following is my opinion only.

Like most people who watercolour, I too have my go to products. When I first started my watercolour classes I did not use decent paper, and found I was having issues that the others in the class were not having, like blooms! Once I bit the bullet and invested in quality paper those issues stopped. I now only use quality papers. Is that a must for all, no I believe it is a choice that one can make. The difference being I am painting much larger pieces in watercolour class than when I make a card, and that makes a big difference.

But, also do not have the room to store different kinds of paper, my cardstock is enough! So, my inventory consists of three choices only. Arches Cold Press 140lb. and Arches Rough 300lb, along with Fabriano Hot Press 140lb. I don’t do digis by printing directly on my paper, I print on photocopy paper and use Graphite to trace to my watercolour paper. Arches Cold Press is my go to paper as it handles the water very well which makes it good for washes, and as well handles the fine details. I like to use Hot Press for when I heat emboss as it takes the powder well and does not have the ridges to deal with that is found in Cold Press paper. The Rough paper, I would not use for cards, at least not the one I have. It is very thick paper hence the weight is considerably more.

For the most part I buy for the colour. I do have my original set from when I started classes which I still use. It consists of 16 colours of Winsor Newton Artist Grade watercolour, as we mix all of our colours in class. I think personally that mixing ones palette should be an exercise that everyone should do, as through this process you learn a lot about your watercolours. That is just my opinion though. I did use Student Grade paints before classes and did not have great results, mostly being I was never happy with the intensity of the colours.
For a couple of years I went with using the 16 colours. Actually I think it was 12 when I started and I built it to 16. Then I became afflicted with “Colour” syndrome. More colours, ooh and ahh! My second palette grew to 36 colours and a mixture of brands, which consists of Winsor Newton, Schmincke and Daniel Smith. This is my “colour” set and I go to it first when I am not in class, especially when I make cards.
But recently I started collecting more Daniel Smith. I start out with the 5ml tubes as they are expensive for Canadians and as I use them I replace with the 15,l tube, making it easier to collect. I am collecting by choices I have made in colours. I have completed the greens, and have a mixing palette done, and almost done with the blues. As I can afford it, I continue. And yes, Daniel Smith paints are amazing paints.
Winsor Newton and Schmincke paints are not as expensive as Daniel Smith, but that does not mean they are cheap paints. The Artist Grade are excellent paints and I would highly recommend them.

Brushes open up a whole different world. There are so many different kinds of brush. What you want are brushes that work well with watercolour, round brushes that keep their shape and hold a lot of paint or water in what is called the belly of the brush.
I started with synthetic brushes and there is nothing wrong with them. Between the paper and paints, it is the brushes that I think can be done cheaper. I would recommend however that you make sure you are buying a synthetic brush that is for watercolour. You would also not want Round brushes made from Squirrel, Ox or Goat hair as they will not hold their shape. They are suitable for flat brushes and mops however.

Synthetic brushes are made from polyester or nylon and are designed to mimic what you get in a more expensive brush. There are manufactures that make a brush with tiny ridges to improve the paint carrying property, so be sure to do some research here.
The best brushes made for watercolour are made from Sable hair. The very best Sable hair is called Kolinsky sable, but is sourced from a Weasel, not a Sable, living in the Siberian area of Kolinsky. This area has extreme weather, hence the hair of the Weasel is resilient and supple. If you care for your Sable brushes they will last you for years.
My personal brushes are Escoda Reserva-Tajmyr Kolinsky Brushes Series 1212. I bought them over time, one a month on average and still need the #12. I had the opportunity to try one of these brushes and they changed my life, well, they changed my painting. I have another partial set of Da Vinci Maestro Tobolsky Kolinsky Red Sable brushes. They are in my personal opinion not as good as they Escoda Brushes, yet more expensive. The brush hair is from the tail of a Sable, so they are up there in quality. I do love how they work with Hot Press paper though, which is why I have them in sizes 4, 6 and 8 round.

Lydia (UnderstandBlue)

The most important tool in watercolor is your TIME. If you paint daily, even if you don’t like what you paint, your skills will exponentially improve over time. Carve out half an hour or so to paint daily - that’s how I taught myself. Do it in a sketchbook and relieve yourself of the pressure we all put on ourselves to make a card. The book is truly practice, good for daily habits and you can close it when you’re done. Truly a gift. My favorite sketchbook is Stillman & Birn - their sizing process is flawless, and I’ve tried others that are not, and they are worth it. There are three things worth investing in - canvas (paper), brush and paint. Watercolor paper HAS to be 100% cotton or it’s not watercolor paper. It might be watercolor friendly paper, but it’s not watercolor paper and it will frustrate you. If it does not state clearly on the paper that it’s 100% cotton, it’s not. Save your money for the real thing. I like the 5x7 blocks of Fabriano Artistico Extra White Cold Press from Blick or Simon - they are sized perfectly for cardmakers - you get two cards out of each sheet and the price is great. There are others I like, but really that’s my go to, and the important thing is cold press - hot press will disappoint you. My favorite brushes are Escoda Versatil Travel brushes (remember travel?) - handmade in Spain, keep a point beautifully and cruelty free. My favorite watercolor hands down (and I have every brand you can think of - trust me I tried a lot on the way here) is Daniel Smith. Try to avoid any student grade products - use high quality artist grade like Daniel Smith. I have a group on Facebook where you can learn more about this amazing paint and get some inspiration from some of your favorite Splitcoast peeps, like my team member Lori - (stamp_momma). Finally - remember that watercolor is a beautifully expressive and somewhat unpredictable medium with a mind of its own - and that perfection is for serial killers https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/e...5/18/1f642.pngHave fun and find joy in this beautiful medium.

Angie (Ohmypaper!)

The Watercolor Team has done such an excellent job of pointing us in the direction of the best supplies!  My suggestion is to buy the best supplies you can afford and practice.  From my experience not buying the better quality paint and paper will lead to disappointment!  A friend recently gave me a small mixing set of Daniel Smith Watercolor and there is a world of difference from the very cheap paint set that I have been using for years.  I use a wide variety of watercolor papers for practicing but for cards and wall art I use the 5x7 block of Fabriano Artistico Extra White cold Press paper that Lydia mentioned.  

Instead of viewing watercolor sessions as a time to make a masterpiece or a finished project, I let myself go and learn from the water, paint and paper.  Even if a session ends with the art in the trash bin the time spent is never wasted. 

There is a saying at SCS that a project for a challenge is "never wrong", we hope you take that to heart and grow with us in the art of watercolor!

If you have questions this is where you should ask. I hope we have answered some of the questions you may have, and again we can only give you our opinions from what we use or have used.

kiagc 08-13-2020 06:26 AM

Mixing paint/water and Supplies
How much pigment and water?

One other thing that we have been asked a lot is the ratio of pigment to water used. I wish we could tell you this, but it depends on so many things. The size of brush you are using, does it retain pigment/water well. How much paint you tend to pick up and the consistency of your mixes, and the paper plays in here as well.It is mostly trial and error. We would suggest that you get to know your paints and try out different amounts of pigment and water mixes with the brushes and paper you use. This will help you get the feel of the products you are using.
I found this video by Jenna Rainey to be particularly helpful for me.

Supplies you need and could use for these challenges.

Paper 100% cotton watercolor paper
Brushes sizes useful are: Round #4, #6, #8
Graphite paper (for tracing)
Palette (there are Ceramic and plastic palettes)
Container for your water 1 or 2
Soap to clean brushes - a mild shampoo or organic all natural soap bar (There are also artist soaps specially designed to clean paintbrushes).
Pigma Micron Ink Pen Black 01 or 02 (also good Tombow Mono Drawing Pen)

Could Use:

Paper Towels or Dedicated Rag
Kneaded Eraser
Board (depending on your set-up) to attached paper to
Tape (acid free)
Masking Fluid
Black Watercolor Paper such as Stonehenge Aqua Cold Press 140lb

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