To start painting with watercolors, first, we must learn how to get ready the basic materials that we’ll need, and then, I will show you how to tighten the paper.
Watercolors are made from Gum arabic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gum_arabic) and pigments in powder. We use water as diluent.
You can find watercolors as tablets and tubes, the first cheaper.
The tablets are very good to do small color mixtures and to create sketches, but they tend to dry fast and we should keep covering them with a damp cloth before closing the box.
The tubes of watercolor are more rich in color and it doesn’t spoil the brushes as the tablets do, because we don’t need to rub.
Quality, however, depends on the quality of the pigments which have been used to make the paint, whether he is in a tube or a tablet.
Although they sell a lot of very cheap brushes, the best brushes are the Kolinsky sable-hair brush, mixed sable, squirrel or ox. The synthetic nylon brushes are cheap but weak. And at least, we must check that the brush will not drop hair that we would remain on paper while painting.
We’ll need the 4 basics: one large, one small, one flat and one round. Or, for example; a round sable brush No. 6, a round sable brush No. 3, a chinese bamboo brush No. 5, a round sable brush No. 12, and sable flat brushes of 6mm and 15mm.
Color mixing paddles
We need a metal or laminated palette with compartments to do individual mixes. We can also use dishes to do make mixtures, white color better.
Other tools for working with watercolor
– Two glass containers for water, one for cleaning brushes and the other to take water to dilute watercolors. And we’ll change the water often.
– A vegetable or marine sponge is useful for drying paper or if we need to extract the paint.
– A cotton cloth to absorb the excess of water and to clean brushes.
– Drawing pencils should be soft, 2B. And a moldable soft rubber, which we can shape.
It should be used very little and very gently.
– Masking fluid to create reserves of white and to create shaped edges.
Related post: How to paint with Masking fluid.
Characteristics of papers:
– Weight of the leaf
– Surface, thin or porous. There are 3 types; Rugged, not pressed (medium grain) and hot pressing (very smooth). The most used is not pressing.
The paper must be able to absorb the water, so, not too thin, and not shiny.
Stretching watercolour paper
The watercolor paper that has less than 300 g must first be tightened previously, so it will not be deformed by the water paint.
- Prepare a sheet of paper, a roll of Gummed Paper Tape about 5 cm of wide, scissors, a drawing table or a flat board and two thick and clean cotton cloth.
- We cut the duct tape with the paper dimensions plus five cm extra, to surround all the paper.
- We put the paper into the water, in a bathtub or big boat, but always without bending or crumpling the paper. So the paper will be completely wet.
- We bring out the paper from the water and we hold it to dry off. We can put the paper between two cloths, extended and placed in a flat position, and we smooth with the hand to remove moisture.
- We put the sheet of paper over the drawing board or the flat board and we ensure that it is completely flat. Then, we set it to the table or board with the Gummed Paper Tape prepared before, so we hold the edges of the paper and forces him to follow extended. And it will stay fixed while the air will dry off in a naturally way.
Watercolors on this entry are made by Rowland Hilder, and here you can see more of his splendid watercolors.
Rowland Hilder paintings.
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