Starting today I am offering a FREE watercolor workshop. It will run 6 weeks and feature a new technique each week.
Welcome! I am glad you have decided to join me. I really enjoy watercolors. My love started in 1995 when my Grandma bought me a Windsor & Newton travel set. I had never before seen watercolors look like they did--saturated and mixable. I took classes in watercolor at a local art center on my summers home from college. Now watercolors are my go-to when I am doing a quick rendering, they travel well, and they can be quite versatile. I hope that after you've completed the workshop you will find yourself reaching for your watercolors more often.
Now onto supplies!
We'll do what I consider the very basic--what I pack when I'm travelling.
You'll need two round ones--a big and a small.I use a #4 and a #8. They are sized by number, the higher the number, the bigger the brush. If your watercolor set came with one that has actual hair-like bristles you can use that for your small. If it has those black plastic bristles, throw it out.
You'll also need two flat ones--a medium and a large. I use a 1/2" and a 3/4". The flat ones are sized by their measurements.
Please don't be intimidated by the your choices in the brush aisle at your art store. You don't need top-of-the-line, but don't buy the super cheap brushes, either. (They shed their bristles like mad, and you'll spend a great deal of time picking stray bristles out of your work) Buy "student quality" brushes--they are economically priced and made of synthetic materials. I personally like the Windsor & Newton brushes.
Pencil & Eraser
For quick sketching before painting.
With indelible ink.
You can buy a Pitt pen, and Micron, or a fine Sharpie pen.
In white, for the resist technique.(We'll get to that)
Spend the money and get paint (semi-moist watercolors) by Prang. A set of eight costs around $7 and a set of 16 costs around $13. Crayola is nice, but you won't get the full-saturation. If you already own watercolor paint in tubes, great! Go ahead and use those. Every basic set should contain: Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Black and White. If you're going to be mixing your own purples make sure your red is Alizarin Crimson.
We're going to take a minute to talk about paper. Because I can hear you now: Paper is paper, right?
No. Not really.
Do you remember in grade school when you would paint with watercolors and your paper would tear and get these little paper-lint balls all over?
Yeah. That was the worst. It put me off of watercolors for a long time.
That's because the paper you were using wasn't the right weight.
Paper is categorized by weight in many instances. Take a look on the front label of your paper--usually the weight is listed near the number of pages. The higher the weight, the more liquid a paper can absorb before it begins to curl or disintegrate. For watercolors, I recommend 120lbs or higher, but you can squeak by with 100lbs if you're careful.
Watercolor paper is ALSO divided into three surface categories: rough, cold press, and hot press. Hot press is the smoothest of the three. I suggest you get a watercolor paper sampler and see which finish you like the best.
If you want to know more about paper, visit here.
As we do other projects, we may need other supplies--but it will be things that you have around the house (or can scrounge from your neighborhood diner).
See you next week for our first project!