15 Jul 2012

Experiments in watercolor part 1

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been in and out the last two weeks on holiday with hubby and the kids. We've had lots of fun but I'd have to say that my favorite day of the holidays was a trip we took to Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. Hubby and Master 13 wanted to check out model shops, they're working on a project together and needed supplies. Miss 7 just loves exploring and I really wanted to check out an art supply store I found online called "The Red Studio". It turned out to be a great store with a very helpful salesman that introduced me to my new favorite art journal. A Daler Rowney Ebony A6 hardcover sketchbook. 150gsm off white paper, delicious and not badly priced either. 

Today was the first day of the new school term so I took advantage of the peace and quiet to try out the new sketchbook. The picture above is the result. It's in watercolor and ink.

I'm still fairly new to watercolor, I usually paint in acrylic, so I thought I'd use this new sketchbook for my watercolor experiments. My old journal only has 100gsm paper and buckles quite badly when it gets wet. I'm happyish with the end results. The paper stayed flat and was lovely to paint on. But it's going to take me a while to get used to working with watercolor paints though. They flow very freely in places I don't want them to at the moment lol. Still, I'm okay with the look of this painting but I think the pen work is too thick though for the size of the image. So I'm going to have to invest in some different sized pens, a .1 or .2 would have been better than the .4 that I used. I'd even have preferred a dark brown pen to the black but I have no idea if I can get different colors. That's something else I need to explore. Overall though I'm quite happy, I broke the first page jitters without too much hassle even though halfway through I wished I was painting a penguin or something easier instead. All up I think I spent about 45 minutes to 1 hour total on it. So it was a pretty quick job.
I'm really looking forward to filling this little book with more watercolor experiments and if they work out okay I think I'll invest in some better quality paints too to see what difference that will make. 

So what did I learn?
  1. Practice, practice, practice. I need to build up my experience using watercolor paints. There are lots of tutorials on youtube to help with learning the different techniques so I have no excuse not to try.
  2. The type and quality of the paper makes a huge difference! I need to use the right materials to do the job well.
  3. Small images require finer tipped pens to really make a positive difference.
  4. Shopping in new art supply stores is lots of fun! :)

Have a great week everyone!  :)


  1. This is looking gorgeous!!really great to see!! Thanks for posting them!I look forward to seeing your new paintings!!I look forward to seeing your new paintings!!Visit here at Watercolor Techniques for Beginners

  2. It looks really good, can't see any excessiwe water usage, so it's ok for me.
    Good move was to not use the ink on every feather.

    This one you already know, was drawn using 0.4 cheap marker. http://www.phototric.com/2012/06/from-marker-to-watercolor-wilanow-park.html
    It looks a bit cartoonish so we bought 0.1 to 0.4 Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment. Can't wait to use them.
    For other than black lines I am using the watercolor pencils.

    And agree with your four points. Number 4 is a lot of fun indeed.

    Hope you like the watercolor??