The beauty of Watercolor

 

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One of the questions I often get asked is why I chose watercolor as my preferred medium. The obvious reason is that I like watercolor natural translucent quality, which is perfect for creating ethereal illustrations.

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Another characteristic of this medium is that with watercolor is not really possible to plan out how the painting will turn out and that’s the beauty of this technique. When color dries out it actually looks lighter than when it’s wet and the way colors beautifully blend together is always a pleasant surprise.

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I find painting with watercolor extremely liberating as with time it taught me to enjoy the process rather than worry about the final result.

 

How to choose Art Supplies

artsuppliesI receive many questions on Facebook and Instagram¬†about what kind of art supplies I use so I decided to dedicate and entire post to this subject. I know that purchasing art supplies can be intimidating at first, especially if you are just getting started. There are so many companies and products to choose from and some of them can be really expensive so I’m hoping you’ll find this review helpful. The products listed below are from brands that are well-known among artists from all over the world for the good quality of the products they offer. That said, please also keep in mind that, in the end, it all comes down to personal preference. The following list reflects my current favorite art supplies and therefore my personal taste. I costantly discover and try new¬†art supplies¬†so I’ll try to update this post whenever I¬†fall in love with a new product.

cartaWhen it comes to top quality watercolor paper you’ll hear most artists naming Arches. I personally believe there are other companies out there making good quality paper, my current favorite being¬†Hahnem√ľhle. I have tried other brands in the past, but I must say, I wasn’t very impressed with them.¬† I did a full¬†review of Hahnem√ľhle papers which you can find here. The series of Hahnem√ľhle watercolor paper I am currently using and loving¬†is C√©zanne 300gr, 100% cotton, hot pressed.

If you are just getting started with¬†watercolor painting and you are looking for a more affordable paper¬†I’d suggest you try¬†Strathmore 400 series/best paper which I reviewed here¬†and you can purchase here.

pennelliAs for the brushes, again you don’t need to spend a crazy amount of money on them. The ones I am currently using are from¬†Kolibri. I both use synthetic and natural hair brushes, (the second ones being more expensive). As for the size I use relatively small sized brushes because my illustrations are pretty small and detailed. If you are just getting started you definitely don’t need to buy lots of different brushes. I started out with three of different sizes which may be different for you depending on what you are planning on painting.

Here are some of the brushes I use the most:

– synth. golden sable 5/0

– golden star kolinsky size 4

– sqi line size 2

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For watercolors you may have to invest some money to get good ones. I use Windsor & Newton The Cotman Studio set – 24 whole pans ( which my sister got me for Christmas and I just now realised that it retails for over 90$ on their website…). If you are not willing to invest that¬†kind of¬†money, I would suggest you go for the 12 pans set which is a lot cheaper. Another good way to save some money¬†is purchasing from websites such as¬†Jackson’s Art Supplies¬†or MisterArt.com, they usually offer very good deals.

The reason why I love Windsor&Newton watercolors is because¬†you can achieve beautiful washes.¬†They are also very pigmented, so you don’t need to use a lot of it, which means they will last you longer. I’ve had this set for a while now and I paint almost everyday but, again, it depends on what type of illustrations you draw. However, next time I will purchase watercolor I am definitely not gonna purchase a big set like the one I am using now. The reason is that I mostly use¬†happy colors¬†for my illustrations¬†(like pink, purple, red, yellow and so on…) but¬†a third¬†of the hues in this set are¬†various shades of brown, umber and sienna which I¬†don’t use very often.

finelinerLast but not least, I always like to contour my illustrations with a Staedtler black pigment liner (size 0.1). I have been using and loving their products since I was in high school. I also reviewed their triplus fineliners here.

So these are pretty much all the art supplies that I am currently using, let me know in the comments if you have a favorite brand¬†or if there is a specific product you’d like me to try and review.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Melissa

Hahnem√ľhle Traditional Art Papers

cartaMilan Fashion Week has just finished and of course, as usual, I couldn’t resist to¬†the temptation¬†of illustrating some of my favorite runway¬†looks. As you guys know I’m always¬† keen on trying and experimenting with new art supplies, so this time I painted my illustrations on¬†¬†Hahnemuehle watercolor papers. ¬†If you are not familiar with this brand, it¬†is one of the leading European paper producers. This company has a very¬†long history¬†as they have been on the market since 1584.¬†The papers I am going to review in this post are all mould-made, natural white, acid free and extremely resistant to ageing.

Moschi

Moschino@

This Moschino inspired illustration was painted on Cézanne 300 gr, 100% cotton rag, hot pressed paper.

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 marchesasketch

Marchesa@@

This illustration inspired by Marchesa was realised on William Turner 300 gr, 100% cotton, matt paper.

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Temperley

TemperleyLondon@@

This Temperley London inspired illustration was painted on Hahnem√ľhle 300 gsm, matt paper.

Here¬†are a few¬†things I noticed¬†about these products…

The papers didn’t buckle when wet, thanks to their resistant surface and to the fact that¬†the¬†pads are¬†glued and gauzed for this specific purpose. They¬†have excellent¬†absorbency so you have to work pretty quickly because the paint dries out fast. I accidentally dropped some color on the papers but¬†I was able to scrubb it off without ruining the surface. These characteristics make them some of the best quality papers I have ever¬†worked with.

and here¬†is my personal opinion…

Of all three watercolor papers,¬†C√©zanne hot pressed¬†is the one that impressed me the most.This paper¬†has a very smooth surface which allows excellent colour flow and¬†¬†makes colors look more brilliant. I really liked the way watercolor performed on it and the even washes I was able to achieve thanks to¬†its smooth surface. Compared to Turner and ¬†Hahnem√ľhle matt,¬†I¬†found¬†this paper¬†easier to work with.¬†I think it’s perfect for the type of illustrations I create and¬†would definitely¬†purchase more.

If you are interested you can find more¬†info about Hahnem√ľhle¬†Traditional Art Papers¬†on their website.

I hope you enjoyed this review!

Melissa