Vow don't need a vast quantity of materials to paint in watercolor. A basic range of colors, a small selection of brushes, watercolor paper, a palette, and a piece of sponge or tissue are all you require to get going, plus pencils and drawing paper to plan your work, and map out the composition.

Artists Water Colour Large Pans


Watercolor paint* arc available in two main grade*—artist'* and student'? quality. It is Left to buy artist's quality, a? tkey contain a higher proportion of pure pigment to filler* and binder*, and will yield more vibrant color*. I lie paint* are available in both tube and pan form. I ube paint* are best for mixing large quantities of paint for a broad watli, or for adding touches* of strong color. Pans, which are designed to fit into a paint box, and are made in half and whole sizes, are more convenient for small-scale paintings and detailed work, as well a* for painting on location.


Watercolor brushes are made from sable or other animal hair, or from synthetic fiber*. Sable brushc* are undoubtedly the best, but they are expensive, so it might be wise to *tart with synthetic* until you have gained experience using them. Avoid cheaper animal-hair brushes, except when you need mops (usually made from *quirrel hair) to paint large area*.

I here are three main brush shapes: round, flat, and mop, with rounds being the

Basic Palette

It is better to mix the colors you want from a palette of around 10 to 12 tubes or pans than to use a large range of colors straight from the tube, as mixing produces a more unified result. You may want to add a few other colors to this list, such as permanent rose, quinacridone magenta, brown madder, cobalt green, or turquoise, especially if you are basing your fairy forms on flowers. The following palette of colors should enable you to mix all the colors you will need:





PhtUo Blue or


Wintor Blue




Yellow Deep

liitluib Green


or tt rnsor Green


Burnt Sienna





Strltchinc Paper

•••Ten wet paint is applied to paper, it expands and buckles, creating dips in the surface where the paint collects and dries unevenly. To pre.*ent this, you can stretch the paper before use by wetting it all and taping it to a board; it then won't expand again when washes are applied. Heavier papers do not need stretching.

To stretch paper, you will need a wooden board such as plywood o- MDF. 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the piece of paper; gummed rrown tape 2 inches (5 cm) wide; and a sponge.

Cut four strips of gummed tape, 4 inches (10 cm) longer r\an the sides of the paper, then wet the paper on both sides a rh a sponge—or immerse it in a bath or large bowl. Shake off excess water and lay the paper on the board. Wet the sponge and run the adhesive side of the tape across the top so that it is «et but not soaking, then place the strip along the edge of the :*per and smooth it out, ensuring that it adheres to both paper ire board. Repeat on the other three sides, then leave the paper to dry naturally.

most versatile a* tlu-y can be used both for broad washes an j fine detail. Brush sizes arc measured in numbers, beginning at 000 and going up to 20 or more.

Hie Ik-,1 sizes for general use are 4 to 1 2, a* these can hold a generous amount of paintv and come to a good point to create line« of varying thick nes*. For closely detailed wort and correction*, use fizci 000 (or 3/0) to 4.

Hat brushes, sometime*


one-st rotes,* ma lie distinctive chisel-shaped marl** and hold plenty of color. They can he used for glazing (see page 20) and, in larger sizes for laying washes. Mop* are u*cd for wetting paper before the application of paint, and for laying washes over large areas. A good general-purpose *ize is *4 inch (16 mm).

watercolor paper

Most watercolor paper* are made hy machine, and are available in three surface texture*: hot-pressed (or IIP), cold-pre**ed (also known as CP or Not), and rou Hot-pressed i* the smoothest surface, and is Ut suited to very detailed or linear wort. Not i* *lightly textured and is the hctl all -around, general-purpose paper for all watercolor and line-and-wash techniques. Rough worts well for loose hrushwort, wet-into-m-et technique*, and textural effects, hut it i* tricky to wort on, and i* not *uitahle for detailed wort, as the heavy texture hreats up fine line* and small details.

Papers come in a range of weights (in effect, thictnesses), measured in pounds per ream (lb) or gram* per square meter (g*m).

TKc moit common wei available arc around 90 It (200 ¿¡mi), 140 IK (300 g,m) and 200 Ik (410 £»m), while the

Heaviest paper if about 300 lb (600 gsm). A goo j choice oi paper for general work i? 140 lb.


Palette* made of ceramic or metal are ideal for mixing color*, and are easier to clean than plastic palettes. The latter, however, are convenient for working on location because they are relatively ightweight. Your palettes should have large well*

for mixing large washes, and small wells for mixing smaller amount* of color. Sponges, cotton balls, paper towel, cotton swabs, tissues, and blotting paper are all useful for mopping up excess paint in washes, as well a*

for creating interesting form* and textures in a wash (see "Creating Textured Effect*," page 22) and lifting off paint when you want to make alterations. I hey can also be used to apply paint.

Salt crystals and white household candles cnakl e you to create interesting tcxtural effect* in washes (see page 22).

Both masking fluid and a hairdryer for speeding up drying time are near-essentials. Masking fluid, a waterproof latex substance that dries to a rubbery consistency, allows you to reserve highlights without having to paint around them. Before laying on color, paint the fluid onto areas that are to remain white, and remove it after the subsequent applications of color have dried (see "Creating

Highlights," page 21). Another useful addition to your kit is a sharp-bladcd scalpel or craft knife for scratching out small, linear highlights in the final stages of a painting.

DRAWING MATERIALS ► Pencils and Erasers You will need pencils and erasers for sketching, trying out ideas, and making the preliminary drawing. The pencils can also be used for strengthening detail or shading in the final stages of a painting. HB, B, or 2B pencils are the best for drawing on watercolor paper, as they do not smudge too much and are easy to erase.

T SKETCHIKX)KS Sketchbooks are essential for gathering material for your paintings, I'hey are available in many sizes and types, some containing watercolor or pastel paper and others standard drawing paper, so you might consider keeping two or three for different types of sketches.


SkttcMwJ* are rJeal for cJUctmg Jrauinys of subjects for use as the basis for fairy figures an J bachjrounJs; examples incluJe studies of human figures, animals anJ insects, floicers, airJ landscape features.

Fairy Line Watering Can Drawing


▼ Pes and Ink A dip pen, in the form =5*-«ol<Lr witli a rang« oi drawing for drawing and line-and t*v~r niques (see "Lino and Wash," page V-*» need waterproof (India or acrylic) combining line work with washes, not run when watcrcolor is applied Fiber-tipped drawing pens can also u make sure they are waterproof «■t -ajte resistant (fomc ink* fade hadly

WaTKRCOI.OR PHNCILS Water-soluble colored pencils can Ik* used dry to add linear elements and details to watcrcolor painting they can he worked over with a water-loaded or brush to create a watercolor wash effect.

► OPAQUI: MHDIA Gouache is an opaque medium similar to watercolor, and the two are sometimes used together. White ¿ou&c k. is especially useful for restoring highlights and for creating small, lightly tinted areas. Acrylic paints can also he used in combination with watcrcolor* for highlighting or for touches of intense color. The drying time of acrylic can be slowed by using a medium called gel retarder. Another useful acrylic medium is acrylic gesso. This is designed for priming hoard? and paper.

▼ PaSTELS Soft pastels (below), pastel pencils (right), and oil pastels (bottom) are ideal for sketches on location and planning color compositions. All three can also be combined with watercolor (see "Wax Resist/ page 22 and "Using Mixed Media," page 23).

< Semi-Dry, Undiluted Paint when applied to wet paper (left, third from top) the paint spreads only slightly. I his method is useful for adding spots of intense color with softened edges. But when applied to dry paper (bottom left) the paint does not spread at all. I his method is good for textural effects and fine detail.

Drawings Fairies Online

Getting started

You may also discover new techniques through your mistakes, as accidental effects such as blotches and hackruns can often be used to your advantage to suggest texture or to create interest in a background.


Watercolor can be used in a range of dilutions, from almost dry to very dilute, and can be applied to wet, damp, or dry paper. Each wa»h-and-paper combination produces a different effect, as shown in this series of illustrations (left column).

< Diluted Color when applied to wet paper (top left) the paint spreads out, effectively diluting the color, and dries with a soft edge. I he extent of the spreading depends both on the paper surface and on the degree of wetness; the rougher the paper, the less it spreads, and the wetter the paper, the faster and farther it will spread. But when applied to dry paper (left, second from top) the paint stays where it is placed, giving more depth of color than when applied to wet paper, and dries with a hard edge.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
How To Become A Professional Pencil Drawing Artist

How To Become A Professional Pencil Drawing Artist

Realize Your Dream of Becoming a Professional Pencil Drawing Artist. Learn The Art of Pencil Drawing From The Experts. A Complete Guide On The Qualities of A Pencil Drawing Artist.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment