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14Atercolour

USED INITIALLY IN THE WEST tO "colour" pen and ink drawings and heighten their descriptive qualities, watercolour has been a part of drawing media for hundreds of years. It mixes perfectly with traditional drawing tools such as pencil and ink, furnishing a linear drawing with an expressive rhythm and a pronounced spontaneity. Make sure you use permanent ink with watercolour washes or the water will dissolve the lines of ink. Watercolour is also useful because it can be blended into a smooth gradation of tones that increase the three-dimensional quality of forms in the most subtle way. Using a sable brush can also enable you to make the most sensuous of watercolour drawings, with its ability to change instantly from a broad, bold brushmark to a fine, tapering line.

Transparent watercolour

You can blend colours together or overlay separate washes.

Size 9 sable brush

Watercolour box

Watercolour sketchbook

Opaque watercolour

Build up dark washes of colour to create strong shadows.

Transparent watercolour

You can blend colours together or overlay separate washes.

Size 9 sable brush

Watercolour box

Watercolour boxes

Watercolour paint is available in a viscous form in a tube or in a solid block called a pan. Pans are most convenient for drawing as they can easily be used and stored in a metal box. Pans are sold individually so that you can replace particular colours as they run out.

Transparency and opacity

Watercolour is unique for its transparent light effects. The characteristic luminosity of the medium is caused by natural light penetrating a mix of pigment and water and reflecting back off the surface of the paper [left). The more colours you mix together, the less light can penetrate and reflect, creating a much darker colour. You can also create stronger, heavier effects by mixing white with a colour, or by using a watercolour paint known as gouache or body colour. The opacity of gouache paint helps to give solidity to an image (below) or to create intense highlights if you are drawing on toned paper.

Sable brushes

Soft sable brushes give the best effects with watercolour, retaining their shape far longer than synthetic brushes. A small and a medium-sized or a large brush are all you need for most drawings.

Opaque watercolour

Build up dark washes of colour to create strong shadows.

Watercolour sketchbook watercolour

Plastic tube

Canvas roll

Collapsible wooden stool

Transporting paper

One of the safest ways to carry paper is to use a folder or a plastic tube. You should also include a can or bottle of fixative in your kit to prevent finished drawings from smudging while they are stored together.

Drawing board

Working outdoors

Drawing with watercolour is almost synonymous with working outdoors or from life as its fluency and ease of handling enables you to instantly capture even the most fleeting of light effects over a scene. If you do decide to work outside, you can organize a simple travel kit of basic materials that takes up little room and is easy to handle. Use a protective roll to store equipment such as pencils, a dip pen, and sable brushes safely. Take a hard surface such as a wooden drawing board and clips to secure the paper down and to support your hand as you draw.

Plastic tube

Canvas roll

Collapsible wooden stool

Canvas roll

A protective roll is the easiest way of transporting your drawing materials.

The rolls are usually made from canvas with elastic strips sewn in to hold individual items securely. You may also want to take a small wooden stool if you are going to be working outdoors for any length of time.

Drawing board

Although it may be the bulkiest piece of equipment, a drawing board is one of the most important items to include in your kit and is a cheaper and more convenient alternative than a wooden or metal easel. Another option is to use a block of watercolour paper which is sold with each sheet of paper lightly glued to the next to give a solid, flat surface on which to draw.

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