Learning to Watercolor - Preferred Tools of a Watercolorist

By: Vanissa James

learning-to-watercolor-preferred-ToolsSketchbook, Drawing Paper and Drawing Pencils

To plan a painting composition, an artist usually begins by sketching the subject on drawing paper or a sketchbook using drawing pencils. When satisfied with the composition, the artist can then transfer it onto a sheet of watercolor paper before beginning the painting. The outline drawing is then used as a guide for the composition.

Something as simple as newsprint paper and a standard lead pencil is sufficient for this purpose.

Watercolor Paper

Watercolor paper comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and paper qualities. Paper most preferred by watercolorists includes: Watercolor pads of cold-pressed 90-lb or 140-lb 100% cotton, acid-free; Full or half sheets of cold-pressed 140-lb or 300-lb 100% cotton, acid-free; Optional: Watercolor paper blocks the same quality as watercolor sheets in a variety of standard sizes from 3.9 x 9.8 inches to 18 x 24 inches.

Tools Used For Stretching Watercolor Paper

There is a variety of methods for stretching watercolor paper. But, the basic tools include a heavy board to paste, or tape and staple, a wet sheet of watercolor paper on to and allowing it to dry flat. The preferred tools include: Drawing board or heavy "gator" boards; Glue paste or glue tape, stapler and staples or thumb tacks; Paste brushes; Blotters for absorbing excess water from the paper.

Watercolor Paints

Artists quality watercolor paint, packaged in 5 ml or 14 ml tubes, is most commonly used by watercolorists.

A basic color palette contains one cool and one warm hue for each of the primary, secondary and tertiary colors in the color wheel.

Each artist over time develops a preference of color hues to use as their basic color palette.

Palette Tray, Plate or Cups, and Water Containers

These items are used to hold and mix watercolor paints and water to dilute the paints and for cleaning watercolor brushes.

Watercolor Brushes

The standard watercolor brush is made of natural animal hair. Pure red sable is the most popular choice because it handles paint well and retains its shape for many years. Watercolor brushes are also made of camel hair, pony hair, ox hair and synthetic hair.

Brush shapes used by watercolorist include:

Masking Fluid

Masking fluid is a white or pastel tinted liquid that is used to coat and protect areas of white on the watercolor paper for creating highlights. After the masking application dries and the painting is finished and completely dry, the masking fluid is rubbed off to expose the highlights.

Watercolor Easel, Table Easel or Drawing Table

A watercolor easel or drawing table allows for working on a flat surface while painting wet-in-wet. It also has the ability to adjust the painting angle from horizontal to a slanting tilt for laying washes and painting in an upright position.

The alternative work surface can be a kitchen table, desk or any table-height flat surface and a table easel with adjustable tilting angles.

About the Author:
Vanissa James is a visual artist working in watercolor painting and mixed-media. Vanissa's website, the Art Easel Guide provides easel price comparisons and easel reviews to help artists find the best art easels at the lowest prices online. For more info visit [http://www.arteaselguide.com/ -- this site may no longer be online]


Tools and Materials for Watercolor Sketching by Ross Barbera



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