Pen and Wash - Choose Your Watercolors

By: Harmon R Thompson

Pen and Wash - Choose Your Watercolors

Pen and wash consist of two media, pen and ink, and watercolor. Choosing the right watercolor is a good start for your next composition. Before you run out to the store and buy "whatever", let's consider a few features of watercolor that will get you started on the right path.

Watercolor paint comes in two qualities, artists' grade and students' grade. The one you use depends on whether you are experimenting and just having fun or working on a serious painting.

Artists' Grade is the best quality watercolors because they have more pigment and less filler, making the colors more vivid. They cost more because they have more pigment so you are getting your money's worth and it will show in your work. Quality shows.

Students' Grade watercolors are great for beginners to discover watercolor (and pen and wash). They cost less than artists' grade as they have less pigment and so the intensity of the color may not be as strong. Some professionals use students' grade for studies and save their better paints for their better works.

Watercolor paint comes in three forms; tubes, pans and pencils. Each one has their pros and cons, and advantages and disadvantages. These are determined by your taste and needs.

Tubes are semi-liquid, like toothpaste. Tubes are preferred when you need to make a large amount of wash. Be careful, though; tubes do dry out, harden and become useless if you don't use them often. Replace the cap when not in use to prevent clogging at the mouth of the tube. It's a mess cleaning this up as well as you lose some good paint. Remember, paint is money.

Pans come in a dry cake form and require water to dilute before you can paint. Pans come in two sizes, whole or half size, about the size of a quarter and dime, respectfully. For their size, pans are convenient for small areas and small works, and are easy to carry with you when you work outdoors or in tight places.

Watercolor pencils are a new way of coloring and washing. Watercolor pencils are nothing more than water-soluble colored pencils. They are easy to carry around, like regular pencils. You can create your painting on the spot outdoors if you have water available, or you can color your pen and wash composition with the watercolor pencils like regular colored pencils, then take it home and apply a wet brush over the whole or part of your composition.

Watercolor pencils provide certain techniques that pans and tubes do not offer. One way is to apply a dry-on-wet technique. Apply strong Watercolor pencil marks, for example creating grass, on a wet area of the paper thus leaving the area with a wash and hatching marks.

Many artists have switched to pencils for this reason while others incorporate pencils with their tubes or pans.

Not all watercolors are created equal-and that's good, so experiment and have fun. Your paintings will come out more impressive when you have a little knowledge under your palette. Enjoy.

About the Author:
And now I like to invite you to my website: [http://penandwashpassion.com/ -- this site may no longer be online] for more revealing articles on pen and wash, and neat essential art products you'll want to have a fun and rewarding experience. Hi, this is Harmon Thompson and I love pen and wash! Also, check out my blog: http://watercolorpaint.wordpress.com/ where we can share our passion for pen and wash painting.


Pen, Ink speed demo by Joe Cartwright



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