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Thread: Taken the plunge into watercolor

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    Default Taken the plunge into watercolor

    There is something to be said about learning through osmosis.

    For the longest time, I loved the idea of pairing my fountain pen sketches with watercolor.
    I LOVE watercolor paintings, more than any other types of paints such as acrylic or oil, watercolor always have that ethereal quality that just resonates with me -- although I've seen some realistic watercolor paintings that is bordering scary.

    But I never feel confident to pull the trigger. I tried it sometime ago and the result is not satisfactory at all. I didn't know what I was doing and basically just created a rainbow of splotches. Not good.

    So in my spare times (which I don't have the luxury of having many) I looked at many videos, sometimes until I fell asleep. Looked at hundreds of watercolor paintings on Instagram, read every books about watercolor in my local library. Little by little, things seem to clicked into place in my mind.

    Today, after almost two years of absorbing a lot of materials and watercolor paintings, I finally feel that I can take a shot.

    For this sketch, I decided to use a Merlin Merlina, a dainty little writer with excellent fine nib. And the R&K document black ink to make sure the watercolor won't smear the lines. The paper is Canson for watercolor (got it last year at an estate sale, otherwise it's quite expensive for a non-artist like myself). The watercolor paint is just a generic student-grade ones. Sure, I'd love to paint with Daniel Smith tubes or Schmincke Horadam pans, but I'm quite a way off from there.



    Resisting the urge to apply hatching patterns, I took a deep breath and started to mix my watercolor.

    Later...



    Of course, it's still nothing compared to real watercolor paintings by real artists, but at least for me, this sketch proved the point that you do learn things by exposure and immersion. And it also gets me a bit closer to my dream to do real-time urban sketching with those cool kids (the urban sketchers).

    The biggest difference this time is that I began to apply some of the concepts like pulling, shifting, even dabbing some of the colors off the paper to convey different values. And this time I use only 4 watercolor paints to get a palette that doesn't hurt my eyes like disco strobes.

    And best of all, I still get to sketch with my favorite old FPs that I restored with my own hands from junkers to treasures.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Beautiful! I don't know nothing about water colors, to me it looks very neat.

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    I think it's extremely well done.

    Can you tell us anything about the building?
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Really nice, Will - not just the painting but the entire energy you've put behind this. I really urge you to have a private convo with JunkyardSam (on reddit, as well as other places) who does amazing illustrations with pen/ink and watercolor. Not for artistic talk but any hints he might have on the process, especially good inks for this (I think he uses R&K as well).
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    I really like the feel of your watercolour. It has a nice energy.

    Watercolour is my favourite medium. Iíve been working hard on my watercolour painting a lot over the summer and now almost exclusively use Pigma Micron pens or a FP with Platinum Carbon Black ink. It really doesnít budge and works well on CP, HP or NOT watercolour papers.

    I think youíd really enjoy a slight upgrade to your paints. The quality of paint probably makes the most difference to the finished work and student quality do make it much harder to achieve the effect youíre aiming for. Thereís no need to pay the silly prices for Daniel Smith or the like. I suggest Winsor & Newton Cotman, or even W & N Professional Series, paints. Dahler Rowney are reasonable too. Itís fun to paint with a limited 6-colour palette (eg warm & cold yellow, red & blue primaries), and then mix your own colours. I find that pre-mixed greens in particular are not very realistic,

    I recommend looking at the work of artists such as Jane Blundell & Liz Steel, and especially Geoff Kersey and Teoh Yi Chie

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    I totally agree with all Migo said.

    You are lucky, you live in a country where watercolour material is quite affordable (even Sennelier, mde in France, is cheaper in the US). I would say you can also look for White nights of St Petersburg, highly pigmented watercolours, artist quality, and not expensive. Have a look at some watercolour paper - there are good quality ones that don't cost much, and the pigments will express themselves better.

    Internet: to add to the artists Migo advised , who are great references, have a look at Mind of the watercolour.

    I very much like your drawing, but the watercolour lacks a little in values.
    It is the hardest medium. You didn't choose facility
    Last edited by fountainpagan; August 18th, 2019 at 07:12 AM.

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Woohoo!

    What is quite fun as well is sketching with a fountain pen, then adding water straight away to move the ink about and give you washes. Or putting fountain pen ink down on a wet surface. With watercolours you have the colour and you have the way you put the paint and water down/saturation/texture. It can sometimes be easier to see what you can do with the second set of those if you leave out the first and work in monotone for a bit, and do your colour mixing practice separately.

    (Disclaimer: not a watercolour expert! I used to paint more in acrylics. I think the hardest thing with watercolours is knowing when to stop so you keep the lightness and don't overwork it all).

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    I admire your painting, Will. I wish I could paint but I can't.
    Regards,
    Deb
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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Really nice work. I have done little watercolors on and often off for years. One day a professional illustrator whose work I admire suggested I draw my lines with very light pencil, THEN add the watercolor, this creating lines by where the different colors meet, and THEN add the (waterproof) ink lines. Every now and then I try that and alternately like the results and marvel how they could do it so well.

    Your watercolor captures that same feeling nicely with ink one the page first.
    Fortibus es in ero

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Wow that's fantastic! I'm extremely impressed by both your art and the efforts you put into learning. I really like this piece and the colors, textures, and composition.

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    I like your drawing, Penwash. I admire you even more for sharing your early attempts with us so we can see how you improve over time.

    I love Tina's drawings at Fueled by Clouds and Coffee. Her blog seems a good one for someone who is just starting out with watercolor.
    Lady Onogaro

    "Be yourself--everybody else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Lovely work.

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I think it's extremely well done.

    Can you tell us anything about the building?
    The building, I think is an old smoke-shed, it's attached to the outside of a hall at he center of a small town in East Texas. The vines and the rusted iron door was what caught my attention.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Really nice, Will - not just the painting but the entire energy you've put behind this. I really urge you to have a private convo with JunkyardSam (on reddit, as well as other places) who does amazing illustrations with pen/ink and watercolor. Not for artistic talk but any hints he might have on the process, especially good inks for this (I think he uses R&K as well).
    Yeah, JunkyardSam is one of the artists that I followed. I'd love to talk to artists, but at this point, I had to take a slower approach to just observe and learn. Maybe later when I have more time to dedicate to this, I'd be able to start learning properly.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Yeah, JunkyardSam is one of the artists that I followed. I'd love to talk to artists, but at this point, I had to take a slower approach to just observe and learn. Maybe later when I have more time to dedicate to this, I'd be able to start learning properly.
    Completely understand. Just be aware that he is a wonderful guy, very open and easy to talk to about anything. During my brief foray into visual arts a year or two ago, I asked him a bunch of stuff. Still keeping it in the brain for when I come back to all this.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by migo984 View Post
    I really like the feel of your watercolour. It has a nice energy.

    Watercolour is my favourite medium. Iíve been working hard on my watercolour painting a lot over the summer and now almost exclusively use Pigma Micron pens or a FP with Platinum Carbon Black ink. It really doesnít budge and works well on CP, HP or NOT watercolour papers.

    I think youíd really enjoy a slight upgrade to your paints. The quality of paint probably makes the most difference to the finished work and student quality do make it much harder to achieve the effect youíre aiming for. Thereís no need to pay the silly prices for Daniel Smith or the like. I suggest Winsor & Newton Cotman, or even W & N Professional Series, paints. Dahler Rowney are reasonable too. Itís fun to paint with a limited 6-colour palette (eg warm & cold yellow, red & blue primaries), and then mix your own colours. I find that pre-mixed greens in particular are not very realistic,

    I recommend looking at the work of artists such as Jane Blundell & Liz Steel, and especially Geoff Kersey and Teoh Yi Chie
    Thank you for the pointers! I appreciate it.
    I have a Pigma Micron, but even at 01 size, it still feels not as fine as my XF and F fountain pen nibs. Maybe it's the size of the my sketches that is too small.
    I will get a bottle of Platinum Carbon Black, I love the "blackness" of even the standard edition Platinum Black.

    Your suggestion of W&N Cotman is exactly what I've been researching on. Never heard of Dahler Rowney, so thanks for that. What do you think of QoR Watercolor sets?

    As far as artists go, I already followed Liz Steel, Stephanie Bower, and several others. But the one whose style I really like goes by the username @lingfeng9527 on Instagram.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpagan View Post
    I totally agree with all Migo said.

    You are lucky, you live in a country where watercolour material is quite affordable (even Sennelier, mde in France, is cheaper in the US). I would say you can also look for White nights of St Petersburg, highly pigmented watercolours, artist quality, and not expensive. Have a look at some watercolour paper - there are good quality ones that don't cost much, and the pigments will express themselves better.

    Internet: to add to the artists Migo advised , who are great references, have a look at Mind of the watercolour.

    I very much like your drawing, but the watercolour lacks a little in values.
    It is the hardest medium. You didn't choose facility
    Thank you for the critique first of all.
    Depicting values that allow the viewer's mind to complete the sketch satisfyingly has always been a goal for me to improve on.
    I am barely comfortable doing that with hatching patterns, let alone using one of the trickiest medium

    I'll take a look at your suggestions, the White Nights watercolor set seems reasonably priced especially.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by Voiren View Post
    Woohoo!

    What is quite fun as well is sketching with a fountain pen, then adding water straight away to move the ink about and give you washes. Or putting fountain pen ink down on a wet surface. With watercolours you have the colour and you have the way you put the paint and water down/saturation/texture. It can sometimes be easier to see what you can do with the second set of those if you leave out the first and work in monotone for a bit, and do your colour mixing practice separately.

    (Disclaimer: not a watercolour expert! I used to paint more in acrylics. I think the hardest thing with watercolours is knowing when to stop so you keep the lightness and don't overwork it all).
    You know I've tried to work fountain pen inks into my sketches, but so far the result has been non-satisfactory.
    I know some artists can do that very well. Nick Stewart for example.

    We'll see how far I can stick with watercolor
    Thank you for your suggestions.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    I admire your painting, Will. I wish I could paint but I can't.
    Thank you Deb, it's also another excuse for me to use vintage pens
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Taken the plunge into watercolor

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsilius View Post
    Really nice work. I have done little watercolors on and often off for years. One day a professional illustrator whose work I admire suggested I draw my lines with very light pencil, THEN add the watercolor, this creating lines by where the different colors meet, and THEN add the (waterproof) ink lines. Every now and then I try that and alternately like the results and marvel how they could do it so well.

    Your watercolor captures that same feeling nicely with ink one the page first.

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    Wow that's fantastic! I'm extremely impressed by both your art and the efforts you put into learning. I really like this piece and the colors, textures, and composition.
    Thank you both!
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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