My most frequently used watercolour brands:
Daniel Smith, Schmincke, Sennelier, with a bit of Lukas, Maimeri Blu, QR, Winsor/Newton and Van Gogh thrown in.
The gold paints that I love working with most are by Finetec.
As you can see from the long list above, I have a lot of brands that I work with. (And far too many tubes, if truth be told.) When I choose watercolour paint, these are my criteria:
- They need to be light-fast and artists’ quality. If I can’t find information on light-fastness, I won’t buy them.
- I prefer transparent colours to more opaque ones. Especially in colours I often use in background washes (Ultramarine, Ochre, Violets) I look for maximum transparency.
- I love the granulating colours from Daniel Smith and Schmincke, but tend to use them sparingly and in reduced areas of a piece.
I like paper with some grain, either cold-pressed or torchon. I dislike working on smooth or satinised paper. I’ve gone through a wild array of brands; manufacturers I keep returning to are Canson, Clairefontaine, and Bockingford.
I have found that paper is a highly subjective thing. Watercolour artists can easily agree that paint is good or bad; with paper, it hugely affects your way of working so that everyone has very different preferences. I learned to paint – for years – on a cold-pressed students’ paper from Canson; I find myself returning to papers with similar features again and again. Nothing beats that grainy, satisfying gleam on a wet watercolour sheet.
My watercolour stretchers:
I use stretchers from Brown Tree Art to fixate my paper. I have three different stretchers in different sizes (A4 to A3). They hold your paper in place, and no matter how wet you work, the paper always turns out smooth again after drying. Read more about them here!
I do a sketch either digitally or on paper, and then print it out on smooth drawing paper to do the lineart. I print it in pale blue and draw the lineart over it in pencil, so I can scan the piece and filter out the blue in Photoshop. I then print out the clean lineart on watercolour paper. I’ve detailed the process in this video.
I have an old, old CanoScan LiDE 90 (from 2006 or 2007) that I have tried to replace twice, but it still scans better than anything I’ve ever tried, even far pricier scanners. So until it breaks down, I’ll use it.
My printer is a large Epson SureColor P400, which is waterproof (important for my way of working), takes paper of 300 g/sm, and prints up to A3+ size. I make all my prints with it, too.
Loki the studio cat. (One of them. The other, Isis, is usually found under the table.)
My workspace is pretty small – my desk doubles, or rather triples, as computer workplace, marking spot for school exams, and as my studio.