Testing the Waters

As discussed previously, this trimester the project brief is to make 10 different artworks to go with a social campaign. I briefly touched over how this trimester I want to explore different design/art styles over this project. With Men’s Mental Health being a serious subject and something not to be poked fun at, I feel my previous illustrative, bright and vibrant cartoon style will be too much for the message. With me wanting to explore more photography and photo manipulation as the trimester progresses, as a class we started with a different medium. The first three weeks we explored analogue techniques. This blog will be reporting on my exploration of; Watercolors & Inks.

Get Started

To start we have to understand the basic tools to get started. As I’m new to this technique, here’s some basic tools to get started:


1, Brush:

For beginners like us, we can’t really tell the difference between synthetic and natural brushes. For me I have been using the Westart Scholastic Brush Set (fig.1). With the suggested brush size being #8 and a #4 for more detail.


2, Paint:

For me I’ve been really enjoying playing around with the Ecoline Watercolor Inks as this can be interesting to draw with. For most starting out though the Koh-I-Noor (fig.2) is good to practice with, having 16 different colors to experiment blending with.

TIP: Getting a color pallet sheet to go with this can really help you with understanding how to mix and what colors will look like also.

3, Paper:

With watercolors the heavier the paper, generally this is better because it prevents warping in the paper the damper it gets while painting. I have been using a more textured paper as I found the smoother the paper the more uncontrollable and unpredictable paint can be on it.

4, Water & Rags:

Finally, the water to go with this, typically you would want one for the dirty water, and one with clean water as to not contaminate the paints or inks. To keep in mind its handy to keep a dry rag with you to help clean the brush off too.

5, Additional:

In addition with this, you can also you use light pencil like a 2H to sketch out your ideas before painting. An eyedropper to use with inks, and I also used a water spray bottle to explore more ideas.

As this is a brief introduction to watercolor supplies and tips, you can head over to The Postmans Knock website where Lindsey Bugbee gives a more professional in-depth introduction to the world of Watercolors:


A Few Things I Now Know

Opacity & Blending:

The two brush strokes on the left here shows the amount of water used on each can justify the opacity. The brush stroke seen on the left here shows what lots of water on page and not much paint looks like. The second stroke here shows the opposite of that and what more paint looks like. The third brush stroke here is the blending of 2 colors. The next image of the bird shows the different tones you can get by utilizing the amount of water used on color. In the green you can see how strong the color is at the bottom as it works its way to the water to have a lighter opacity. This can make for some interesting contrast and shadows to help the image look more dynamic.

Water-Based Ink Pens:

Above here is a technique I would love to get better as it is closer to my natural style. A water-based ink was used in pen form here to create this image. By doing the outline in this color and then going over areas with a wet brush to draw the color inside can have some real cool effects.

Ecoline Inks:

Above is “Tears of a Clown” drawing I was working on for my mental health campaign. This was achieved with experimenting with Ecoline Inks, as I mentioned earlier this was fun to draw with the brush itself and learn some hand control by creating different width lines. Similar to the water-based ink pens, once the lines were in it was easy to drag the colors in for shading.

Eyedropper Technique:

When playing around with the Ecoline Inks, I found this really amazing technique by simply using a wet brush and eye dropper. In the examples shown here, I got a really wet brush and drew the image I wanted. Once the wet image was there, I just eye dropped the colors I wanted in to create this completely random pattern. I loved how the unpredictability of the colors moving through the water turned out so unique and natural, giving me ideas, I hadn’t thought previous to trying this. For example, you can see in the images shown here how instead of drawing an image, I grabbed a spray bottle and wet the page, dropping the colors. Some ways I want to incorporate this into my campaign is by creating some interesting background for my photographs.

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