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  1. #1
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    Question new to watercolor, what should i look into?

    hi everyone! i'm a new member, and these are probably old questions. anyway i'm pretty much a noob in painting, in fact i think the last time i painted was back in grade school. after looking around, i've come to the conclusion that i really like how watercolors look. it has a nice quality that really appeals to me. so um my questions, is there any things i should look into for starting out with watercolor? is there any like tutorial videos floating around i should check out, how about any books i should get on it? anway i hope to get maybe some direction with it, so thanks in advanced.

    btw any sketchbooks here that kind of gravitate towards watercolors?
    "There is neither good nor bad, only you make it so." -William Shakespeare


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  3. #2
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    Actually, I was wandering the same thing, as I heard it's very good medium for quick color sketches/studies.

    *BUMP*

  4. #3
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    Well, there are sketchbooks specifically designed for watercolors. Each page is somewhat thicker and has texture to hold the water. It'll just be called a watercolor sketchbook.

    The way I started out with watercolors was that I just went in an art store not too long ago and picked up a cheap $5 case of watercolors (12 colors but they are really vibrant) and some watercolor brushes (get a variety, small, big, wide, fan, etc..) and then I just experimented. How they interacted with ink, how it was to dry brush, mix colors before and after. So if you can experiment now, just do it.

    As for tutorials and books, you can just search Google for watercolor tutorials. Books on the other hand I can't help you with. I haven't looked into anything like that, I just try it all by myself.

  5. #4
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    work slowly with it, and make sure you have the right color on your brush before puttin down.

  6. #5
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    hehe i didn't mean literal sketchbooks, i have a watercolor sb that i'm scared to ruin. i meant about user sbs that use watercolor studies.
    "There is neither good nor bad, only you make it so." -William Shakespeare

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerhomie
    The way I started out with watercolors was that I just went in an art store not too long ago and picked up a cheap $5 case of watercolors (12 colors but they are really vibrant) and some watercolor brushes (get a variety, small, big, wide, fan, etc..) and then I just experimented. How they interacted with ink, how it was to dry brush, mix colors before and after. So if you can experiment now, just do it.
    That's the best way to start!

    Take anything I suggest with a grain of salt: I only studied watercolors long enough to determine that they didn’t agree with me.

    Anyway, don’t be afraid to ruin what you start, because ruining some of what you make is inevitable. Just ruin it and move on to the next one.

    You will notice that the paper wrinkles when it gets too wet. There are a couple of solutions I know of: one is to use thicker paper, and the other is to stretch your paper.

    To stretch paper – you need a board or other surface that is bigger than the paper. Soak your paper in water just long enough to get it wet all the way through. Slap that puppy to the board. Tape along the edges with paper tape – the kind you have to wet to activate the glue – it’s sold along with mailing supplies. Then let the paper dry. If all goes well, it should pull tight like a stretched canvas. Do your painting while it is still taped down, so that the paper will repeatedly return to a stretched state when dry; then cut off the taped edges when you are through.

    A hair-dryer can speed things up. Patience is also necessary. Let one layer or section of color dry completely before using another or painting in an adjacent area to prevent a smeary mess.

    Don’t be afraid to use really pigment-filled washes.

    A good pencil outline can become a part of the finished product. No need to erase it out.

    </end transmission>
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.

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  9. #7
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    personally I swear by super heavy watercolour board, its the best thing ever, and you can really soak it. It looks like illustration board just its got watercolour paper surface and its double ply. Also when using water colour, one technique is to sketch something out, and then work in layers starting with white highlights and steadily working yourself darker, make sure the layers are completely dry inbetween the next layer of paint, that way you dont get any nasty blooms. Try that for a start youl wuickly find out what you like adn what you dont.
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  10. #8
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    hi hi! there are two really important things you need to understand about watercolors =3

    one - use a good paper. if the paper is curling on you its probably too cheap

    two - colors will only go where it is wet or where the wet brush places it.

    thats it! thats the secret to watercolors and what makes it so tricky. For example, lets say you want to paint the eyes of the character, and they have black eyes. You have black ready on your brush and you place it where the eyes go...but wait..the face was damp! what do you think will happen? That black is gonna bleed all over the face and be ugly right? Its very simple logic but a lot of people miss this - colors go where it is wet. they do not go where it is dry.

    If you dont want the colors to go someplace, that someplace must be dry. If you want the colors to go somewhere, that somewhere must be wet or the brush needs water to make it flow =D

    remember this also when you are mixing colors. lets say you are painting a flower petal that goes from a red to an orange. You can use brushstrokes to blend the red and the orange on your petal like you would with traditional painting. But you can also wet the petal beforehand. Once the petal is moisten you can place the red on one end and the orange on the other end and watch them blend before your eyes! This is good to remember if you dont want visible brushstrokes and enjoy the look of bleed effects which watercolors are known for.

    have fun!

    ps. I just wanted to stress seedlings advice on using a lot of pigments. watercolors LOOK darker when they are wet. once its dry the end result is actually a lot more transparent

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  12. #9
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    Hey guys I am starting out with watercolors too,
    They are good , I like them . but can anyone recommend me some books. any kind of help would do.

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnt
    is there any things i should look into for starting out with watercolor?
    Buy the best brushes you can possibly afford.

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
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  14. #11
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    I have to agree, the best way to start something is by practicing. I'm also practicing on watercolour too. The first painting I did, I laid on the painting a bit too think. Then the second one I got better, but I ran out of white. =/ The best kind of watercolour I've seen (or what looks like watercolor) is from the show FLCL. I love the background colour of that show. As for books I have a book called Sketching School by Judy Martin, however this book was printed in 1993, so we've had it a long time and it talks about sketching techniques, and has a section about watercolour. If you want a watercolour book you could go to a art store like A.C Moore, but I think practicing is the best way. My dad used to paint too and he started out the same way too, along with a few classes too.

    I do have one question though. What happens when you need to paint something white (not shading or adding light)? Like a wall, a door, or a vase. Whenever I paint I usually change the white into a different colour. Like if the wall is white I like to add a lil' yellow. Also how would ya paint a sun? I know it's kinda of a dumb question but the though of painting a round yellow blob is weird. Do you just avoid it?

  15. #12
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    If you can only invest in one good brush, get a large Isabey round watercolor brush. It's extremely versatile. You can get the finest point or the largest flats, wets, drybrush, etc. It looks and performs like an old master chinese calligrapher's brush, only the hairs down fall out with every single stroke.

    Books out there are a dime a dozen. It's a bit saturated, so to speak. But there are a couple worth buying. The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook does a good job of covering a variety of approaches and techniques, and the samples seem to display some of the depth you can achieve in watercolors unlike a lot of other instructional books that seem to think in some Puritan sense that watercolors should never go darker than a value 1 (sarcasm). And if you really want to see some innovation with watercolors, try to find an old copy of Burt Silverman's Breaking the Rules of Watercolor. Not sure if it's still available on shelves.... it's an oldie. Monthly watercolor magazines usually have some great stuff, but they add up quick.

    Amish Commy is my favorite watercolorist on the boards here. If you can find a post of his (it shouldn't be difficult), his sketchbook is linked in his signature. Or use the search option...

  16. #13
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    I'm kinda new to watercolors myself. I used to hate watercolors because I couldn't get them to do what I want. The paper would wrinkle, and the colors would bleed. I didn't play around with them again until years later. It took me a while to get my courage back up to try them again. I checked out several books on basic techniques, and studied them, and was able to see where I went wrong...so now I am doing watercolors and getting better.

    I think watercolors are wonderful if you do a lot of ink drawings, and you can use watercolors to paint over the drawings. It takes a lot of patience to do watercolors, but the results are rewarding.

    Things to remember--get good paper...the kind that won't wrinkle or come apart when wet. Keep scrap paper on hand to experiement with colors. If you put something down on your picture and you don't like it, it's hard to change, so test it first. If painting over ink drawing, be sure the ink used is waterproof...otherwise your drawing will smear into a black blob. You can make color reference cards by dabbing and mixing smears of paint, and labelling them.

    Brushes- get some good sable or talkon brushes...don't use them for anything else but watercolors. Get all sizes-- from tiny to fat. Don't buy cheap brushes-- they will fall apart and leave bristles all over your picture.

    And...practice, practice, practice, practice......

  17. #14
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    Cotton balls work to when you paint watercolour. In this watercolour painting that I'm workin' on, I have such a hard time painting clouds. So I use a cotton ball, and my clouds look much better.

  18. #15
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    Cool- I'm looking to get into watercolor myself.

    Is there a particular brand that is (or more importantly- is not) recommended for those just starting out?
    Can you get a richness in color from cakes that you can from tube paint?

    I'm am interested in doing some ink drawings that I would like to paint and watercolor seemed the best way to get the effect I want.

    Sorry about the bump, but I figured it made sense to keep all the useful info consolidated in one thread.
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  19. #16
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    Some basics: You need to know which colors are transparent and which are not. If you work in layers and put a semi opaque color on top, your color and surface will die. It sems to be the opposite of painting in oil. Yellow ochre, all the cadmiums and ultrmarine blue have to go down FIRST. It also matters what paint you use. Some brands use better quality pigments than others. It doesn't pay to use cheap watercolors.

    Try using distilled water, especially if the water in your area is "hard." It will help with even washes.

  20. #17
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    One thing I like is don't load the brush with pigment and build the washes up.... you get a really cool layery effect... check my sketchbook to see what I've been up to with watercolours, there's a few bits in there using watercolours. I use a windsor and newton watercolour set (attachment), and it does everything i want, not that I ask for a lot yet, but I can't fault them.


    I've got a question about paper tho...can anyone recommend any specific brands of paper and possibly where I can get them in the UK? I'd like something with hardly any texture really, I like to draw technical..... I think HP - hot pressed is what I'd be after?

    - Roo
    Last edited by roosketch; February 12th, 2007 at 04:30 PM.

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