My Other Hobby And You Can Too06/19/2013
Some days fountain pens and ink won’t do. On those occasions, a swish of color from a supple brush can’t be topped.
Whether ink or watercolor, it’s relaxing when I pay no attention to form or detail. Just mix two colors, sweep a brush across the paper, and see what happens. The resulting swatches teach me more about color than the best books on the subject ever will.
Whether messing around with ink or watercolor, use decent quality tools. It does make a difference. The da Vinci Cosmotop is a brush with the right characteristics. The #6 round produces lines of good width for a 6″ x 8″ journal while the #8 round is suitable for a larger format. For good paper, I use Canson Mix Media and for better quality I use Stillman & Birn.
To avoid contaminated ink, squeeze a few drops from a pipette or expel a small amount from your pen into a shallow container and toss any leftovers when you are finished. Watercolor is easier to use, but I never touch anything except a clean brush to a block or pan of paint to keep colors true. A small amount on a brush can be transferred to a mixing surface to combine with a second color. Even something simple like a styrofoam plate or smooth, plastic cutting board will do and the white background shows off mixes very well. Then use the brush to swirl some color on paper.
Experiment with pressure, angle, and wetness just as you would with a fountain pen. There are only rules about maintaining your equipment so that it lasts indefinitely and is ready to use whenever it strikes your fancy to put brush to paper. However, if you want to join a community for suggestions and guidance, Wet Canvas is a good place to start.
Once you get the hang of it, try your favorite doodle shapes. Use the best of the lot to make greeting or thank you cards. Just cut out what you like best, and glue it to the front of a blank card. Voilà. A true original. Be sure to sign your name to your creation. The recipient might consider it a work of art.
More of my watercolor images on Flickr. If you have some doodles or swatches, put a link in the comments so the rest of us can ogle them.