A guide to Noodler’s inks and the return of Sailor’s Four Seasons collection are good news for an Inkophile.
Archive for the ‘Watercolor’ Category
This past week incoming goodies included four brushes and a tube of red watercolor providing the perfect opportunity to test the new softcover Stillman & Birn Zeta Sketchbook. This wasn’t planned, but it could have been. What a wonderful way to spend a bit of the weekend.
Now where to fit in that J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre ink that has patiently waited for its measure of attention? Perhaps during the week if things get slow. Heh. As if.
Where to buy:
Yesterday was the first day of the very first World Watercolor Month. It might not be on your calendar, but don’t let that stop the celebration. Angela Fehr sent an invitation to participate and I’m game. Check out Doodlewash for inspiration and use the #worldwatercolormonth hashtag when you post your watercolor sketches.
If you are new to watercolor painting, Angela has a YouTube channel that can help you get started. Her style is to let the paint do the talking without using pen or pencil to draw a scene first. It’s very loose and exciting to see the colors mix together on the paper.
Another method is to draw a subject and use paint to fill in the color. It reminds me of a coloring book and works very well in a journal. Teoh is an urban sketcher who does it that way.
Want to give it a go? All that’s needed is paint, brush, a container for water, and of course water. Here are some products from Amazon.com to get you started.
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Color Pocket PLUS Set of 12 Half Pans – Student grade paint in a box with plenty of mixing space. Comes with a small brush.
- SCHMINCKE Half Pan Watercolor Pocket Set (74012097) – Artist grade paint in a sturdy metal box. Comes with a very good Da Vinci #5 travel brush.
- Daniel Smith 285610005 Extra Fine Essentials Introductory Watercolor, 6 Tubes, 5ml – Mix your own with this set of basics designed to produce clean, clear colors.
- Martin Mijello Airtight Watercolor 18-Well Blue Palette – A good container for the Daniel Smith tube paints.
- DaVinci Cosmotop Spin Watercolor Brush Round Size 8 – No single brush will do it all, but a size 8 is a versatile choice.
- Princeton Snap! Brush (Set of 3) – These are larger brushes, but the Snap line offers very good control. Use them at different angles for a variety of stroke widths.
- Arches Cold Press Watercolor Pad, 9″X12″– Arches is the brand most often mentioned as a favorite. Cold press refers to the production process and denotes a paper than has some texture.
- Stillman & Birn Zeta Series – Journals with smooth paper that handle watercolor as well as markers and fountain pens.
- Stillman & Birn Beta Series – Journals with cold press paper for mix media including watercolor.
- Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Color Travel Bag – The whole kit and caboodle in one place.
If you want to minimize your investment, Cotman is as good as it gets for student grade paint and it is much better than the stuff sold for kids. Student grade can have more fillers and be less lightfast than artist grade, but it’s good enough to get acquainted with watercolor painting. The box can be refilled with artist grade colors as needed.
Just as important as the paint is the quality of the paper. Crummy paper will yield unsatisfactory results even with top quality paint. Buy the best you can or you may never know how much fun painting can be.
For a newbie, a synthetic brush can offer more control than natural hair and provide a good transition from writing and drawing to painting with watercolor. If you are only investing in one brush, buy one with a good point for lines and details. You can always paint with the side of the brush when more coverage is needed.
So there you go. World Watercolor Month and the few tools needed to participate. Are you on board?
The Leuchtturm1917 paper is so nice to write on that finding compatible inks and pens has become a quest. Every duo on hand whether for personal use or testing purposes gets a page to itself in the search for suitable matches. With a few exceptions, wide and flex nibs have caused dots of bleed through. There is some show through, but it isn’t a deterrent for me. At least in my journal, neither is the tiny degree of Moleskine-like feathering. How the pen moves across the paper is more important for private musings and the sheer joy of writing.
- Lamy AL-Star EF with Noodler’s Black
- Conklin Duragraph Stub with Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu
- Levenger True Write F with Pelikan Violet
- Noodler’s Naponset with Iroshizuku yu-yake
- TWSBI 580 1.1 with Diamine Violet
- Platinum #3776 music nib with J. Herbin Terre de Feu or Cafe des Iles
- Vintage Platinum Karakusa 18k EF with Noodler’s El Lawrence
- Pilot Kakuno M with Diamine Mediterranean Blue
Most disappointing duos
- Platinum Nice M with Diamine Wild Strawberry
- Platinum Yamanaka SM with Diamine Merlot
- Pelikan M200 italic with Iroshizuku tsuki-yo
- Noodler’s 1820 Essex Konrad Flex with Noodler’s Dostoyevsky
The paper is absorbent so free-flowing inks produced the most bleed through. After testing more than twenty, this is now a predictable characteristic eliminating some inks from use in the Leuchtturm. No hardship since other inks work just fine.
However, the tendency to feather along a few of the fibers will be off-putting to some users.
A Pentel Pocket Brush Pen with J. Herbin Lie de The or Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan showed no feathering or bleed through. Good mates for this journal are to be found.
What continues to surprise is the way in which the paper handles light watercolor washes. There is very little buckling though with some colors I had to work at getting enough paint down. The paper held up well considering the abuse. No bleed through, but watercolor is more dense than ink. With more coarsely grained pigment particles and less water than ink, paint dries on the surface. It isn’t as translucent as ink, but for a hit of color or some doodles in margins, watercolor will do the trick.
This might seem like heresy, but the Leuchtturm1917 journal provides a wonderfully soft surface for my Autopoint mechanical pencil with HB lead. Should the need arise, a FACTIS extra soft eraser will leave the paper’s surface intact. It can even be used gently on art paper.
The deal here is that I love the paper and needed to persist to find good mates for it. Hey, persistence is a positive trait, isn’t it?