Watercolor supplies

With #WorldWatercolorMonth kicking off just yesterday, I thought I might put up a brief post about the supplies I will be using.

While I am primarily participating in the #WorldWatercolorMonth challenge, I will also be continuing to participate in the #dndchallenge on Instagram, primarily the lettering prompts, as I still enjoy practicing my lettering skills.

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For most of my #WorldWatercolorMonth paintings, I will be doing them in my pocket Leuchtturm1917 sketchbook.

Now, this sketchbook is not a watercolor sketchbook. The paper is not really made to handle wet mediums. I have done several trial runs with watercolor and India ink in the beginning of this sketchbook and found that the color would bleed through the paper. It would also absorb pretty quickly into the fibers so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to blend colors very well. Finally the paper would start to pill and/or buckle under all the water.

I was a little disappointed with this, as I found my pocket Moleskine sketchbook’s paper held up significantly better to watercolor. I think it’s because there is a sort of glossy finish to that paper that partially resists the water and allows for better movement. In all honesty I really, really wanted to love my Leuchtturm1917. I still do like the sketchbook, but it’s just sad that the paper doesn’t hold up like I was hoping it would. That said, this sketchbook holds up very nicely to markers, pens and colored pencils.

Thankfully, all my previous practice with using mixed media in the past gave me the knowledge that I could remedy the problem of the paper quality by giving it a coat of gesso before I begin any paintings. So that is what I will be doing with any watercolors in my pocket Leuchtturm1917. The gesso I use is Liquitex white gesso.

Next, I will occasionally be using my Strathmore watercolor journal. This does have watercolor paper in it, so there is no need for me to prep the paper ahead of time. I’m not totally sure when I’ll be using this journal. Probably when I’m not in the mood to deal with prepping a page with gesso, or for more practice runs and just playing with techniques.

To be clear here, watercolor behaves differently on a surface treated with gesso versus actual watercolor paper. A gesso-treated surface is a lot smoother and I find it just absorbs the pigments differently than watercolor paper. So, if you’ve been painting on watercolor paper for many years and want to give the gessoed surface a try, just be aware that you may have some surprises there, perhaps even some frustration. They are not one and the same.

For my #dndchallenge lettering pieces, I will be doing them in my dot-grid Leuchtturm1917 bullet journal. I will not be prepping the paper with anything, just painting direct on the surface. This paper is extremely thin, but like Moleskine paper, it has a sort of glossy finish to it that slightly resists the water so it allows for a little better movement. I am only going to be doing really light and small applications of watercolor in this. Mostly to use as a backdrop for my lettering.

For my watercolor palettes, I will be using my custom palette probably the most. This palette uses tube watercolors from mixed brands in my collection. Those brands include Winsor & Newton Cotman, Grumbacher Academy, Mijello Mission Gold, and Susan Scheewe.

If I do a painting while traveling for any reason (I’ve been going on a lot of hikes in the beautiful Rocky Mountains on the weekends), I will be using my Winsor & Newton travel palette.

Finally, for the paint in my bullet journal, I will be using my Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor palette.

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There is a possible chance I may choose to use Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Inks here and there if I get the urge to experiment with those more. They are a different beast from watercolor, because once they dry, the pigment will not move again. So no going back and re-blending colors like you can with watercolor.

Where tools are concerned, I’ll be using my Pentel Aquash brushes (whether traveling or not), and Master’s Touch watercolor brushes. For any ink drawing or brush lettering, I will be using my Sakura Micron and Brush pens (possibly my Faber-Castel Pitt Artist Brush Pens, too.)

What are your favorite watercolor tools? Leave a comment below.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest to stay up-to-date with my current entries for these two super-fun challenges.

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