[Art Supplies] Watercolor Workshop! (Part I)

Posted by Audra Furuichi on September 11, 2012 8:34 PM

Over the past couple months, I've gotten back into the habit of using watercolors to do both my comic and random artings. You've probably seen some of the nemu*comics done in watercolor or some of my fanart I've posted around the web.


Why watercolors? I guess my simple answer would be it's the fastest medium I have.

In most cases, digital inking and coloring takes me a good 4-6 hours per comic. Oftentimes longer. When I returned from SDCC, I was behind on my comic schedule and needed to get some comics done ASAP. Watercolor is the only medium that I don't need a ton of tools or time to get something decent done. I also don't worry too much about mistakes/imperfections because it's such an unpredictable medium.


Let me preface by saying -- I have never taken a formal watercolor class, although I have taken various other painting courses. I've pretty much fiddled around with the tools since high school and trial-and-errored my way to what I do now. I still read up on basic techniques and try to incorporate them into what I do.

So here's what I use to get started:


(There's more! Read on!)

- Mechanical Pencil (Pentel Graphgear 1000 0.5)
- ColErase Light Blue Pencil
- G-pen nib w/ holder (E+M Artists 2062 Nib Holder w/ Zebra G-pen nib)
- Verithin Colored Pencils (Dark Brown & Burnt Umber)
- Winsor & Newton Series 7 No. 0 Sable Brush
- Kneaded Eraser
- Mono Eraser
- Liquitex Acrylic ink! (Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber)
- a couple jar lids (for inking)
- a couple spice jars (for water)

My method is pretty organic and changes up depending on my mood (read: how lazy/impatient I am). I also can adapt these methods to coloring with markers as well -- since I use the same paper.

My current favorite 3: Arches Hot Press, Clairefontaine Cold Press, Fabriano Hot Press

I should note, each paper handles ink and color differently -- so it's sometimes in your best interest to try different kinds of papers. (Case and point, I have a crate full of art pads. XD;)

1) I have an idea of what I want to draw and (sometimes) thumbnail it out on a sketchbook. (Particularly if it's going to be a commission or finished piece.)

2) I sketch out with blue pencil and tighten the drawing with either a mechanical pencil or colored pencils. (Make sure pencils are sharp for the cleanest lines.)

3) I clean up the drawing and prepare for either inking or coloring (depending on my mood, sometimes the pencils are good enough and I'll re-ink the lines later.)

4) If I'm inking, I fill a jar part-way with water for rinsing my brush/nib. I squirt some ink into the jar cap, saturate the brush, form it to a point, and start inking. I can also thin out the ink with a drop or two of water if the ink gets too thick.

The acrylic ink should dry pretty quickly. I personally don't recommend using the acrylic ink if you plan to use alcohol markers for coloring. It works OK with watercolors, but the alcohol ink may loosen the acrylic ink and smear, particularly if the ink is applied thickly. To be on the safe side, use microns/multiliners.

Still with me? :D

Since this is running long, I'll continue this in a second blog post, covering specifically my watercolor tools as well as a quick tutorial on how I made this:


See you at the next post!

Full Disclosure: The "art supply" posts are a series of sponsored posts by JetPens. What this means is that some, not all, of the items have been purchased for the purpose of review. I encourage you to find the tools that work best for you!

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