Watercolors – Swatching Koi Water Colors

Until recently, I had only used Crayola watercolors. I mean, you know, they work, but not if you want to try to learn to do something other than paint a picture of a house and a tree for your mom. I have some watercolors that I got from an old job after they switched to digital mapping instead of handrawn maps. I tested a couple of colors and didn’t want to waste my fancy paints on another picture of my cat with hearts and stars in the background. When I saw Lhey and others online using watercolors in their journals, I thought, “This could be the way I use my fancy paints!” I didn’t want to start with them, though. So, I used a coupon at Michaels to buy a palette of Sakura Koi Water Colors (Pocket Field Sketch Box).

After over a month of journaling with watercolors, I’ve made some progress.

I like the crinkly paper in my journals, but I have problems recreating the effects I see on tutorials online. I have a hard time following directions, and all of the beginning watercolor tutorials say to swatch your colors and to use watercolor paper. I have some Canson Watercolor Paper (cold press, 4×6, 140 lb) left from a collage project that a group of my friends and I did as a birthday gift 10 years ago. It happens to be the perfect size to swatch the watercolor set. I gave it a try.

The results are so much better than I expected! The colors went on easier and were much easier to manipulate on this paper than random notebook paper. This must be why everyone working with watercolors has the same tips.

I also found a great series of watercolor how-tos from The Witty Gritty Paper Co. I did the first transparency exercise and was surprised at how well it looks. There should have been more of a difference between 1 & 2 and 3 & 4, but I still don’t think it came out looking too bad. I really have a problem with staying in the lines, both in art and in life. So, I clearly need to work on that (in art only!)

Well, that was my adventure in swatching my Koi watercolors. As you can see, I am still very much a watercolor Noob, but I hope to improve so that I can look back on this post in a couple of years and say, “Ah, the innocence of no experience and cheap materials. I remember those days of yore with much fondness.” (I may or may not have been watching a bunch of period pieces about Frankenstein and alienists lately.). Thanks for reading and starting this voyage with me!

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