Tuesday, April 18, 2017

4 tips for working with cheap watercolors

When it comes to working with watercolors, there are all sorts of different options out there. Over the years I've pretty used everything- from cheap to expensive to middle of the road paint. And while I have my favorites, I always find myself using the cheap sets of paint. They are accessible (you can buy a set of Crayola watercolors at the grocery store), the quality and colors are nice, they are great for traveling and creating on the go and the best part is that you can beat them up! Today I thought I would share 4 tips for working with cheap watercolors.

I get asked for recommendations on watercolor paint all the time. Honestly, my best advice is that before you splurge on the fancy stuff, grab yourself a $3.00 set of watercolors and get accustomed to the process of working with wet media. 

1. Mix up those colors
It's really easy (and tempting) to paint straight from those pans which can make a cheap set of watercolors feel like they are limiting but I like to challenge myself to see how many different color combos I can mix up. This process will show you how much potential that cheap set has!
You can even get really detailed and take it a step further and number the colors.

Keep track of your color combinations and use this as a reference when you paint.

2. Layer that color
Sometimes cheap watercolors are not as pigmented as more expensive options. I've found that you can get richer more saturated color simply by layering. I like to start with a wash of color.
Once that color is dry, I paint right over the top of it with the same color. The result is deeper, pigmented color.

3. Supplement those colors
While I love cheap sets of watercolors, I've found (depending on the brand) there is always one color that isn't dynamic. A great way to make up for this is to supplement by purchasing one or two tubes or individual pans of better quality or more pigmented watercolors. I've found that red and magenta in cheap sets can be a little dull or washed out. To make up for this, I always like to have a few shades of red or magenta that I use along with my cheap watercolors.

4. Don't be afraid to mix different brands
There is no rule that says you can't mix cheap watercolors with more expensive brands! I love using my Crayola watercolors along side my Raphael set and Sakura Koi set. In fact, I actually prefer the teal and blue in my cheap set!


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