Monday, April 15, 2013

(More) Working with Watercolors and a Reveiw of Koi Watercolors

Today I want to show you some new watercolors I recently picked up.  Before I go in to detail about these paints, I just want to offer this disclaimer: I bought these paints for myself & the product/company has in no way compensated me for this.  Besides, I'm exceedingly small-time in the blogosphere!

The paints I'm going to show you are Koi watercolor paints, manufactured by Sakura.  That's the same company that makes Micron pens.  I don't think I could live without Micron pens, so I thought it was time to try their watercolors.  When it comes to art materials, I am a creature of habit.  I've been using the same brands forever.  I like what I like and I know how they work, so I rarely change what I use.  These Koi paints are going to be a permanent part of my watercolor tools.  I picked them up on Amazon for less than $20, and just the water pen is about $6 if you want to experiment with that.

These paints come in a variety of options.  I chose the 24 color field sketching set.  For more information about the set or other type of Koi paints, visit their website.  Forgive the picture - my drafting table is in need of a serious cleaning!! What we're looking at here is the travel set.  There is a large easel/mixing area in the top, a detachable palette on the right, two wetting sponges for travel painting, the 24 watercolor pans, and a water brush.

The first thing I noticed is the beautiful range of colors.  I'm usually a minimalist when it comes to colors.  Maybe I'll have a whole lesson on color mixing.  It's actually very interesting.  Secondly, the water brush is a neat idea. 


There's a reservoir in the back of the brush and it's tipped with a very versatile synthetic brush.  It's perfect for traveling.  Even if you don't use the brush, it's an easy way to transport water.  The sponges serve the same purpose.  Not pictured is a ring that folds out from the bottom so that you can hold the paintbox in one hand and paint with the other.

Here's the water brush in action.  I painted over a water-mixable crayon just to see what would happen.  The water brush has a lot of potential for a variety of applications.

This image is a little light, and the painted paper doll will show this a little bit better, but this image is of paint laid down with the water brush compared to a traditional brush.  The colors from the water brush tend to be more liquid and lighter.  There isn't a constant stream of water coming out of it, but the tip does stay moist.  This is great for wet-in-wet work, wetting dry media, and laying down washes.

So on to the doll.

Koi Watercolor Paints
Water brush
Illustration Board
Pencil, eraser

For this doll I decided to test some illustration paper.  It's 150lb paper and designed for multi-media purposes.  This is the first time I've worked with it.  It's very smooth and only buckles slightlyfrom the watercolors.

This is an image of my outlines.  They are really, really faint.  I find illustration board/paper erases very cleanly, and that's part of why the lines are so faint.

First, place a drop of water on each of your pans.  I like to pre-wet my paints.  It softens them up & makes them easier to work with.  Here's the first layer of color.  Take a look at the three navy blue outfits in the middle.  The blouse at the top was painted using the water brush, while the belt & bow were painted with a regular brush.  I tried to use colors straight out of the pan when possible to show the beautiful colors in this set.  I used the water brush to apply the plaid pattern to the green top to demonstrate the flexibility of that brush.  It can make reasonably fine lines, which is great.

Here's the second layer of color.  I kept the shading in this to a minimum.  I love the way the paint sits on this super smooth paper, but the one thing I can't seem to do is pull out paint.  Sometimes it's nice to use a paper towel or tissue and pull out some of the wet paint.  This wasn't really possible here.  Not a huge issue, just a small disadvantage.

This is the final image.  I will scan the doll later on & update the post so you can really see the doll.

Here's a close-up of the face.  There's so much I love about this paints.  They are smooth with no grit at all.  The colors are rich and varied, and would be ideal for a variety of subjects.  The water brush included in the kit has a lot of uses, from fairly wide washes to narrow lines.  And this illustration board/paper is a nice alternative to rougher watercolor papers.  I highly recommend these paints.  They are about the same price as an intro set of Winsor-Newton Cotman pans (which is what I typically use).  The Koi paints have twice as many colors, a water brush, and are easier to use in the field. 

I'll admit this doll was a bit rushed.  As I said, I'll scan it when I can and post that here as well.  I just love these paints and wanted to share that.  Any thoughts, questions, etc, just let me know.  New doll on Friday!

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