Comparing paper for watercolour

I was getting vexed, again, about the paper I was using for the watercolour I was working on yesterday (1). It still wasn’t behaving like the one I used at the start of the week (3).

So, after another comparision ‘twixt these two, I realised that the paper was too lightweight to be any of my watercolour papers. It the dawned on me it was a fugitive piece of Arteza mixed media paper in my store of pieces of watercolour paper.

So, I had to try a piece of Arteza mixed media paper to confirm (2), and it was the same paper as (3) with similar effects.

The Arteza mixed media paper is off-white, just like the Canson Moulin Du Roy (5) and St Cuthbert’s Mill Bockingford (1).

As I liked the way the mixed media paper worked, I thought I’d try a piece of ClaireFontaine mixed media paper (4). It’s bright white, in comparison, and the colours are much more vibrant. The watercolour laid down in a similar way to the Arteza paper, but the paper is so much smoother as well.

So, which do I prefer. Although I’ve not done an abstract piece on the 100% cotton rag paper yet, I’m sure that will be top of the list. What surprises me is how much I like working on the Arteza and ClaireFontaine mixed media papers. I do think the Arteza has the edge on the ClaireFontaine, though I wish it was a little less on the creamy-yellow side.

Perhaps I like these papers as I’m not working wet into wet, nor am I doing much in the way of glazes. I find they let me apply the watercolour with a finish that pleases me.

I also know I don’t like working with Daler-Rowney Aquafine paper with the White Knights paints. It works better, for me, with watercolour pencils.

I know I will continue to experiment with different papers and watercolour; I have Daler-Rowney mixed media paper to try, along with the Khadi 100% cotton rag paper too. I don’t know if I have any others hidden away in my stores, but if I find them, I will use them.

Tiny Botanical Experiments

I thought I’d start Sunday morning off with some experiments with my tiny botanical drawings.

I apologise for the photograph quality – I’m really not a good photographer, something I really do need to work at! The pale colours really don’t help at all.

The artwork on the bottom right is one where I applied rectangles of watercolor on 100% cotton rag paper. Then, I used Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw designs in the windows. Finally, I added some watercolours to the designs to help bring them forward from the background.

I don’t think I messed the drawings up at all, which was my worry. Mind you, I do have to be careful what colours I do add so I don’t make weird colours.

That led to me wanting to try watercolour pencils and Inktense pencils on different watercolour papers:
top – 100% cotton rag paper
middle – Canson Moulin du Roy paper
bottom – Daler-Rowney Smooth watercolour paper.

On each paper, I drew four rectangles, two of which I coloured with a wash of watercolour.

I used the same colours of Derwent Aquatone and Inktense pencils to draw the stylised/abstract floral design and a waterbrush to activate the pigment. I did my best to apply the same amount of pencil in each case. However, I noticed that the papers grabbed different amounts of pencil even though I was using the same kind of pressure.

The amount of pigment grabbed, however, wasn’t at all indicative of how vibrant the colours would be.

The 100% cotton rag paper seemed to have the smallest amount of pigment from the pencils, yet it gave the most intense colours of them all. This paper is quite ‘hard’ in feel and very textured and I was surprised it didn’t seem to take as much pigment. Appearances are deceiving it seems. This paper also allowed me the longest ‘wet’ time to move the coloured pencil pigment around, and to lift some of it where it had got too intense.

The Moulin du Roy paper was a softer texture and it was lovely to colour with the pencils on it. The resultant drawings have a soft quality to them too that I rather like.

The Daler-Rowney seemed to grab the most pigment, yet the colours are not as vibrant, except the for the Inktense on the watercolour background. I think that’s because the watercolour background was still very slightly damp and Inktense pigment activates with the tiniest amount of water. I also think that’s why this one was the hardest to blend the colour smoothly. This was the paper that was the hardest to add the watercolour background to as it dries so darned quickly, or water just puddles on the surface with a tiny bit more water.

The cotton rag paper is, again, my favourite for working with watercolour and Inktense pencils. The vibrancy of the noticeable too – much less pigment is needed to get a rich colour on this paper.

For the other two papers, I did enjoy drawing the flowers on the plain paper and activating the pigment with a waterbrush. I partiuclarly like the Moulin du Roy paper for this technique, though the Daler-Rowney gave a pleasing result on the plain paper.