Jane Blundell a watercolour artist, passionate about colour.
She have been painting professionally for over 30 years and love to share her discoveries. You can see more of her work along with tutorials on www.janeblundellart.com.
I had the chance to try out the full range of Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers a few weekends ago, as part of a great day with the Sydney Urban Sketchers. We met at the Jasco offices and had a play with paints and pens. Thanks to Carla and the team :-)
This is not a tool I've used a lot, so it was good to see how it performed. The markers have a broad pointed tip and a brush tip. If you wash over them soon after drawing/colouring with them, they wash out as watercolour would. Leave them longer and the marks will be more distinct.
The pigments used are largely the phthalo pigments and other small particle sizes, so they can flow through the marker pen. Consequently many of the colours have been accurately named 'hue'. All but two are given an 'A' rating (Permanent) for lightfast, with Burnt Sienna and Lamp Black receiving AA rating.
Most are made from a relatively small number of pigments, so colour harmony should be easy to achieve.
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers - Cadmium Yellow Hue, Gamboge Hue, Cadmium Orange Hue, Cadmium Red Hue, Cadmium Red deep Hue, Pale Rose.
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers - Lemon Yellow Hue, Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, Cadmium Red Hue, Alizarin Crimson Hue, Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Magenta.
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers - Mauve, Dioxazine Violet (whoops - miss-spelt), Mid Blue, Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), Prussian Blue Hue, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade).
I have a few markers to explore more with, so added a line with the 'fine' end of the pen to some of the swatches.
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers - Cerulean Blue Hue, Turquoise, Phthalo Green, Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade), Hooker's Green Dark, Hooker's Green.
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers - Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Red, Raw Umber.
I do a lot of travelling and take my sketching supplies with me all over the world. I've often been asked to do a blog about what I carry with me, so here it is. I'm packing it up to take to Cairns today!
It wouldn't be the same kit for everyone, but may give you some ideas. Feel free to add other suggestions in the comments section :-)
I try to keep my kit as compact as I can, while maintaining a good range of tools to work with. I've sketched each tool here using my new Daniel Smith Jane's Grey watercolour.
The sketchbook is The Perfect Sketchbook B5. It was a kickstarter project but apparently it will be available again through Etchrlab.com. It is made with Fabriano Artistico paper, 200gsm cold pressed. This is the 5th of these books that I've used so far and I really like them. The cover is recycled leather and the paper is a joy to use.
I love to begin each new book with swatches of one of my palettes. I'll talk about those below.
The tools are, from left, a 0.7 2B clutch/propelling pencil. I like the 0.7mm as it is not too fine for sketching but is also excellent for writing. I use either B or 2B leads - dark enough to do finished drawings or just light initial sketches, soft enough that it doesn't damage the paper.
Mottler - 1" size. I love this little brush. I use it for pre-wetting the background for sky washes or larger areas or for when I want more of a geometric shape.
Waterbrush. They are especially useful on planes or in galleries where it is difficult to manage a separate water container.
Uniball Broad white pen. For adding highlights or lost whites to a sketch or for writing on darker paper or darker washes.
Rosemary & Co Eradicator small sized. Great for lifting out fine details such as white window sills or for making minor corrections.
Post Office Nib in a cut down nib holder. I use this to draw or write with watercolour, loading the colour into the nib with a brush.
Small Scrubber brush - another correction tool. For cleaning up small splatters or softening parts of a wash.
Pilot custom Fountain pen (fine) with black De Atramantis Ink.
TWSBI 580 AL fountain pen (Extra Fine) with brown De Atramantis Ink
Pilot Custom Fountain pen (fine) with Urban Grey De Atramentis ink.
Porcupine Quill - for stirring paint in a palette or for scratching or denting the damp wash on a sketch to add fine details.
Da Vinci Maestro Travel Brush size 6
Faber Castell water-soluble graphite pencil 4B - I usually begin my sketches with this. If used lightly, the lines will wash into the watercolour and disappear. No need for erasing.
Da Vinci Maestro Travel Brush size 8.
The swatches on the page on the right is my usual sketching palette. This is a Herring Compact set up with 24 half pans. It includes my basic 15 Ultimate Mixing colours as well as some lovely convenience mixes and great granulating pigments. The full details are here. The Herring Compact palette is available in half pan or full pan models from Jackson's in the UK. I've adapted it slightly to hold the 24 colours and waterbrush.
The swatches on the left page are of my Pocket Palette with my plein air extras - special pigments that I may not often use but are lovely at times. The details of those colours are also found here at the bottom of the page.
I use two plastic Nalgene bottles for my painting water. One clean, the other dirty.
I also carry a water bottle with drinking water. I love the A4 and A5 bottles as they fit into my Messenger Bag - a bike bag I bought in Canada.
I use a travel stool - the Helinox Chair One - as it is light (less than 1kg), compact and comfortable. The low height of this stool means I can have my water bottles on the ground next to me - one less item to have the juggle - and also that I can work with my sketchbook in my knee.
I have a few sheets of paper towel and a few very small Nalgene bottles to carry the inks I use - De Atramentis Document Inks. Black, Brown and my own mixed grey or Urban Grey.
I have a compact raincoat, a compact down jacket, fingerless gloves, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and umbrella and a very fine woollen scarf available, depending on the season, so I can be out in most weather. Rain and snow are of course rather too challenging!
As I mentioned, I'm off to Cairns today and will take all this with me. I'm teaching a 5-day 'sketching with watercolour' workshop in the botanic gardens. I'll be posting on Instagram - Janeblundellartist Happy sketching!
Jackson's Art Supplies in the UK is an amazing store as they stock so many different brands of watercolour. They also have a signature range called Jackson's Artist Watercolour Paint. It's a manageable sized range of 50 colours, available in 10ml, 21ml, half and full pans, for an excellent price. They recently sent me a sample dot card so here they are. They were lovely to paint out as they rewet with ease. Made with pigment, Sudanese Kordofan gum arabic, water and honey.
I have scanned some, and photographed others to try to get the most accurate colour for these swatches. It's always the yellows, oranges and reds that are difficult.
These are close to reality, but the Cadmium Yellow Light is actually a little warmer - a lovely primary yellow colour.
Jackson's Artist Watercolours - Chinese White, Lemon Yellow, Aureolin, Cadmium Yellow Light, Jackson's Yellow Light.
Jackson's Artist Watercolours - Indian Yellow Hue, Naples Yellow Hue, CadmiumYellow Deep, Cadmium Yellow Orange, Red Orange.
The Cadmium Red Orange is this lovely bright orange-red. Colours look pretty accurate for these swatches. I think the Cadmium Red Purple sample may have been a bit too gummy - this is normally a strong deep red.
Jackson's Artist Watercolours - Cadmium Red Orange, French Vermilion, Cadmium Red Light, Bright Red, Cadmium Red Purple.
This is the old version of Permanent Alizarin Crimson Deep - it has been replaced with a three-pigment mix of PR179, PR209 and PY83. The Alizarin Crimson hue shown has also been replaced with PR83. Carmine makes a great primary red.
Jackson's Artist Watercolours - Permanent Alizarin Crimson Deep (old version), Alizarin Crimson (old version), Jackson's Red (Pyrrole), Carmine, Opera Rose.
Jackson's Artist Watercolours - Quinacridone Purple, Permanent Magenta, Cobalt Violet Light Hue, Cobalt Violet Deep Hue, Cobalt Blue.
Jackson's Artist Watercolours - French Ultramarine Light, French Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue,
American Journey watercolours are the Cheap Joe's home brand, available only through their website. They are available in 15 and 37ml tubes with a couple in 8ml tubes and some sets.
They started with a range of 49 colours which grew to 112 plus a range of 15 iridescent colours, but it has been cut back and is currently 113 including 11 iridescent colours, which are all included here. Some names have changed in the latest range, and are noted below.
These are lovely paints that rewet with ease. There are some whimsical names! As always I have tried to get the colours as close as I can. I've used a mix of photos and scans to try to capture the oranges and bright rose colours which are always a challenge.
Sour Lemon Hansa is a good choice for a clean mixing cool yellow.
American Journey Watercolours - Titanium White, Chinese White, Buff Titanium, Sour Lemon Hansa, Aureolin (Mixture)
Bumblebee Yellow is my favourite mid or primary yellow pigment.
These are some of the discontinued colours, along with Potter's Pink Natural, Egyptian Blue Genuine, Lapis Lazuli, Han Purple, Egyptian Blue Hue, Azurite Genuine, Olive Oxide, Brown Derby, Red Iron Oxide Natural, Natural Hematite, Hematite Violet, Vivianite and a number of others.
American Journey Watercolours - Ornamental Red (discontinued), Egyptian Blue Genuine (discontinued), True Green (discontinued)
I did a blog post about the Renesans Intense Watercolour range here in November 2018. The details on the website for the Half Pan (godet) range have changed since then. Here is the updated pigment information from 2019.
These 54 colours are made with gum Arabic and acacia honey.
I am very grateful to Renesans of Poland for providing me with samples to show the full range in swatches too. I understand these are all the current formulations, apart from perhaps two (#18 and #23) that may still be the previous pigments? They were a pleasure to paint out as they re-wet with ease, which is what is necessary with pan colours.
Just a few pigments need to be used with care unless only for reproduction work or in a sketchbook - for example the lovely, but not lightfast, PG8, used as Hooker's Green and in Sap Green and a couple of others.
Renesans Pan Watercolours - Titanium White, Flesh Tint (previously called Naples Yellow Reddish), Persian Yellow (new formulation), Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Pale.
Renesans Pan Watercolours - Gamboge (Hue) (Previously called Gami Gutta), Cadmium Yellow Deep, Indian Yellow (new formulation), Cadmium Orange, Vermilion.
Renesans Pan Watercolours - Cadmium Red Pale, Scarlet, Cadmium Red Deep, Carmine (new formulation), Magenta Lake (new pigment).
Renesans Pan Watercolours - Alizarine Madder Lake (new formulation), Geranium Lake, Mineral Violet (new formulation - I am not sure is this is the new version or the previous PV23:1), Indigo, Prussian Blue.
Renesans Pan Watercolours - Paris Blue, Phthalo Blue (Heliogen), Polish Blue (was called Poland Blue, now made with PB15:1 but I think this is the previous PB29 version), Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue.
I posted the full range of Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer pencils here. The beautiful Polychromos pencils are the same colours with the same colour numbers but I thought I'd add this photo as a quick comparison.
Faber Castell Polychomos pencils full range.
I like to use the Polychromos pencils as a coloured resist, with either watercolour pencils or watercolour over the top.
In this study you can see the veins on the petals were drawn in the Polychromos. All the washes were created using the Albrecht Dürer pencils as watercolour.
Faber Castell demonstration piece using Polychromos pencils as a resist and Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils to paint.
Aquarius Watercolours by Romaa Szmal with their hand-painted labels.
Roman Szmal created a new watercolour range that was launched this year. I have painted out the samples he sent and posted them all here.
Roman Szmal wooden 36 colour palette.
He then sent a lovely wooden palette box with space for 36 colours and wondered which I would use to fill it. I thought this lovely palette justified a new post.
It was quite a challenge choosing actually. My largest palettes are 24 colours so adding 12 more meant I had a huge number of variations of each colour. I don't usually have a cool, medium and warm yellow as well as a quinacridone gold. I included two oranges - both gorgeous, and two turquoises and purples. There are seven blues, seven greens and a massive eight earths colours.
My choices for the 36 colour palette.
Here is the printout of my chosen palette. Far more colours than I need but lots of fun. The mixed greens have quite a few pigments but are really lovely and realistic with interesting granulation. The earths are glowing. Many use variations of PR102 and are interesting and rare earth colours.
Aquarius Watercolours - my 36 colour palette
Some of the paints are quite soft, others firmer. They are designed to rewet easily and do lift from the palette very nicely. I look forward to exploring them further.
Aquarius watercolours by Roman Szmal - 12 colour set.
Artur Przybysz's Master Set A set of 12 colours was released in a palette, shown left. It contains two yellows, two reds and two blues as well as the lovely Natural Sienna Light that I've chosen above, and a PR102 Red Ochre that is a very lovely burnt sienna option. It also has a neutral purple colour called Przybysz' Grey, which is as close as he has to a mixed grey. This was inspired by the Polish artist who helped a lot in the development of these colours.
I've listed the stockists of these paints on my full range post here. Happy painting!
I was sent as set of 12 Renesans gouache tubes to try. These come from Poland, and Renesans make an additional three different watercolour ranges that I have written about here.
There are 26 colours in total in this range - smaller than most watercolour ranges but that makes sense - I use a much smaller range of colours in gouache that I do in watercolour as I consider gouache to be an opaque medium so I am not looking for transparent or granulating colours.
It's a workable basic set, though I think a cool red and a cool blue could be added to this set, perhaps instead of Cobalt Blue and the four pigment Burnt Umber. I think I'd use Raw Sienna more than Flesh Tint.
ShinHan is a Korean company. I posted a blog about their watercolours here.
I was also sent a set of 6 ShinHan PASS hybrid watercolour/gouache last year and didn't get past painting out some swatches using the fresh paint. The colours were vibrant and strong with various levels of transparency, but at that stage I didn't have a chance to experiment further.
ShinHan Pass Colour set of 6.
ShinHan sent out some sample boxes and on Saturday, the Sydney Urban Sketchers had the chance to play with the full range of 48 colours.
They are quite a mix, as the set contains some excellent pigments, some fluoro colours, some fugitive pigments and a big range of transparent to opaque paints. They are designed to be able to 'pass' from transparent watercolour through to thicker gouache applications seamlessly.
ShinHan PASS colour - set of 48.
ShinHan PASS colour drying in full pans.
They are not necessarily produced to be used dried, but as a travel/urban sketcher, it's always something I like to be able to do - set up a palette and take them with me. Since I usually work with dried paint, I find it more easy to control that way. However for those who like using acrylics or fresh paint, using them fresh from the tube would be more familiar.
I painted out the full range and include them here in the order they are shown in the colour chart. The pigment and lightfast information is taken from the same chart. S = series, where A is the least expensive and E is the most expensive. The empty square = transparent Diagonal through the square is semi transparent Half filled square is semi opaque Black square is opaque. The stars relate to the lightfast rating where **** is the highest lightfast and * is the lowest. There are a number of colours with a rating of * and ** that would not be suitable for framed work but could be used in a sketchbook, where they are protected from light. Very few have been given the highest **** rating.
I noticed that the black line that I drew to compare opacity didn't always match the product information, however it should help to see how transparent they are painted very diluted and then in a creaming wash. The swatches are fairly close to original colours.
These reds are fairly close to the original swatches with the Bright Red being really vibrant. Permanent Red was included in my set of 6 though if you were looking for a primary red the Carmine would be a cleaner mixing option. (note - I've not seen PR17 before nor researched its lightfast rating). The Vermilion Hue is a gorgeous orange but only suitable for a sketchbook or reproduction work. I found the paint easier to control in the dried state and the transitions between using it as a watercolour and using it thicker as a gouache were easier to control.
The brightness of the Yellow Orange and Lemon Yellow really shows up in these photos. Once again the orange is very pretty but the pigments are all going to fade if exposed to light. The Permanent Yellow was in the set of 6 and is a good choice (hue wise) as a primary yellow.
There are some colours that I just have no interest in - flouro pigments and tints being right up there - but they are pretty and the added white pigment of course makes them more opaque.
ShinHan PASS hybrid watercolour gouache - Blue Celeste, Red Violet, Lilac, Opera, Brilliant Pink.
I like the yellow ochre - it's one of the most useful gouache colours I find. The Raw Umber is listed as PR101 which is most unusual. It comes in many forms but I've never seen it in this hue before. The Light Red is really vibrant.
Finally Black, Grey and White. These were not as completely opaque as they are listed but would cover a line if a couple of coats were used.
ShinHan PASS hybrid watercolour gouache - Black, Grey, White
I have set up a palette of 12 colours that I think will work nicely for urban sketching (in a sketchbook) including 5 of the original 6-colour set - White, Permanent Yellow, Permanent Red (though Carmine would be more versatile), Cobalt Blue Hue (though French Ultramarine Deep would be more versatile), Cerulean Blue Hue, Sap Green, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Light Red, Vandyke Brown and Black. With Gouache palettes I break all my rules and include black and white! I'll have a play with them and add more comments in time. Happy painting!
I have always loved colour, so it is no surprise that all I wanted as a child was coloured pencils, markers, pens, paint and other art and stationary materials. This set of 72 Derwent Pencils was my pride and joy at the age of about 7. I use water-soluble pencils much more often these days, so have created a couple of blog posts about those, but as it was National Pencil Day in the US last week, I thought I'd share these old friends. They have travelled with me to over a dozen different housesin three countries over the years yet here they all are - all 72. They don't have any fancy colour names, just numbers, 1 - 72.
Derwent coloured pencils from the 1970s.
I like the colours of the Derwent (and Faber Castell) pencils as they are very realistic and usable, with a good range of earth browns and interesting greens.
Derwent coloured pencils from the 1970s drawn out.