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Hone Your Craft

The Supplies You Need to Start Watercoloring as an Adult

Hone Your Craft BY leah bhabha 06/02/2016

Though her prints ultimately end up on rad scarves and clutches, Emma Fineman starts all of her Weft + Hide designs as dreamy watercolors on paper. Which makes her the perfect person to ask: “What do I need to get into painting if I haven’t picked up a brush since fifth-grade art class?”

 

BRUSH UP

“Make sure you are using watercolor brushes. I like Arches, which are softer than if you use horse hair. They are better for detail and help to glide the paint on the paper.”

 

CHASE YOUR PAPER

“For paper, I would recommend playing around. You can try both hot- and cold-pressed papers or ones that are on the smoother side or ones with a lot more tooth. I love using watercolor pads where the sheets come in block, which prevents curling while the paper dries. Arches also makes amazing watercolor pads.”

 

PICK A PAINT

“Watercolor and gouache paint are both great ways to create fun and beautiful imagery and are far less toxic than many other paints. I really love the Angora watercolor sets. Their kits are full of beautiful colors. Gouache works in a really similar way to watercolor but has a lovely opacity and chalky thickness that can be used to layer color in a really interesting way. Acryla gouaches are full-bodied and come in amazing colors. I live in the Bay Area, and I love to shop for materials in person at Case for Making, Flax, and Long Weekend in Oakland. They’re all artist-run supply shops that are as gorgeous and well-curated as the products they stock.”

 

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PENCIL IT IN 

“A fun way to create beautiful illustrations is to start with your watercolor and then, once the paper has fully dried, go back in with either a pencil or a pen to outline and sketch. For this, I would recommend using Micron pens and pencils with a hardness between 4H to 5H, all the way up to a super-soft 6B.” 

 

 Video by @rachface1 via @weftandhide

 

GET WET (AND SALTY)

“Using water makes for a very exciting and, at times, unpredictable medium. The more you embrace the flow, the more fun and exciting things can happen. Try wetting your paper before you start and then layering the colors and watching them blend or sprinkling rock salt on top—the color will gather in interesting ways around the crystals.”

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