Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Watercolor - Space (and review)

For today's project, I decided to break open and use my new Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor Bottles set. I created two cards, using a very similar process but achieving different results. Both cards are also using Mama Elephant's Space Bears stamp set.

The first card uses warm tones. I went for yellow and pink, layering the two colors together over several applications. I haven't played around a whole lot with layering watercolor, but Hydrus watercolor is transparent and lends itself to some great layering. I made sure to dry the paper with my heat tool between passes and I really built up the pink color over time.I like that it turned orange and peachy, too. I also added some splatter with very concentrated color. My method for layering color was to just swirl and tap the paintbrush until I was happy with how the watercolor was laid out. The splatters were made by loading up the paintbrush with color and that tapping it gently with my finger to get the droplets flying -- do this part on a big towel or in a box because that color gets everywhere...

I colored the bear with Copics. I used the same warm yellow shades as the background for his helmet - I think this was a great little touch to make the glass look transparent, even though it wasn't. I could have taken it a step further and added some extra color to match up the background perfectly, but I was happy with just matching up the general palette. I think this is a great little tip in making the character look like they're a part of the background, without needing to do any masking or special paper prep.

For the second bear, I went with a blue theme. I used a combination of a light aqua and a medium blue. I also started just swirling and tapping the color on the background initially, but I decided to make the texture different, so I just added some stripey lines. Since the watercolor was transparent, these stripes are still prominent, but subtle enough to not stick out too much.

I added some splatters of blue, but also used the white that comes with the set. If it's not diluted with water, the white is a relatively opaque color with great coverage - so even if you're not really using the white to watercolor with, you can use it for highlights, splatters and more.

So, let's talk about these watercolors - a little product review. :)

I was fortunate enough to get an Amazon gift-card for my birthday, so picking up this set was an easy decision. It is a bit pricey, as it's artist grade, transparent and lightfast. However, after seeing it in action, I really feel it's worth the price and a very good investment.

You only need very very little of the liquid to achieve a great and brilliant color. So, you can grab the less expensive 0.5oz set like I did, or you can invest in the larger set. I think the smaller set is plenty enough material to work with and practice with for quite a while. And you can also buy the 1.0oz bottles individually - which is a really great option if you have a smaller/fixed budget or just want to replace one color instead of buying an entire new set.

The bottles themselves are plastic and they come with a dropper top, packaged inside a plastic display that the set says can be used as a palette. So, you don't need to buy any other equipment - though you may still want a proper palette to drop and mix your colors. It doesn't have to be a fancy palette, mind you. I used a 1$ plastic white palette I had on hand, and it performed just fine. I left the display as a place to hold the colors for now.

I chose set 1, and it comes with all the essential colors plus black and white. The colors can be mixed together or layered together to create new hues. There are 2 other color sets that have different colors -- they might be a good choice if you prefer more earthy/natural colors or just want to expand the color variety without getting into mixing.

I've only played around with the set a little, but I'm very pleased with how easy it is to use, how well it layers together and how brilliant and vivid the colors are. So, it's a "buy" for me.

Thanks for reading!

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