Saturday, October 27, 2012

Water Colours - Using my Collection - A Review

I've always liked water colours when they don't look pale and overly washed out. (I can see some of you rolling your eyes saying yes we know you like bright colours!!)
Even as a teenager I loved them. I started collecting water colour pencils one at a time because the ones I wanted were so expensive. I used them for various creations and school projects and then I stored them carefully away in a plastic bag for a decade or two (but who's counting).
I've watched various tutorials on You Tube and television about how you can use water colour in your scrapping and paper crafting and I just knew I had to give it a go again. 
In my usual OCD way I also invested in some more water colour products because one can never have enough options (or so I keep telling myself).
So I ended up with water colour pencils, crayons, paints and paper. 
And finally (because laptop wasn't working and I had no excuse NOT to) I did some experimenting with my stash.
Being an analytical OCD type personality, I had to do it right and experiment with different papers as well as the different water colour products so I could see what worked best with what.
I had a selection of different papers - sketch, drawing, water colour and from an art journaling book. As I had four colour mediums, I cut each piece of paper in quarters.
I coloured a small sample of each colour of each product onto each piece of paper, then used my zig water brush to diffuse the colour. I then left each piece of paper to dry naturally.
I bought this pencil set though the book delivery people who leave books in your office for people to buy. The set comes with coloured pencils, drawings pencils, water colour pencils, charcoal pencils and metallic pencils.
Result using the water colour pencils from the pencil set.
L - R journal book paper, sketch paper, drawing paper, water colour paper (lightest weight to heaviest weight paper) 
I was a little disappointed in how wishy-washy the end result was but then they were relatively cheap. Conclusion: buy the best quality you can afford, the results are worth it.
Water colour paint set

Result using the water colour paints.
L - R journal book paper, sketch paper, drawing paper, water colour paper (lightest weight to heaviest weight paper)
I was really impressed with the intensity of the colours of the paints. I thought they might be the most washed out of all, but they weren't. The paint set was NZD$14.00 from Warehouse Stationery which I thought was very reasonable. If you are just wanting to do a little experimenting then this would be a good, value for money investment. 

Water colour crayons

Result using the water colour pencils from the crayon set.
L - R journal book paper, sketch paper, drawing paper, water colour paper (lightest weight to heaviest weight paper)
I have had these a while. I bought them and then never touched them. To be honest I really wasn't sure if they would work or not, I mean crayons usually repel water, don't they??
They really do work and they work really well. This pack contains 36 different colours of crayons. There is a nice range of colours which will allow for a good selection of toning of colours.
I tried these both direct to paper and from the crayon and both methods worked well. If you had a larger background area you were colouring then I would suggest the direct to paper method, where you colour the area with the crayon directly onto the paper. If you were only colouring small areas, then colouring from the crayon would be much easier to control as you are taking the colour from the crayon to the paper.
These were considerably more expensive than the paints - costing about NZ $55 - 60 (from memory). If you are interested in these please let me know as I am able to buy these from my supplier and will certainly be sure to offer a very reasonable price to my blog readers.

Coloured pencils by Caran d'ache of Switzerland.
I bought these pencils 20+ years ago and back then each pencil cost from memory NZ $7 - $10. I have googled them and the can be bought from overseas in packs of up to 80 pencils. I'm not sure if you can still get them here in New Zealand - maybe if you search specialist art equipment shops.
I did see one price listed as up to USD $350.00 for a set, so this is definitely an investment that should not be taken lightly.

Result using the water colour pencils from the individual pencils.
L - R journal book paper, sketch paper, drawing paper, water colour paper (lightest weight to heaviest weight paper) 
The colour selection is amazing and I don't have every colour. I found these to be the most versatile medium and having looked at the brochure for them, there is still a number of techniques that I have yet to try. 
For more information including a link to the brochure of techniques look at the Caran d'ache website.

Once I had finished my colour swatches (for lack of a better name), I stamped a few images and coloured them in to get an idea for finished projects. I cut the water colour paper a size that would fit onto a normal card blank so I could use them at a later date.
Image stamped with Ranger Archival Ink - Jet Black. These were from a set of stamps that I received free with a card making magazine.
This was coloured using my water colour pencils. I was able to get some quite subtle shading and blending of colour, though being a perfectionist, I think this still needs a great deal of work yet. I was able to achieve a range of intensity from very pale to quite strong which was good to see (as I appreciate that not everyone agrees with me about intensity of colour).
Stamp from KaiserCraft.
I coloured this image using the water colour paints. The photo looks a little darker than the finished product looks in reality though I have to confess that the colour is perhaps a little too intense given that each petal has a word in it and these are a little hard to see.
This was another craft magazine freebie. As cute as I think it is, it was really difficult to colour as the image is so small (only about 2" tall) so the small areas like the Christmas baubles and lights were harder to colour than I expected. Maybe with a little practice I might feel differently.

This was coloured with the water colour crayons using the colour from the crayon to the paper. Love the colours, even if my colour selection itself is a bit suspect (I was experimenting okay!!). I do like the blending I was able to get especially in the heart in the background. And the stamp was another freebie.

My final experiment was to test if I had any black pens that were water proof as an alternative to stamping an image with waterproof ink. I got this idea from watching an episode of Scrapbook Soup on satellite television. One of the two show hosts, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, is a huge proponent of water colouring and is one of the reasons I finally got my act together to try my water colours. You can see Julie's creations on her blog at Balzer Designs.  
I wasn't sure if I had pens I could use that wouldn't bleed when the water colour was added. I tried a number of pens and found that both the Slick Writer by American Crafts and the Zig Writer by Zig Memory System did not bleed when spritzed with water or coloured with water colour paint.

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