Monday, July 24, 2017

Paper Review: WInsor and Newton Watercolor Paper: Watercolor Basics

Winsor and Newton has several watercolor papers under the ColArt parent brand- Winsor and Newton Watercolor Marker paper (review to come), Cotman watercolor paper, Bockingford watercolor paper (review to come), Arches, and Winsor and Newton Professional Water Colour paper.

I'm not a fan of Cotman watercolor paper- in fact, I dislike it and strongly recommend against it, but I am a fan of Winsor and Newton's watercolor products in general.  When I found out that they'd launched another paper aimed at their professional artist customers, I was eager to give it a shot, especially as I've tested over a dozen watercolor papers over the years.

Winsor and Newton's Artists' Water Colour Paper Pad is a spiral bound, mould made cellulose based paper with internal and external sizing to prevent buckling (source).

This watercolor paper is available in three sizes- 5"x7" which is the size reviewed today, 7"x10", and 9"x12", and all pads are spiral bound.  There are 12 sheets to a pad, and the paper is 140lb.

The Stats:
  • Spiral Bound
  • Cold Press/Not Press
  • Mould Made
  • Acid Free
  • 140lb
  • Internal and External Sizing
  • Cellulose Paper

Where to buy it:

Winsor and Newton's Site
Dick Blick (note, their site claims it's cotton paper, but the Winsor and Newton site states it's woodpulp based)

Its World Watercolor Month!  Lets celebrate it together- check out my watercolor all ages comic, 7" Kara, today!  Now available as a webcomic.

Examples Of Use:

Textured paper can really handle a LOT of paint and many layers without paint sloughing off or becoming muddy.

Paint build up can become a bit shiny.

Sample of Brush effect on this paper

 At almost every step, I sprayed this thing with water from a spraybottle to get the colors to run and mix- this paper can handle a LOT of water with minimal support.

Can handle massive amounts of water- this illustration is for an upcoming spray techniques demonstration.  Colors remain vibrant and full of life.  Paints used- Holbien, Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, and So Ho.

In this demonstration, I wet individual flowers, sprinkled Brusho, spread the color, and allowed it to dry.  With cheap watercolor papers, sometimes this will cause massive amounts of bleeding, but this was not an issue with the Winsor and Newton Professional Water Colour paper.

Although the piece itself is overworked, the paper performed beautifully, and the colors, while dye based mainly (Brusho), are vibrant and clear.

 In this attempt, I tried to allow the medly of colors within each Brusho 'color' stand for themselves.  While still overworked, the paper held up admirably.

If you love watercolor reviews and tutorials like this review for Winsor and Newton Professional Water Colour paper, keep in mind that I purchase all supplies out of pocket.  My Patreon allows me to support what I do, and if you'd like to see it continue, please join the Artnerd community today.  Artnerds (my Patrons) only need to pledge $2 a month to gain access to early releases, backer exclusive content, free mini copies, download access to Volume 1 of 7" Kara, and much more.  It takes so little to support so much, so please join us!

Winsor and Newton Professional Water Colour Paper is:

  • Smooth enough to ink on
Inked with a Sailor Mitsuo Aida

  • Textured enough to hold pastels
Pan pastels and chalk pastels on Winsor and Newton Professional Water Colour paper, sealed with Krylon Matte Fixativ.

The Verdict:

Winsor and Newton watercolor paper isn't for everyone- I have artist friends who do beautiful watercolors who dislike it greatly.  It has a bit of a soapy texture (perhaps due to external sizing), but colors are vibrant and jewelike, and it's a resilient and absorbent paper.  I think it's worth picking up a 5"x7" pad to find out if it's right for your work, as I enjoy working on this paper, and find that it's a sturdy, inexpensive cellulose paper that can suit many needs.

Something similar:  Jerry's Artarama Union Square Cold Press watercolor paper

Second Opinions and Outside Resources:

Amazon Reviews for Winsor and Newton Watercolor Paper
Dick Blick Reviews

Saturday, July 22, 2017

At-Home Con Stream

Video Platform

Friday, July 21, 2017

Paper Review: Bockingford Watercolor Paper: Watercolor Basics

Hey arty friends!  Today we're reviewing St Cuthbert's Bockingford Watercolor paper, as part of our month long World Watercolor Month celebration here on the blog.

This pad was purchased a year ago, after hearing about it at the Nashville Pla-Za's Hands on Creativity event, from the Winsor and Newton rep.  This rep mentioned that ColArts, Winsor and Newton's parent company, had recently purchased Bockingford paper.  The rep seemed really excited by this acquisition, comparing it to Arches, and the excitement was contagious.  I wanted to give it a shot.

Edit:  According to the St Cuthbert's rep that tweeted me, this isn't true.  Apparently they are owned by F.I.L.A of Italy.   

I couldn't find Bockingford locally at Pla-Za or Jerry's Artarama for a number of months, so I took matters into my own hands, and ordered it from Amazon.  You can now also find it through DickBlick

The Stats:
  • Full Name: St Cuthberts Mill Bockingford
  • Mould Made
  • Available in two finishes: CP/Not (Cold press) and Rough Press
  • Available in a variety of colors- white, cream, grey, eggshell, blue, and oatmeal
  • Available in Sheets, Rolls, Pads, Spirals, and Blocks.
  • Woodfree bleached chemical pulp (what is this, even?  Is it a cellulose base that's been artifically modified to make it acid free?)
  • St Cuthbert's Mill also makes two other watercolor papers- Saunders Waterford and Milford, neither of which I have had the opportunity to review.

The tagline for St Cuthbert's Bockingford is "Quality at an Affordable Price"

The paper we're reviewing today is a block of Bockingford in White with the CP (cold press) finish.

If you enjoy beautiful watercolor, make sure you check out my watercolor comic, 7" Kara, now available as a webcomic!  Or purchase the first four chapters and a bonus comic here!

The Packaging

My Bockingford watercolor paper came shrink wrapped in plastic, which required a knife and +10 dex to open.

On the back was a sticker requesting that we promote their product for free and leave positive reviews on Facebook (kidding- it was just their Facebook info)

Once free of it's shrink wrapped prison, my Bockingford paper (I'd purchased a pad, not a block) was ready for use.

"Bockingford is a beautiful white English watercolor paper, traditionally made on a cylinder mould machine at St Cuthbert's Mill.  This is a high quality paper made using pure materials to archival standards.

It's attractive surface is created using natural woollen felts that give it a distinctive random texture.  Appreciated for its excellent colour lifting abilities.  This is an extremely forgiving watercolour paper valued by professional and amateur artists around the world.

Bockingford offers quality watercolour paper at an affordable price. "

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The Field Test

The Transfer Image

Image was sketched with Color Eno lead in Soft Blue.

6B Graphite was applied to the back of the image.

Image was taped down, then penciled with significant pressure to transfer the image to the watercolor paper below.

The Watercolor:

Paper was taped to my desktop.  I recommend removing your 'craft sheet' from your desktop first- you want to tape your paper to a secure surface.

For this field test, I wanted to do a style study of Takahashi Macoto, as I love his beautiful shoujo illustrations.

Finished Scan

The Verdict:

  • Decent amount of texture
  • Surface is visibly wet for a fair mount of time
  • This paper handles blending strangely- usually colors that can be softened with water still leave a fairly hard edge
  • Sedimenting colors look really strange and pebbly on this paper.
  • I used this paper for a Takahashi Macoto style test, so I may need to do more testing before I can give a verdict.
  • Colors were fairly vibrant
When testing this paper, I had expected something similar to Arches (soft, easy blends, subtle shading) and felt somewhat disappointed by how little texture is on the paper surface, especially compared to Winsor and Newton's own watercolor paper.  I'd like to revisit this paper and try a few other techniques with it, as perhaps this field test was not the best representation of what this paper is capable of.

A year ago, when Bockingford was harder to find, and more expensive on Amazon, I would say this is worth skipping, as there are other papers in the US which perform almost as well.  Now that Bockingford is more accessible, and given the fact that it's available in tinted sheets (something I must try soon!), my verdict is slightly altered- if you have the money, and are interested in trying out a new watercolor paper, give it a shot!

For more watercolor tutorials, and watercolor supply reviews, please check out my Watercolor Basics hubpage!

Outside Sources and Second Opinions