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Watercolour, Acrylic, Ink and Gouache. My Review Of Some Of My Favourite Mediums

Updated: Dec 28, 2020



So far in my journey as an artist, I have experimented with many traditional mediums. When I was young, I began with pencil, crayon and coloured pens and gradually started to try out new materials including oil paints, pro markers, biro, fine liners, charcoal, I even once created a painting with nail varnish! But in this article, I will be giving a small review of the 4 mediums I use currently and speaking briefly about things I would like to spend more time experimenting with in the future. Hopefully this will help you to decide if you would like to explore some of these mediums in your artwork.

1. Watercolour

Watercolours are really great to work with because of their versatility. Watercolours can be built up with many thin layers to create vibrant colour blends, or you can use larger quantities on your brush to lay down thicker blocks of colour. They can be bought in a powder, tube or solid block form (pans). Depending on the type of watercolour you decide to use, you should be aware of their differences when working with them and choosing the application.


Pan Sets


Pan sets are a good option if you want to try out watercolours and are on a bit of a budget. You can pick up a set from Amazon for around £11. Just be aware that these watercolours are much harder to mix, which means your pallet of colours is quite limited. These types of paints also tend to be less vibrant in thier finishes. It is possible to achieve a more vibrant effect with these paints but you will need to use a lot more paint and less water.


Tubed


In my experience, the colours of the tube paints tend to be more vibrant and of a higher quality. They blend really beautifully and can be used to block in thick solid colour and details, or, you can create quite abstract colour washes. With tubes, it’ very easy to control the amount of paint used (a little goes a long way). Furthermore, they mix nicely, which really opens up the possible colour pallet of your painting.


Tubed paints are more expensive than the Pan options but the price (in my humble opinion) is worth it for the higher quality finish they give your artwork.

Powder


Powder is very similar to the tubes in that the results you get from it are very vibrant and high quality. Again, a wide range of techniques can be used to achieve great results with these types of paints too. There is a bit of trial and error to get used to the quantities of paint powder you need for your applications but by adding varying amounts of water, you can really create some beautiful ranges in saturation. Mixing colours is a little bit of a learning curve with the powders as you need to mix them once they have been dissolved with water.

These paints are really fun to use but, they’re so similar to the tubes that I feel if you’re willing to spend a little more money on a good set of watercolours, getting the tubed watercolours would still be a better investment.


When I use watercolours, I really enjoy creating light colour washes in the background, roughing out some shapes but also allowing for a bit of randomness, then I like to layer the piece with expressive brush marks and splatters. I particularly like a technique where You place watery droplets of colour onto the page then abruptly blow the droplet, creating a very expressive splashed-on effect. Once the background is creating sufficient depth, I’ll go back in wi