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Surfaces for AQUARELLES

This section looks at the different surfaces available to Coloured Pencil users Generally any 300gsm hot pressed paper will give good results. papers can have cotton content or be cheaper and made entirely of wood pulp ( cellulose papers). Cotton papers respond differently to cellulose, but probably not a very noticeable difference unless you are a regular user of traditional watercolour. Hot Pressed papers ( HP ) are smoother and allow more detail Cold pressed papers ( CP - or ‘Not’ ) have more grain, give stronger colour from greater colour depth, but are still very useable provided you don’t need fine detail Rough papers are pretty much as you would expect and have few benefits for Pencil users. I can’t imagine that you will find any reason to work rough paper with coloured pencils ! Bristol Board is s smooth surfaced paper ( polished would be a good description ) - great for dry pencil fine detail. but I think of little advantage for watercolour pencils I recommend using 300gsm paper, as this will take water well without buckling from the water addition. 400 and 450 gsm papers are available, but tend to be rougher surfaced. Cellulose papers are quite adequate. You can spend a lot of money on top of the range papers and not see great improvement. It is the type of surface you need to look at ( what type of grain ) and the fact that the paper is manufactured for a water based media and has been sized with gelatine to help the picture form properly without the colour spreading or being absorbed. Cellulose papers like Bockingford and Clairfontaine Etival are lower cost but very stable, they have size within the paper as well as on the surface, so take correction reasonably well by lifting colour. I will eventually be doing tests to see how watercolour pencils perform on different paper surfaces as will require a different set of tests to those for wax pencils.  We have different requirements and different expectations of watercolour pencils (aquarelles). We can use the soluble pencils to make underpainting washes, to work dry colour on to the paper which is then moistened.   We may use them purely as dry pencils. We may need to be able to remove surplus colour from the paper - how much size has the manufacturer included in their paper formula?  Size can lock in the colour, but it also enables the wet media to stay where it is put. Does the colour lift easily and successfully?     When we work dry pencil over a pre-wet surface, how soft has the paper become?  The paper surface can lift and become damaged   How much does the paper distort from wetting ? Mostly when we are going to use a wet process on paper, it is advisable to stretch the paper first.  I don’t think I have the facility to stretch over a dozen papers for testing - but we will see ! I will be going through my paper stock looking out any papers that appear suitable for soluble pencil use.  As with the earlier wax and oil based pencil tests, the list of papers will NOT be comprehensive - simply a cross section of what I have.      Most of my papers are European manufactured but I do have some Strathmore ( USA ) and may possibly have some other hot pressed paper from overseas when I come to do the test. I will be using three brands of watercolour pencils and keeping to the same brands and colours throughout the tests. I have to work out a simple test pattern or image to replicate on a range of papers which also involves some lifting out of colour as the last stage of the test. To be fair, the same pencil choice needs to be used for all the tests and I think I will establish four colours using four different brands which are also different degrees of softness. Don’t expect much before the Spring of 2019, but we will see how we get on.
Latest update here is November 2018