A First Week of ‘Crappy Watercolours’

March 11, 2013

In a conversation last weekend, a local urban sketcher colleague and I lamented our lack of confidence and skill in the medium of watercolor. We came up with the idea of “crappy watercolors”: a sketchbook dedicated to nothing more than messing around with watercolor, aimed purely at learning about paint and brushwork, while being completely non-judgemental.

I’m putting this little scheme into action, working from newspaper photographs on the basis of simple, direct composition and with a limited colour palette.


This was the first, a warm-up done on location, imitating watercolour ‘painting’ with the use of masking tape around the limited area using watercolour. Very pale washes, exploiting the tone in the pencil drawing.


This second was done again in my 150gsm cartridge paper sketchbook, little more than postcard size. Unstretched paper cockled and masking tape tore the paper.


This third ‘crappy watercolour’, again in the 150gsm cartridge paper sketchbook (with consequential cockling and masking tape tearing) is a study in the two standard blues in the W&N watercolour fieldset, complemented with the yellow ochres and siennas therein.


This, the last for the week, was worked on loose paper instead of a sketchbook, Canson Montval 200gsm watercolour paper, with tearing from the masking tape and cockling. It was a study in red and I added some quinacrdione gold and permanent magenta, and a graphite pencil 4B overlay for some of the architectural and people detail. Donald Friend would have thrown in penwork. Without stretching the watercolour paper for the moment, I keep upping the grade of paper and the next step is to try some 300gsm.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: