Tufted Squowl

“Tufted Squowl”
Watercolor and gouache.

Tufted Gryphmice

“Tufted Gryphmice”
9×6 inches, watercolor and gouache.

I have a Patreon!

It’s true!

This Patreon campaign has actually been live for a few months already, but rather than promoting it right away I spent that time making and posting content and learning the system. A few people even found it anyway despite my lack of advertising (thank you, you wonderfully eager early birds)! If you join in April, you’ll see several months’ worth of my first steps in the Patreon arena.

What kinds of behind-the-scenes work am I posting there? Extra sketchbook pages and time-lapse painting videos are the main current offerings. Now that the campaign is more officially live, I’m going to start offering a print discount code active the first week of each month.

I would love to hear suggestions for new reward tiers and content for the existing ones! I will not be engaging in anything legally dubious (raffles and contests for prizes, or physical rewards that I would be obligated to collect sales tax for, etc).

My twitch channel is going to see more activity this week! If the idea of watching me paint and draw while it’s happening appeals to you, please stop on by. I would love to see you there, and you can even subscribe for stream



I also have a Discord server open to the public for people who want to drop by and chat! It’s open to the public, so if you’re already using Discord consider this your invitation to say hi!

Original watercolor painting for auction!

The original watercolor painting “In Passing” is now up for bid in Changeling Artist Collective’s “Flora and Fauna” auction event. The event is open until noon on this Friday, February 17th. One bid has been placed already!

Bid on “In Passing” here: LINK

Or view the whole auction here: LINK

Giclée prints are also available through INPRNT.

Watercolor Materials for Beginners

Shortly after the holidays I was asked on tumblr about where to start buying painting supplies for beginners. This guide weighs price point and convenience heavily to minimize the work and stress of trying this medium.

Watercolor Paints:   I like to recommend Cotman watercolor sets for people who are just starting with the medium. They come in both dry pans (very portable and they tend to come with a decent small brush), and in tubes(great for being able to mix a large amount of a darkly colored wash, though you will need to buy a pallet if you get this version). The paints are inexpensive but very decent quality and you don’t have to worry about which colors to pick right off the bat.

Paint Shopping Tip:   If you are looking to match one color of paint in two different brands, look for the pigment code instead of the name. Different companies give different names to the same pigments, and use different pigments under the same name. In example, my W&N “French Ultramarine” and Holbein “Ultramarine Deep” both carry the code “PIGMENT: PB29” and are the same type of blue.

Paper:   My go-to is Strathmore cold press paper. It’s a good weight, and I like the texture/tooth on it. Perhaps most importantly, the surface quality has been very consistent from batch to batch for me. I have never had trouble with any water-based pigments bleeding into the paper fibers, and it stands up to a fair amount of abuse (though you will still want to be careful about erasing too much). I do not use any coated papers, like “vellum” or “mixed-media,” as the evenness of the coating will be inconsistent from piece to piece and always seems to resist (bead up) my washes in exactly the wrong place. I used to love it until had a bad batch of paper that cost me weeks of time to work around on a professional project. It was a nightmare. Never again!

Pens and ink:   I personally don’t use nib pens because my hand pressure is too heavy. The sharp tips catch on the textured papers I like to use and make a big splattered ugly-sobbing-worthy mess. I use felt tipped liners like Micron, and round synthetic watercolor brushes to do my inking. For brushed inks, I’ve found that acrylic-based bleed the least, because the acrylic doesn’t dissolve into the watercolor as easily as some other binding agents.

Inking tips to keep bleeding and smudging to a minimum:   Always give your ink drawing enough time to dry before you do anything else to it, including erasing pencil lines. To be safe with felt pens, let it be for five minutes. For ink, at least ten. When in doubt, wait a little longer. Avoid sharpies – they fade more quickly in the sun than other pigments and like other alcohol-based dye inks they will more easily bleed/bloom into the paper fibers.

Brushes:   I’m adding this one in because I feel that having a decent brush is key to controlling your watercolors. A 6 or 8 round synthetic sable brush is a great place to start. You can do many paintings with just that one brush. My favorite inexpensive brand is Princeton Art & Brush Co. I prefer their series with the red handles.

On Overloaded Brushes:   I think that this is one of the most common technical mistakes that beginners make. If you find that the paints feel a little too sloppy you may have overloaded your brush. Try letting of if the paint run back onto your pallet, and if they isn’t enough, blot out some of the extra on a folded paper towel. If there is so much paint in the brush that you can see it dripping out, it will be harder to control on fine detail work. I think that this is one of the most common technical mistakes that beginners make.

For when sloppy is what you really DO want:   While not strictly necessary, a large flat sable (1.5 inches or larger) or camelhair brush is great for laying in a large wet wash quickly. If you want to do larger work, it will save you time and frustration if you want to get the whole painting wet at the same time so that you can use salt, or do wet-on-wet blending techniques.

Thanks for reading!

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Website and illustrations © Emma Lazauski. For inquiries, contact emma@inklingart.com