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Submitted on
May 5, 2009


56 (who?)

1. How long have you been using watercolors?
I started more actively as I entered high school around 2002.

2. What kind of paper do you use?
3 different ones: Classic watercolour paper 250g/m², Bockingford watercolour paper 300g/m² and Canson's Montval watercolour paper 300g/m², which I found from a discount.

3. Paper size?
Usually A4 (8.27 x 11.69 inches) or half smaller format A5, since they're so easy to file in that size.

4. By "aquarelles" do you mean colored pencils?
No, but fine watercolors. All the watercolors I use come as button-colors (or "cakes" as some call them).

5. What's the difference between fine watercolors and thicker watercolors?
Fine ones need more water and less color to look smooth and make wonderful washes, unlike with thicker ones you need to use more color and less water for it's different opaque. The thicker watercolors I use are called "peitevärit" in Finnish, but I don't know the correct translation for them in english. My painting gear:…

6. Where did you buy the colors?
From an art-supply store, since I couldn't find fine watercolors from bookstores.

7. What brand watercolors?
Schmincke Fine Water-Colours, and Van Gogh Pocket Box Original. I don't know what the thicker ones are. I buy them separately and they don't have any labels on them.

8. How do you mix the colors?
Firstly on my fine watercolor case, but most of them on paper. I wet the selected area before adding the color and let the colors run over each other before drying with a hairdryer. That way the blend into each other much smoother.
With thicker watercolors I mix on buttons and on paper.

9. How do you stretch the paper?
Just wet it from behind with a sponge or similar before stretching it with masking tape. Very basic thing my teacher taught me back in high school, but the tape only holds smaller works.

10. How do you apply the colors?
When it comes to fine watercolors, I always work with color-layers: at first I cover almost the entire paper with chosen background colors by wetting the paper and let the colors blend into eachother (white parts are covered with masking fluid before this). After this I keep adding the color to selected surfaces, like skin, objects, leaving the darkest parts for very last. This also prevents the colors from bleeding.
Step by step:…

11. What colors do you use for the skintones?
All primary colors, keep mixing till you find the one you like and let the colors blend. I add redder tones where the circulation is stronger and colder colors for shades.

12. What kind of brushes do you use?
Plain basic ones you get from bookstores, small ones for details.

13. What do you use for line-art?
Mostly pencils.
First I draw the sketch clean on a good-quality paper by using a light-table and strenghten the lines with tiny brushes while painting. I also used to use black ink and a hairline-pen. Remember NOT to press too hard when using pencils for the lineart, or it might smudge the colors. Else you should try a colored pencil instead.

14. Do you use masking fluid?
Yes, always when working with fine watercolors. The white paper gives the work such a wonderful contrast. Never use thick layers or cover large areas with the fluid, for it can tear the paper once it's dry. Rather use small portions, don't leave it on the paper for a very long time and once dried, gently rub it away.

15. What brand masking fluid?
Talens, but seriously the brand doesn't matter for they all dry up very quickly. You just have to constantly dip the tip into the fluid while smearing it on paper and wash the tip with water when the fluid starts to pile up. Never ever use a good brush to smear the fluid, for it'll destroy the brush for good!

16. Do you use colored inks?
Yes I do sometimes, Indian ink or colored inks by FW acrylic artists ink.

17. Do you use gouache?
Maybe? The thicker watercolors I use are cakes, not tube colors. There are too many opinions about the fact are they gouache or not. 9w9

18. What kind of a scanner do you use?
Basic Canon Pixma MP150, but I use the advantaged mode when scanning (nowadays in 400dpi). Finally I adjust the tones in photoshop by using "curves", so the work on screen would look closer to the original.

19. Would you make a watercolor-tutorial?
Uuh, no, for those take forever to put together if you're not a fast user with photoshop and still need to learn how to use a camera. T_______T
Some step by step pictures can be found from my sketchblog:

20. Contests?
Sorry, but I never have that much of an interest to participate in any contests for I 'd rather spend that extra time on my own projects.

If you have more questions about the subject, do let me know and I'll add it up. C:
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Add a Comment:
TheSlaveQueen Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013
Since you wont make a tutorial would you consider making a video of you painting?
Halogenhamster Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
This was very helpful! May I ask what size of brushes you use? I couldn't see it on the step-by-steps in your blog.
tir-ri Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012   Traditional Artist
Uhh gosh, most of the brushes I've had for so long that their size number is no longer visible. My favorite one for details however is a sharp-pointed little brush I got from the Van Gogh watercolor case, it has a number 3 marked on it. If the brush has a good sharp point, it doesn't have to be the smallest possible. :- )
Hanraven Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012
Hello there I'm an aspiring watercolor artist who has admired your work for a long time. I've always wondered what masking fluid you use, because your lines and whites are so crisp and lovely. Could I get the name of your masking fluid, the one I use is awful! Thank you so much, you are amazing <3
tir-ri Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012   Traditional Artist
It's written in the FAQ, Talens, and thank you. <3
shiroyuki-hime Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
When I use masquing fluid, can I paint over it after it has dries?? Thanks so much!
tir-ri Featured By Owner May 25, 2012   Traditional Artist
Only if you scrub it off first, since masking fluid isn't supposed to be left on the paper. :o
I've heard of a permanent masking fluid too, but unfortunately I have no experience of using it, so I'm not sure can one paint over it once it's dry.
shiroyuki-hime Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Okay. So did I understand right? After rubbing off the masking fluid, I can paint over it without worry?
ringlov Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2012  Student Filmographer
I'm so sorry to bother you, but do you maybe have any advice on choosing the material for the painting board? Do you think plywood is okay? I'm worried plywood would get damp and hurt the painting, but I don't know what other options I have :/
tir-ri Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012   Traditional Artist
I remember my art teacher saying the same thing about plywood, that the board would eventually suffer if it gets often damp. But I still use it, have been doing so for years with the very same board and it's still just fine. :- D
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