Upon first sight of the new watercolour markers by Winsor and Newton I thought mmm, good sketching tool, but they are so much more than that.
They are a good strong rich watercolour paint, but with no mess. Just pop them in your bag with a single brush and you really have got everything you need for those trips out. I will definitely keep some in my handbag from now on!!
For in the studio they are certainly a good addition to any paint box and for that reason I decided to do a full blown painting using markers only to really put them through their paces.
In the first image you will see that I've done a very simple outline drawing of Cresswell Beach in Northumberland on 140lbs Winsor and Newton, not surface watercolour paper. I used my 3/4" flat Cotman brush and pre wet the whole of the sky area, then stroked over the larger end of the Phtalo Blue marker with a wet brush to load it with paint and filled the sky area in.
Now just like normal watercolours I washed and squeezed out my brush before sucking a few clouds out, simples!
Another added bonus to the markers is that you have a large and a small end so you can do broad strokes, or fine detail. They really did think of everything.
It's with the smaller end of the Raw Sienna marker that I filled in the left hand side of the buildings in image 2, followed by Raw Umber to the front of the buildings. This time I went directly onto the paper with the marker, then with my No8 Cotman brush stroked water into the colours to move it about a bit and soften it. It was a this point that I was surprised at how long I had before the paint became unworkable, plenty of time. For the roofs I scribbled on a little Phtalo Blue, followed by Burnt Sienna on top, then again merged the colours with a wet brush, nice effects!
Finally for the windows, again the blue and a touch of Paynes Grey on top, then merge.
For the distance areas I tried a different technique, scary but fun. I pre wet the area then went in with the marker directly onto the wet area to let all the colours merge. Didn't think a wet in wet approach would work so well with these, how wrong could I be, they really are fun. For the distance I stroked in some Raw Sienna, Hookers Green then blue and just let it all do its thing.
Time for the next big bit now, the sea. Different approach, this time I used my 3/4" flat brush again and pre wet the sea area, but this time stroked the brush over Phtalo Blue and Hookers Green. Mix the colours onto the same brush then fill in the sea area, making sure that I left a few bits of white paper showing for a few waves. I found this so effective that I didn't really need to adjust it, just let it dry then put a few darker strokes under some of the waves to give a bit of shadow.
I decided to see just how long I had and still be able to move the paint, so it was time for the grasses. I used the broad stroke of the markers directly onto the paper firstly scribbling on Hookers Green then Burnt Sienna then Raw Sienna, a little bit of Burnt Red then finally Phtalo Blue. This took about 5 minutes to get it all filled in. Moment of truth, with my 3/4" flat brush I wet all of this and merged the paint to create the various colours in the grass. Gobsmacked that this worked, but it did.
For the rocks I tried the credit card approach, but made sure that my Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Paynes Grey went on nice and wet by firstly pre wetting the paper then going onto the paper directly with the various markers. Scrape over with the credit card, hey presto, rocks!
I did mention earlier about thinking of them as a sketching tool. Well after proving them as a good medium for full sized paintings, I stuck them in my bag for my next trip to Paris with a group I was tutoring. And for this drawing I used a black pen for my outline and then simply filled in with markers. Interestingly I did a whole side of the street before I turned to the water and it still moved and softened beautifully. I don't think the waiter in the cafe was too pleased about the mess I left on his floor as I squeezed out my brushes, but I was rather pleased with the sketch. I was certainly very pleased with my new toys, a fitting addition to my paint box.