Ever thought of bringing your watercolor palette when you go out but chose not to because of its size? Or there's just too much colors that you would not use anyway? To visit a new place is thrilling, but to be able to paint or at least sketch the scenery on your journal is more satisfying. There are many readymade watercolor palettes on the market today, but if you want to save money as well as personalize the colors, you can make your own palette!
Here are a few tips on how you can customize your palettes:
Be acquainted with the watercolors you want to work with since some tube watercolors do not re-wet well. Read this comprehensive post to know more about watercolors such as the ingredients of the paints, quality, permanence, transparency, staining, etc.
Your pigments doesn't necessarily have to come in just one brand. I usually mix and match paint brands in one palette depending on what I need. (Anina)
2. Choose your colors.
A single tube of good quality paint, more often than not, is expensive so majority of us cannot buy all colors even if we want to. Don’t fret because there is no right or wrong way of selecting the colors for your palette. You just need a basic color palette to start off then the rest boils down to your personal preference. There is a wide variety of colors to choose from and their characteristics differ by brand. Eventually, you will figure out what works for you. In principle, one can produce each color by simply combining the primary colors which are red, yellow, and blue, but noted that single pigment colors are more vibrant than the mixed colors that tend to be dull and lifeless.
In my case, I have different palettes for different moods / color schemes. I have a palette that has dull/muted colors, flora/tropic colors, basic colors, architecture colors, etc. Depends on the theme, really. (Anina)
3. Choose your pans and container.
So what are pans? Pans are the small plastic containers which hold the tube paints. There are empty full and half-pans available in the market nowadays. Choose your container—can be plastic or aluminium—that will serve as the vessel of the pans. It is more convenient if there will be a space for other materials like waterbrush, pencil, or even paper towels. Although pans and container are sold separately, it will also be an advantage to pick items that go well with each other so that rearranging, cleaning, and refilling them would be easy. In addition, label the pans with the color name or color number for refilling purposes.
Cheap tips: Convert an old eye shadow palette into a watercolor travel palette. Just scrape off the eye shadow then clean it, or spray-paint it with white.
You can also use old tin cans, or you can use the 12-half pan set, remove the center metal and use sticky tac to hold the half pans in place. In this way, you can maximize the space of the tin case. My old Sennelier 12-half pan case now fits 21 half pans! (Anina)
4. Filling in.
The following is an interesting tip by Michelle Wooderson: pressing in the paints so that when you add water to moisten them, the water would not seep over the sides.
“To do this you let the paints dry until a little film forms over the paint, but don't let them dry completely. Maybe a few hours for this part. Then I just had a glass of water and some paper towels handy and dipped my pinky fingertip into the water, then pressed it into the filled paint pan. The water helps the paint not stick to your finger so much. Clean between paints and repeat the process.”
Fill the pans, do the tip above, and just let everything air-dry for a day or two on a safe and flat surface. Make sure to secure all pans to the container to prevent them from falling out.
I don't usually fill the whole pan with paint especially since I make different palettes at the same time. If you are using an artist grade paint, you don't really need a lot in a pan since they're really pigmented anyway and one dot will go a long way. (Anina)
5. Finishing touches
Paper towels or rag are a necessity when using watercolor. It would be better if a piece or two of paper towels can be placed on top of the palette. Or follow this tip: take out one of the pan slots then put in a small sponge.
It's also nice to keep a spray bottle handy to reactivate pigments as needed. (Anina)
Lastly, it is sometimes hard to tell what the actual hue of the paint will be once it is used. Creating a tiny swatch or cheat sheet on a watercolor paper will be helpful. It can be attached to the container’s lid or it can also serve as the divider between the paper towels and the watercolor.
WHERE TO BUY:
Here are some stores where I get my paint supplies both locally and internationally:
Empty Pans & Paints - www.dickblick.com
Half Pans / Full Pans - @halfpanph
Sticky tac - Local bookstores or hardware
WC Paint (Shin Han, Sennelier, Holbein) - www.artwhale.ph
*Written by Maricar Valdez and Anina Rubio*