Discover the 5 Reasons why you need to Keep a Record of your Watercolor Paints

Aug 18 / HAN.A

Stocking a large number of paints can become tricky and create confusion if we don’t have a system in place.So whether you are a beginner or well accustomed to buying paints, it is useful to go through the process of swatching our paint colors. It is like creating a catalogue of the paints we have.

Watch the video below and discover the 5 reasons why you need to swatch your paints.

Write your awesome label here.
Video Transcript below

NO. 1 - Matching Colors

When you have a brand new tube (or pan) of paint, the best thing to do is to find out the exact color that comes out of it. This is very helpful in choosing the colors for a painting or enables color matching, for instance to a photograph, or simply a scenery or object in front of you.

NO. 2 - Understanding Color Values

The value (amount of lightness or darkness of a color) of watercolor paints varies depending on the amount of water added to the paint. As watercolor paint is transparent, each value will correspond to a different level of transparency. Including the different color values or levels of transparency, in your swatch will create a record of additional color properties that you can be used in your paintings. You can do that by placing some paint on a palette and adding a few drops of water at a time. Through this process, one color can be transformed into 5 or 6 different color values.

NO. 3 - Creating Harmonious Color Schemes

Some colors work together while others clash. While this comes down to understanding color theory, including which colors create a good match, color values, tones, tints and shades, and warm and cool colors, having them displayed visually helps the eye establish which colors are a good match so as to create a color scheme that is harmonious to the eye.

NO. 4 - Including Textures through Granulating Paints

Some paints have the ability to “granulate”. Paints are created from powdered paint pigments mixed with a binding medium (usually gum arabica). Some paints are created especially to granulate when pigments of different densities are added to the paint. When mixed with water, these pigments separate and settle apart from each other creating a unique texture. Creating a swatch provides a visual reference of the texture to enable planning a painting ahead of time.

NO. 5 - Identifying your Favorite Paint Colors and Easily Replacing them

Keeping a record of your paint colors, makes it easy for you to decide whether you like the color or not. And, when you run out of paint, you’ll know which exact one to get as a replacement. Bear in mind that paint colors bearing the same name differ across brands! Therefore keeping a record of the brand name and name of the paints you love will ensure that you always know which ones to get.

BONUS Advice - Labelling your swatches

When labelling your paint swatches, it is a good idea to include as much information as possible to help you select colors or replacing colors in the future.

Your labels should include:
  • The brand of paints
  • The name of the color
  • The pigments reference number that you can find on the tube/pan 

And other information you can add when creating the color values includes the number of drops of water added to create each alternative value of the swatch.
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