Nov 22, 2010

Sharing is caring: Watercolors Swatches.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I wanted to share the watercolor swatches I did on the weekend. As you know I want to understand my watercolors, their pigment and the different techniques and explore color theory as well. I feel it would help my artwork more and be able to embrace the most of what watercolors offer. If you ever have an artist block or are just plain bored, this is a great way to gain back inspiration, and is actually quite therapeutic. Anyway enough talking here are my swatches! :)

The spaces are for Dioxizine Violet, Sienna Brown and Cobalt Blue


I came across this amazing website called "Handprint" by Bruce MacEvoy where it covers everything you need to know about watercolors from paper to pigment to techniques to history and so on. IT'S A MUST READ AND SEE really recommend it, is going to blow you away. I'm mostly focusing on just pigment and color theory. For the swatches I used Windsor and Newton Cotman watercolors. Now I did not just did color swatches, I included the following from top to bottom:

  • Name of paint + Color Code Index (found at the back of the watercolor tube under pigment)
  • Color of paint by itself
  • Line of pencil on top of watercolor
  • Line of pencil under the watercolor
  • Lifting technique test 
  • Back run technique test
  • Tinting ( watercolor plus White)
  • Wet on wet technique.
To read more about it go HERE

Quick interesting fact I learned, what we actually pay when buying the watercolor is the pigment, not all watercolor have the actual pigment specially the ones that have the word "hue" on their label that means the pigment has been replaced by a less expensive alternative( there are actually 4 kinds of pigments Natural inorganic, natural organic, synthetic inorganic & synthetic organic). One way to know the value of the paint you are paying specially if you have Windsor and newton is by looking at the series number (labels do have so much information, I had no idea!), in front of the watercolor Cotman tube you'll see something that says series 1 ( they have from series 1 to 6) the bigger the series the more expensive the pigment is, windsor and newton has a chart about it for the Artist and Cotman watercolors. The Cotman watercolor chart is HERE.

This I feel applies to all student watercolors, I'm not saying they are bad quality, I think it means that they would fade faster than an artist watercolor like Artist windsor and newton watercolors, also the Artists watercolors have more saturation to their colors so appear more vividly. For now my budget can only afford the Cotman windsor and newton watercolors and I'm quite happy and it has so many colors I love, but I'm looking forward to the day I switch to the Artist watercolors. :)

Wanted to share what I learned but don't just take my word for it. I know I still have to do a lot of reading, and re-reading, because is a lot of information to take,  but is much fun. I'm using the following sites to learn about my watercolors. If you know of any other site, do let me know :)

Have a good day!

PS:Here is a close up on two of the swatches to see what I wrote on top.


  1. Thanks for sharing,Romina! I need these~:)

  2. You are very welcome sunny :)
    That's why I love to share my findings :)

  3. Thanks for the swatches! Any chance we could see a larger-resolution version? I can't read your labels, unfortunately :(

  4. Hi!

    I just uploaded a close up of two of the swatches.
    Basically The labels are the name of the watercolor the company gives to the watercolor (I use Windsor and newton Cotman Watercolors). Below the Name I write down the Color Index name, usually located in the back of the tube under Pigment. It breaks down to :
    If the paint is yellow there will be a "Y"=yellow
    then a number.

    Hope this helps :)