When we get a new set of paints, one of the first things we want to do is try them all out. It’s become quite the “thing” to “swatch out” your new box of paints in squares or rectangles to give you a record of what the colors look like, full strength and watered down.
Sometimes though you might want to do something more creative and less mind-numbing with your new kit. Enter the Doodle Circles.
I recently tried out my Kuretake Starry Colors in this way, and created a quick and easy design that makes a perfect card or little gift with no stress whatever.
There are so many variations on this theme of circle flowers and leaves you can never be at a loss for a new version. Just start, and the results will prove the point!
For these cards I used a sheet of paper about 8 x 10 inches or A4 for the Europeans. I chose a sheet of Etchr Cold Press in a block. I’ve put the link just below here.
Two other papers I’ve found on Amazon for the first time are Wanderings and Sax. The Wanderings is handmade, Indian style, so bound to be irregular and ethnic, and the Sax is 90lb cold press at a very good price. Both would make good greetings cards.
Another approach is to use a lighter paper for your painting and then glue it to a ready made card with envelope from Strathmore for example. This way you can risk less as if the painting goes wrong you haven’t wasted a card.
I really like this mixed media paper for the whimsical paintings I am doing at the moment and it is fine for light florals too. It’s very forgiving to watercolor and is a good surface for penwork. There are other mixed media papers too, and the Canson one is good.
If you decide to draw out the design first you can use a regular pencil or a watercolor pencil. There are so many options for watercolor pencils nowadays, but to my mind the traditional German pencils can’t be bettered. My choices are shown below. I use a Staedtler Karat Aquarell in black. You can buy them individually or if you’re looking for a complete set, they have a good one for less than $60. The advantage of sketching in watercolor pencil is that the lines will melt away to a certain extent. I quite like the lines to remain visible on my paintings, and watercolor pencil is less shiny than regular graphite so suits this technique well.
The brushes I used were a medium round, size 9, and a larger one, size 13 or so, for the background and larger parts of the painting. Depending on the size you design your painting, you might need a bigger or smaller brush.
Here are a few good options for brushes:
How to Paint the Relaxing Golden Doodles
Here are three more good choices for paper when you paint your picture.
And here are some options for inexpensive paints as a beginner.
And here are the shimmering metallic colors: