Category: materials

WIP Drowning Panel EP1 – Quality of Watercolours (See link for Reviews)


More shading, washes, and layered colours. I’m not really happy with how the watercolour is interacting on the hand. My perfectionist, OCD inner asshole tells me, “Shoulda thought of that! So obvious blue is not going to sit well on skin tone and look like water.”

Well, fuck you. It’s actually not entirely true because the way watercolours interact heavily depends on their make up. The amount of binding agents, the type, whether it’s natural or synthetic pigment, how much and what pigment is used to make the colour, the quality of the materials, the amount of water… Technology is aiming to formulate more consistent, colour accurate, and lightfast paints, but each tube will always be different. If I used a different brand with a different formula, the end result and colour may be very different. I feel like I’m saying this as if “you all should know this”, but I only recently learned this myself after using watercolours for years. I was watching a Japanese watercolourist paint, and the way his paints were interacting was just baffling me. Apparently, I own very shitty (and cheap) watercolours and have been making-do with them.

Make a coffee, get comfortable, and check out the awesome in-depth resources found on!

How to use the Colour Wheel while using the Brush Tool in Photoshop

Something that’s been really frustrating me while trying to colour drawings in Photoshop is the colour picker. I couldn’t figure out how to get something more intuitive than picking colours out of libraries of swatches or manually opening up the colour picker and scrolling through the colours to maybe find one that will work.

I tried googling this, and I see that some people on actually believe it’s impossible to get a colour wheel to come up in Photoshop. I thought that’s ridiculous – almost every piece of software has this and Adobe knows artists use Photoshop for painting. Why would it leave out a really basic painting tool?

Anyway – I found this video and it’s crucial you watch it:


On Scene: Failure

I’ve been using the liquid latex mask like a junkie for almost everything. It seems like the perfect, brilliant solution to every masking problem…Just throw it on there! No problem!

I used this splatter ink effect for shading on this heavily stylized eye reflecting the aftermath of a crash in my comic, while giving a sense of the onlooking character’s shock. If I used regular ink shading, I feel this image would’ve been far too clean, and wouldn’t fit with the current style of my comic. I’ve always been aware of splatter effects, but I didn’t think of using them till I saw Shannon Wheeler use splatter to shade everything in a full-page comic panel in Too Much Coffee Man. (The hand-drawn version of the comic, not the digital…Mr. Wheeler, stop using digital, please.)

I have all the action shots of this because I anticipated it working, but let’s just sum up the failure in a few. This is an example of where using a latex mask, which is rubbery, is a horrible idea. I created a mask over the green/yellow iris with latex, splattered ink, and removed the mask with an eraser – typical process.


For one, I didn’t tilt up my drafting table, which is why most of the ink ended up on my white curtains. Don’t feel bad for me. Those were left-overs from the last tenant. This was situation of pure genius where I decided to wear my favourite white skirt, and yeah – that’s ruined.

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Review of St Cuthberts Mills: Saunders Waterford Series


What you see here is the same pencil drawing with masking liquid over the parts I want to leave white and then several layers of dry watercolour. The masked out areas are parts of the ground, the windows on the building in the background, reflective spots in the water, and the electricity shooting out of the car as it reacts with water. The electricity is a bit exaggerated, but hey – it’s drama! This panel should scream panic and disaster when it’s finished.

What watercolour paper is this?

9×12″ block-pad of St Cuthberts Mills: Saunders Waterford Series

Really nice paper given to me by one of my best friends and artistic colleagues for a birthday present. To me, her name is Natasha, but I think her pen name is Pal El and she illustrates comics for an online comic magazine called Premiere Pulp. I would like to be certain of these things, but she’s very secretive.

This image is 1:1 on this paper. It takes watercolour fairly well – I find it takes a while for it to sink, so you have to be more patient with manipulating colours. It’s good if you want smooth, even washes. I would rate how this paper handles wetness as Medium; when it is extremely wet, it does have some minor warpage.

The texture is very smooth. Because it comes in a block pad, you don’t need to pre-soak or stretch it, though I would recommend putting down a wash of water before starting anything to dissolve some of the glue. I believe this would improve the absorbency of pigments.

The front of this pad does say Aquarelles, which are watercolour pencils that take small amounts of water – so I will assume this is what this paper is designed for. Not for heavy-duty attacks like I tend to use. Like with the splash – I will put down lines of ‘dry’ pigment, and soak the whole area with water to encourage it to do what it must.

Here is an image of some of the abuse I put this paper through: