I decided to make paint swatches for each of my watercolour paints. I was interested to see their potential intensity as I like bright, strong colours. The swatches would be a helpful reference for me. This is how I made them:
- I cut out the swatches from my 300gsm (140lb) watercolour paper. They measure approximately 10.5cm x 7.5cm (3.5″ x 2.5″).
- I then went to the manufacturers’ websites and copy and pasted their technical and product descriptions into a Word document.
- I made sure to include the manufacturer’s abbreviated name in the technical description ie. DS for Daniel Smith, Sch for Schminke and AS for Art Spectrum.
- I printed out these descriptions and then cut them out and pasted them onto the swatch cards. The technical description is on the front and the product description on the back.
- Underneath the technical description I started painting with a juicy wash to show the mass tone (undiluted pigment of the colour) and then added more water as I went along to see more medium tints. I didn’t bother to fade out to very pale washes.
- I have plenty of room on the right hand corner of the swatch to punch a hole. The swatches can then all be held together with a large ring.
- I still have room on the swatch card to paint other smaller test samples of that colour; say for instance with a salt effect or showing the transparency over a black line etc.
Yes, initially this is a time consuming process but I think well worth the exercise. I got to know the colours better in their pure form and how they behaved over a larger area. And it will be a simple matter to add new swatches if I get extra colours.
I now have another useful reference that compliments the colour mixing chart I made previously.