I am a fashion illustrator who loves color and fluidity. However, I don't like to keep applying layers to get a vibrant consistency on my paintings. Watercolor is a medium that's known for being very light and soft, but over the years, I've found paints that help to achieve that deep color with just a few brush strokes.

1. Dr. Ph. Martins India Ink This ink is very good for creating vibrant watercolor illustrations. I usually put water on the paper first and use the brush to drop this ink on the water. Then I allow it to flow where it wants. Its also great on semi wet paper for creating small details with a watercolor effect. They also come in mini sizes which I just pop in my carry on when I travel. 

2. Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache Gouache has a very similar aesthetics to watercolor. I love that you can leave a bit of gouache in a paint palette and wake it up by adding a little water to it later. It doesn't dry out like ink, so you get more for your money. Sometimes, I mix gouache with acrylic paint and a drop of ink to get a deeper color and a thicker affect with the brush.

3. Derwent Watercolor Pencils: These pencils are nice to outline a painting even if it's just a detail. I like my paintings to be very fluid, so adding a little water to the pencil line gives it a nice touch and it's easy to blend with the paint strokes. They are light, so I like to use them when drawing details on fashion designs such as buttons or stitches versus using them on larger paintings.

4. Liquitex Professional Acrylic Artist Color I don't use acrylics a lot, but when I do I like to use Liquitex or Golden Acrylic Paint. If it's used with the right brush strokes, it's possible to make these paints look like watercolors. I like to use these for large paintings with big brushes, so that you can see the details from a distance.

5. Winsor and Newton Cotman Watercolor Box I saved the best for last. I use this Box set of paints almost every time I draw. I have a travel size for painting at exhibitions or fashion shows as well as the larger size. I purchased both sizes about 4 years ago, and it still gives me a beautiful finishing of vibrant colors. It's also very minimal to maintain. The colors are solid blocks, so there's no cleaning up or washing out. 

I hope that you will try some of these products and brands to create beautiful fashion illustrations or watercolor paintings. What are some of your favorite paints for watercolor?

Kristen KeysComment