Pacific Pup: The California Coast According to Annette


The beginning of any piece of artwork usually starts with a basic backbone: the paints and the paper. At home, I’m reckless: tubes of paint are strewn about, all different kinds of paper stacked on my drawing table at arm’s length. These luxuries don’t translate to field sketching, and unfortunately the dreaded choice of materials to take must be made. It takes some time to figure out what works best for you individually, involving a little bit (or a lot) of experimenting.

For paper, I like to take a watercolor sketchbook with a spiral binding and a hard canvas cover. Spiral bindings are great because you can usually remove them without too much trouble, and refill the pages with paper you like, or even different colored paper (one of my favorite things to do). The size that works best for me is 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide. Some people really enjoy smaller, 4 x 6 inch watercolor notebooks, but I like to work a little bigger. Others really like the 8Β½ x 11 inch size, which is just a tad too big for my taste. As for paints, I use watercolors in the field, mostly because they are the easiest to deal with. At home I like using opaque paints better, but I haven’t found a good way to carry them around with me (any ideas?).
When it comes to watercolors, it pays off to choose high-quality brands like Daniel Smith or Windsor Newton (Windsor Newton also has less expensive, student-grade paints, which aren’t bad to experiment with at all). I like buying tubes of paint rather than dried cakes in pans, because they last much longer and are usually of higher quality. I have a small plastic watercolor palette with fifteen or twenty compartments for paint. I choose which colors to fill the palette with, wait a couple hours for them to dry, and I’m on my way!
Choosing paper and paint is a personal choice that reveals a lot about your own style, and it helps to take time to experiment (which is always fun!). If I’ve learned anything, it is that less is more, and more expensive doesn’t always mean “better.” It’s all about what works for you!
See you at the beach!
Annette Filice
(Scientific Illustrator Intern)

Sketch Notes:
Paints and Paper
Some people really enjoy using small Moleskine notebooks with watercolor paper and a binding that is well sewn. These are very well made, but I like to work a little bigger. My favorite size to work in 6in X 9in. Spiral bound books are fun to refill with your favorite kind of paper. Buying high-quality watercolors may seem like an investment at first. But, they last for years, and can achieve brilliant colors in your work.
Check out the clue for the next sketch!


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