Tutorial: Prepare Watercolor Paper by Stretching

January 26, 2012

I have been working a lot lately with pen and ink and using them with tons of water.... later I realized I don't really know what I'm doing. So, I decided to found out how to do the stuff that Iv'e already been doing.

I initially started out just sketching something on paper and throwing down some ink on it afterwards. My work winds up very crappy and sloppy looking and the paper is contorted. There are techniques for this.

This video here is a great short clip that shows you how to prepare your watercolor paper for artwork. See, apparently you need to "stretch" the paper. This process means basically that the paper will warp and buckle if it's not properly prepared. The paper needs to be taped down flat and then brushed over with water to allow the fibers to stretch out so that they won't do it later with your art on top. Afterwards you will need to blow dry the paper so that it's not wet. This is a little odd to me. Why necessarily dry it if you're going to get it wet anyway. The only reason I can figure is that the fibers need to absorb the water and completely dry to be properly stretched and then water can be added with the paint. Not too sure.

The following video has a bit of a differen't technique. This one suggests soaking the paper in a sort of bin first for 5 to ten minutes. This seems wildly risky to me. As you might ruin the paper. But, hey, who am I? I'm learning from these guys. Anyway this one doesn't use a blow dryer. After he soaks the paper in the video he rolls the paper onto a board, tapes wet tape to it flat and allows it to air dry for 24 hours. Sounds like a really long time.

Anyway, I'll write more on this topic after I try a few these styles. I hope any of you reading this found it as useful as me. Good luck to any of you try the second method. I hope you don't ruin your paper.


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