Continuing on my topic of how I create my elemental shapes with crisp, clean lines…
I’ve experimented alot with different tools and materials over the last 2 years to determine what works the best. The two keys for me are paper and brushes.
I almost exclusively use Hot Pressed watercolor paper, which has a very smooth, even surface compared to Cold Pressed paper, which is deeply textured and is the paper of choice for most traditional watercolor painters. The smooth surface of the hot pressed paper allows my elemental shape to set very crisp, defined edges – I think surface tension helps and I posted a bit about that here. Most of the paper that I use, whether full sheets (22 x 30″) or rolls (51″ x 33′) is Fabriano Artistico Extra White. I sometimes also use Lanaquarelle, but really prefer Italian-made paper. I use both 140 lb. and 300 lb. but find that the weight of the 300 lb. paper provides the most stable foundation for a crisp elemental shape.
Brushes are the other tool that I’ve experimented alot with over the years. I’ve found a few flat/wash brushes to be especially good for creating crisp edges – the Winsor & Newton Sceptre II Gold flat (2″) is one of the best. I also use Dick Blick Golden Taklon flat brushes (3/4″ and 1″) to paint most of my elementals – they are consistent and inexpensive!
Several of my well-used flat brushes, key for painting crisp elemental shapes!