Strathmore Watercolor Paper Comparison, Amateur Fashion Models, and Yellow Ochre.
Today’s /r/sketchdaily theme was a collaboration with /r/malefashionadvice where their subscribers posted pictures of themselves in outfits they liked and the SKD guys drew them (coincidentally, they nominated powersimon the king of all things fashionable, I think).
I took the opportunity to compare some different watercolor papers I’ve had sitting around for a while. The first, that guy with the glasses, was done on Strathmore 200 Series Cold Press Paper (white cover - labelled “Good”). The second, that guy with the shades at the beach, was done on Strathmore 300 Series Cold Press Paper (yellow cover - labelled “Better”). The third, that as-yet-incomplete guy leaning against a door jamb, was done on Strathmore 400 Series Cold Press Paper (brown cover - labelled “Best”).
Someone (maybe jenthetracy) told me once that the quality of watercolor paper tends to matter more than the quality of the paint or brushes. I’m paraphrasing, or could be misremembering what I was told, but it kind of tends to feel that way to me. I’m happy with aspects of each of the above paintings, but like where the third one was headed more than the other two.
Some quick notes:
Strathmore 100 Series:
Paper felt very thin. Flat wash around subjects head looks uneven after it dried. Scans pretty true to original painting. Never really got comfortable while painting this one. Seems like I couldn’t paint a straight line to save my life (see the white lines on the denim jacket).
Strathmore 200 Series:
Texture of the paper felt the roughest - almost like cloth. Pretty hefty paper. I was pretty happy with how this paper felt while painting. For some reason the scan looked way different than the original painting - texture was very pronounced.
Strathmore 300 Series:
Pretty much what I’m used to as far as watercolor paper. For some reason, every page in the pad was glued together on all four sides - performed a little surgery with my pocket knife before getting started.
I considered limiting myself to the exact same pallet in each painting so that I could draw a more accurate conclusion about the different papers, but it probably wouldn’t have worked very well given the differences in subject matter. Each one of the above paintings does have areas of the same yellow ochre, though (background on the first, foreground on the second, pants in the third). I can’t promise that my scanner settings were the same for all three paintings, but you can compare essentially the same paint across three kinds of paper if that helps.
I was on the second painting before I realized how much difficulty I was having with skin tones. Why? I don’t know - maybe because all of these guys are a different ethnicity than the subject matter of most of my paintings. I ought to try to broaden that out in the future.
So did the kind of paper make any difference? Yeah.. I suppose it did (but am open to other interpretations). Unless there’s a dramatic difference in price, I’d probably pass on the 100 series if the others were available.