Custom Watercolor Block Tutorial | Gina Furnari | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. WatercolorBlock Intro

    • 2. WatercolorBlock Tutorial Materials

    • 3. WatercolorBlock makingtheblock

    • 4. WatercolorBlock Cover

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About This Class

Watercolor blocks—stretched sheets of artist quality paper in a convenient stack—are a valuable piece of a painter's toolkit. In this class I will walk you through the techniques and materials I use to produce them in my studio. 

Why you want one:

Making art is a bit like cooking, it's always great to get your prep work out of the way first so you can create freely. With a block there's no need to stretch each individual sheet of paper before you can get to work, the pages are all ready for you to start creating.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to assemble the block
  • What materials are best to use and where to buy them

What you need: 

  • 140lb+ Wet Media 
  • Paper (I used Arches cold press) 
  • Book Board
  • PVA glue
  • Cover stock
  • Steel ruler
  • Pencil
  • Bone folder
  • Rotary/Xacto blade
  • Artist tape
  • 2 Wood Boards 
  • 4 Clamps
  • Cutting mat

Please download this pdf for a full and detailed list of the tools & materials needed.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Gina Furnari

Artist, Designer, and Founder of Arty Sketchbooks


Gina is an artist and freelance designer living and working in NJ. She holds a BFA in painting and art history from The Hartford Art School and has been artist in residence at ListH?s in ?lafsfj?r?ur, Iceland and Makeshift Society Brooklyn.

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1. WatercolorBlock Intro: in this class. I'm going to show you how to make a customized water color. Look, if you're not already familiar, a water color block is a stack artist quality paper that has been glued on all four sides. You can see here that just act almost like a painting stretcher so you don't have to worry about anything revealing warping as the people drive. Since you're using a wet material on um, driving paper as paper takes in water, it's going to watch a curl and wrinkle. Here is a sheet of paper that there's loose when I painted on it wasn't down or could in any way. This sheet here came out of our roadblock. As you can see from the back, it's nice and flat, really straight Reason why you want to make your own is partially because of the cost. Thes can be very expensive that you buy them in the store. A block from this size would cost 10 and $16. On the larger the blocks get, they go up to about $80. Additionally, you can customize them with the type of paper that you put into your blood. So in a store they mostly sell things make either hot, cold or rough textured watercolor paper. If you're producing the blocks in your home studio, then you're going to be able Teoh Use paper that's especially made for acrylics or oil paints or use finger watercolor paper, something that hasn't tend to it. The decision is really up to you. This class is for artists at any level. I'm going to walk through the materials and techniques that I used to produce them in my studio. 2. WatercolorBlock Tutorial Materials: Okay, guys, for this class, you're going to need 140 weight or heavier watercolor paper. I used arches. Cold press. You're also going to need a book board, PBA glue and cover stock. When I say that you need something that's acid free or archival, it means that the material will last a really long time. Um, usually almost up to 100 years or more without becoming brittle and yellowing and falling apart and making artwork that you created age and kind of crumble. You're also going to need a few tools, including a steel ruler, preferably with a cork base, a pencil, a bone folder, rotary or Exacto blade artist tape, which is a low tack tape and will allow you to put it over the piece of paper and cardboard without tearing or ripping the sheets below. Do wooden boards I used to small cutting boards, four clamps and a cutting that 3. WatercolorBlock makingtheblock: Okay, so I'm going to start this process by tearing down my paper. The reason I like to tear the paper rather than cut it is that I want the long fibres that make up each sheet to stick out a little bit and give the blue something to kind of grab on to. For this process. I'm using a bone folder and simply pulling the paper and half increasing it and then tearing it down the crease. If you have a tear bar, you can also use that. Okay, so then we're going to cut down the book board to be the same size as the individual sheets of watercolor paper, - and then we're going to stack them on top of one another, kind of give them a little bit of a jostle, make sure everything is in mind, and then lay it on top of the wouldn't cutting boards that we're using as our makeshift press. I want the two edges of the block to overhang the wood by just enough for me to glue them without gluing them to the wooden block. Um, for this process, I've also left an extra sheet of paper on top of my stack that has the watermark in it. Because this way, if I drip anything, I could just cut that top sheet away. I'm taking my clamps, and I'm simply applying pressure to the board. Um, here, it's just most important that you leave yourself room to glues. You don't want to cover up the sides of the paper that you want to be able to reach. When you're gluing, it's really important to take your time and let the glue seep into all the crevices between the sheets of paper. I'm just going in a line first and then kind of gently moving it into place where I want to be. You want a good amount of glue? Um, it is very liquidy when you're applying it, so just move really slowly and then kind of work it into the crevices. You're going to want to let this dry for at least 90 minutes and until the glue has turned transparent. This is because you're essentially binding each side individually, and you don't want to ruined the work that you've done on a previous side. As you rotate the block in the press to find the next edge. - Next we're going to tape and glue the final side. So, as you can tell, we've left one side unglued. We're going to take about two inches of tape of the areas tape and apply it right to the middle of the board and full it over so that it covers up just a two inch section here of the edge. This is because for a watercolor block to work, you need enough room to be able to get a palette knife in between your sheets so you can cut away introspective sheet as you're done using it. Um, so the sexually important because you don't want to accidentally blue your edge and have it sealed completely on all four sides. You really need that two inch gap. All right, So as you can see, this is now a nice year. Translucent coating. Um, you can still see the pages below, but there's a nice thick layer of blue. There 4. WatercolorBlock Cover: Okay, so now we're going to add the cover. The first step here is to cut the cover stock to size. You want to have one edge, be completely flush with your block, and then you're going to leave one side extended so that you get enough paper left over to fold it over your block. Now, the rest of this tab is really important. We're going to use that to fold over the block, um, and glued to the book board on the back. So right now, I'm just going to measure the height of the watercolor block. And instead of making a cut hair, we're just going to be good, Crease. So using your bone folder and your ruler line everything up and make a good strong crease with your bone folder, it'll take a few passes here in creating the fold and using my ruler my bone folder, just to make sure that it's really straight. The next step is to measure the depth of your watercolor block because the cover has to fold over the block and onto the back. Um, so you're just gonna create a marking indicate how did the block is and then repeat the last process. So on this new line, we're going to use the ruler and Bullet folder to create increase. And again, just make sure that you folded it over along the ruler. So it's a nice straight edge. Okay, so now we've got cover all set and was going to put it on top of block to make sure it's all lining up properly. Um, and that once it's glued, will sit nicely. Would you recommend getting a piece of paper that you can use to glue on top of See you don't get your board covered in glue. You don't want to play a decent amount of glue, but not so much that you're flooding the page. You really just want to create a nice, tacky, even surface. So here I'm just dotting the brush and kind of making sure that there's an even area blue no gloves anywhere. It's really important here to make sure that you don't put glue in that creased gap that we created earlier, because the cover really needs to open flat. So there's gonna line everything up and very carefully fold the book cover over, and then I'm just going to go in with the bone holder and make sure that it's on the line that it needs to be on And, um, press the covering police really gently but firmly. You want to create any terrorist, so you're gonna all right, Make sure they're no bubbles. I just checked that. There's no glue in the crease there, and the last step is just to put this back between those two boards and press it overnight .