Figuring Out My Palette

Figuring Out My Palette - student project

March 3, 2017

Figuring Out My Palette - image 1 - student project

Oh my gosh, it's been awhile. I have been dying to paint again, but I have been nursing an injured arm. I have tendonitis, but luckily, it finally appears to be on the mend! I decided to paint swatches from my Schmincke watercolor set. Unfortunately, I didn't order my paints correctly -- ideally, I would have liked the yellows to be at the start, then reds, then blues and greens, but oh well. It was a fun exercise to do. It gave me a good idea also of what colors I would like to have in tubes, so I have bought several of those too. Also recorded the rest of my random tube colors that were dried up... I had to cut them open to use. Trying to organize all my paints. So many have dried up because I haven't been painting in so long.

Figuring Out My Palette - image 2 - student project

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Some time in February... ?

Just started this class, and I'm really enjoying the videos. I'm also self taught when it comes to watercolors and I've taken them up several times over the years. A couple of years ago my husband bought me a fantastic set of Schmincke  watercolors. It made me switch from all acrylics to watercolors and revolutionized my work style. Then I started doing daily watercolor sketches of scenes from my neighborhood. I got a job based on these to illustrate a children's book. But I've never illustrated a book using traditional watercolor techniques (usually I combine it with digital manipulation) the way I do my daily sketches. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to do the color. 

The exercise of creating a swatch color palette to test my colors is a basic one, but I had never actually gone through the motions of doing one until now!! I could kick myself. So I'm really thankful for this class for inspiring me to do so. Here are my preliminary swatches. I'm thinking my tube paints look richer on the paper -- maybe it's not obvious here. So I'm wondering if I should invest in getting more tubes. They are so expensive though! I always end up with dried up tubes also, which drives me crazy. I'm wondering if there is a solution. I have this problem with gouache as well.

Figuring Out My Palette - image 3 - student project

I think my Maganese Violet and Magenta are reversed -- but I'm going by the way they are labeled in my set. Pehaps they were mislabeled! 

Here is another version with more water, using the opacity test:

Figuring Out My Palette - image 4 - student project

Looking forward to doing a color chart!

Melissa Iwai
Children's Book Illustrator and Author
Teacher