Hello hello, everyone! It's Sarah!
We are SO excited to formally announce our latest designer product: the Mini Palette!
Let's take a moment to cover:
We couldn't open a launch without a big "thank you" to everyone who's followed us so far!
From its inception, the design (and redesign) process, the delays as we worked to get it absolutely perfect - y'all have been incredibly supportive.
Thank you to everyone who followed, shared the word, and chatted with us during the live launch. We sold over 500 Palettes in 12 hours. (I wanted to use the 😱 emoji here, but... I shouldn't be surprised by our amazing Art Fam!)
For the uninitiated, the Mini Palette is a travel-sized watercolourist's companion, to carry and store your favorite 37 colors in one tiny porcelain kit. The product was designed by world-class watercolorist Stephanie Law.
...But that's just the product blurb. Really, what IS it?
The tin includes a mini palette, a mixer dish, three cotton pads for a bit of optional padding between the palettes, and a watercolor chart. The chart is printed on watercolor paper (200g, cold press, pure cotton) for you to fill out with your favorite colors.
Stephanie designed the mini palette for use for travel, but she uses her palette every single day in her studio.
The palette was designed for watercolor, but acrylic, gouache, and miniature paints work just as well.
Porcelain turned out to be the perfect surface for a palette.
...Plus, it just looks really nice. 😉
When empty, the Mini Palette weighs in at about 250g.
(Your Mini Palette's final weight will vary, depending on how much paint you put in there - but Stephanie's palette, after loading every well to the brim with paint, is still lighter than an iPhone!)
The 37 wells are 6mm deep. Everyone is different and it may not seem like a lot of paint - but they last Stephanie more than an entire month. (And she's painting with them every single day!)
To celebrate the launch, we hosted a Mini Palette giveaway on Facebook and Instagram, and... as usual, got a big response! Thank you to everyone who participated.
After the random drawing, our winners are...
And for Instagram...
Thank you so much, you two! We hope you love your Mini Palettes!
During the live session, we had the opportunity to ask Stephanie a few questions about her incredible watercolor process - and the live chat pitched in some fantastic questions of their own!
[ Stephanie's video on pans, tubes, and more. ]
When you buy paints, you have the option to buy pre-made pan sets, or you can buy tubes of your own custom selected colors.
Pans are a common choice for beginners just breaking into watercolors - if you buy a pre-made set, you don't have to think about which colors you really need. The company selects the palette for you. Low quality pan manufacturers can take advantage of beginners, and sell lesser quality paints in pan sets.
I like tubes because they're much more versatile. You can squeeze them into your mixer dish and use them directly like that - or, more commonly, you use tubes to make your own custom set of pans.
You choose individual tube colors, squeeze all your colors into empty pans (or your own Mini Palette!) and let them fully dry. Then you have, essentially, your own custom set of pans.
Letting tube paint dry in the palette doesn't harm or alter the paints in any way. You just reactivate with a little bit of water, and paint as normal.
It's a little more work to pick tubes, but they last longer, end up being cheaper, and it's easier to get better quality from tubes than from pans."
The quality of the paint matters a HUGE amount.
If you're serious about using watercolors, it's worthwhile to go for the professional quality paints. The pigment will be much more intense, the lightfastness will help preserve your work, and you'll have a better experience overall.
Low quality paints tend to look really washed out, and look VERY different wet to dry - it'll make you end up hating watercolor. So don't get low quality paints!
[ Check out Stephanie's video on choosing a colors to work from! ]
Generally, you want to hit the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow); then add some dark neutral tones, like grey or burnt umber. From there you can start filling out your own preferences.
If you're a beginner, here's my preferred list of colors!
Most watercolor tubes come in 15ml or 5ml sizes. I usually get 15ml - if you're unsure about a color, or you're just getting started, you might want to get a 5ml.
Paper is another thing that makes a HUGE difference in your painting. Cheap paper will peel, and buckle, and ruin your experience.
The paper really effects how the wash sits on the surface. Depending on how the pigment sits or sinks into the fibers, the color ends up more vibrant or more dull.
Good paper also enables techniques that simply don't work on subpar paper - like lifting and layering.
Lifting - Where you take a stiff bristled brush and rub lightly on the surface to reveal the white paper again. This is a way to go back into whites, but it's a very diffuse kind of look.
Layering - I continually use layers of paint to build up the intensity of color, and reflecting light that you can see through the paint. If I don't have paper that can withstand lots of washes, the paper starts peeling or fibers start to come loose... and that's no fun.
I use Winsor & Newton - which are expensive - but they're a whole lot cheaper than buying canvas and oil paints!
I love them because they hold a lot of liquid, and the bounce and spring of the bristles is really nice. You want something that doesn't just flop - unless you're doing really large big washes, in which case soft brushes are good for that. Otherwise, you want something with spring, but something that comes to a really fine point when it's wet.
Make sure you have a good brush to use, but cheap little brushes can be useful as well. I use cheap ones when I'm using dry brush techniques that will damage my brush, and I don't want to do that to my nice expensive brushes.
I have a wide array of expensive or not expensive - but I know when to use the quality brushes, and when to switch off.
And thank YOU, everyone, for your continued support of Etchr, and of the Mini Palette!
Stephanie was incredibly generous with her straightforward watercolor advice.
Do you have your own recommendations for brushes, paper, and paint? We want to hear them! Keep the conversation going in the comments section!