Did you know that watercolor is actually created with the same pigments has any other mediums. What varies you may say ?
The binder !
As we know, pigments are what provides the color. In watercolor, the ground pigments are the same as those used for other applications, such as printing inks, cosmetics, and textiles. The proportion of pigments in paint, relative to other ingredients, can vary widely — from under 10% to over 50%. In commercially made watercolor paints, the binder is either natural gum Arabic or synthetic glycol. This is what holds the pigment in suspension.
The binder also allows the pigment to adhere to the support (e.g. paper) once it is applied. Additives, such as plasticizers (e.g. glycerin) and humectants (e.g. honey or corn syrup), are mixed in to alter various characteristics of the watercolors, such as viscosity and durability of the paint. Other additives include extenders and dispersants.
Did you know that you can create your own watercolor paints using a simple technique involving a small number of basic materials: powdered pigment, gum Arabic, and water. Additives are not imperative when creating your own watercolors, so they can be left out.
Below are the steps to create your own watercolor paints:
You can make watercolor paints using pure powdered pigment mixed with a binder and a solvent. (A) A pile of pure ground pigment on a glass palette. (B) Add gum Arabic. (C) Add water. (D) Mix with spatula. Adding a few drops of rubbing alcohol helps the pigments disperse. (E) The result resembles watercolor from tubes. (F) The resulting watercolor paint applied to watercolor paper using a paintbrush.
Testing your colors is an important part of being a watercolorist. The more you know about the quality of the pigments the better you will become. In my next upcoming post I will show you how to create an amazing guide of your colors. Stay tune for next time.