As any fine artist will tell you, it is vitally important to maintain a swatch library of sorts to aid in color selection in the studio. This becomes increasingly apparent when our collection of paints, pencils, etc. begins to grow and we are using multiple products in a single work of art. Now, being more interested in using my supplies than cataloging them, I've been reluctant to take the time out for such a project. As most of you know, I am currently participating in Dion Dior's online workshop, Mastering Twinks. Once again I've been confronted with the necessity of having ready samples of color for all of my paints and pencils. I think I often under-utilize my materials because it is impossible to make good choices without some sort of visual aid. With some encouragement from Dion, I've begun to remedy the situation.
Since my stash of Twinkling H2Os is overtaking the drawing table, I started with them. I used a circle punch and 140lb. watercolor paper to punch out circles for a basic color wheel. Colors appear quite different on paper than they do in the jar - all the more reason to have prepared examples before you use them in your art!
You can paint your samples directly into your sketchbook, or paint them on seperate cards. I like the idea of seperate sample cards or disks because you can put them together to get an idea of how they will look in your art.
You can arrange them in a color wheel.
You can arrange them by color.
I adore paint swatch cards from the hardware store. I made my own! Using my paper trimmer, I cut 1 1/4" wide strips of 140lb watercolor paper. Then I cut them into 3 7/8" cards.
I have so many colors that I was afraid I'd get them all mixed up when making the cards. I arranged them on the table in groups, and did one group at a time.
I kept the swatch with the corresponding pot until it was labeled with the color name. In the upper right corner I wrote down what product was used for the sample - in this swatch, Tw for Twinks.
I went through the same process for my Yarka pan watercolors and my tube watercolors. Using a quarter inch hole punch, I punched each card, added a reinforcement circle and then arranged each product by color on its own book ring.
This will make color selection a lot easier when I'm mixing mediums! Next, I'll do my watercolor pencils, colored pencils, and fluid acrylics. Maybe I'll take a break from swatch-making to make some actual art :)
Until next time,