Watercolor Sketch On Hot Press Paper

Learn To Use This Tricky Surface By Sketching A Simple Subject

In this lesson we’ll sketch a simple subject on hot press paper. It’s a tricky surface that takes some practice – we’ll get started with this quick sketch lesson. Our subject is one you might not ever think about sketching or painting. But it’s simple and will give us practice on this new surface. We’ll try out techniques that work really well on hot press.

Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

If you have ever tried hot pressed watercolor paper, it probably didn’t take long to figure out how different it was from cold press paper.  As it’s name implies, the paper is pressed with hot rollers. During the process the paper fibers are compressed. The result is a very smooth surface that is really not very absorbent. These qualities will produce very distinct effects in your painting. On the positive side, the lack of absorbency makes it possible to get good wash effects with much less water than on cold press paper. Transparency is greatly enhanced since the color is really sitting on the surface of the paper.  And, it is much easier to remove color from hot-pressed paper than any other surface.  One of the best things about hot-pressed paper is that the surface is great for making precise lines and marks.  For that reason, it is a favorite for botanical illustration. On the negative side, hot-pressed paper is prone to blooming. The smooth surface makes it difficult to create rough edges and textures. It also tends to stay “wetter” longer, since the paper does not help by absorbing some of the excess water. It is a tricky  surface to work with, but experience always helps.

Sketching For Learning

In this lesson we’ll be exploring what might be a new surface for you. But, we’ll also create a color sketch of a common object that isn’t high on many people’s list of favorite subjects. In this case, we’ll paint a tape measure – or really, the case of a tape measure.  It’s a simple shape that is easy to draw but has some interesting surface design. We’ll also try to catch and exaggerate the light effects that we see. We’ll be using a simple set of colors, only a couple brushes and work in a fairly fast way. The objective is not to create an absolutely perfect image. Instead, we’ll work on creating a “painterly” image of this simple object, using basic techniques while exploring some new paper.

Transferring the Drawing Layout

The downloadable layouts are done with heavy lines to make it easy to see and copy onto your watercolor paper. It is best not to draw the lines too heavy on your paper, especially in the sky, since there is a good chance the lines will show through the paint. It’s not a deal-breaker, but those heavy pencil lines are sometimes a distraction.

What you’ll need

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