DETAIL: Into the woods with books| Watercolour by Crisel Eslao
When I was in art school, we learned how to use watercolour. All the basics were taught from choosing & stretching your watercolour paper to using salt to add texture. I would buy those big watercolour papers and manually prime and cut them to size. I remember standing in front of a fan waiting for the paper to stretch and dry. But since that year I haven’t touched the medium. I make digital “watercolour” illustrations with a graphic tablet and Photoshop but actual watercolour, not at all, not even when I went to fashion school. I never used watercolours, choosing to go with markers instead when we had to do something in class. I don’t even know why, I guess because there was always something else to use.

But one day this week, while in National Bookstore, I passed by the sketchpad section and saw these Berkley watercolour paper pads priced really cheap. I got one.

Berkeley Watercolour Pad

When I got home, I dug out my old Prang watercolour set. The paint in the little pots were messy and cracked. I remember they used to be damp and sticky to the touch when I first got them. Cleaned them up a bit. The paint on the inner lids are acrylic and are permanent. Lol.

Prang Semi Moist Watercolours Cracked

I also found my dad’s opaque watercolour set from Holland. When I opened them, they were even messier than mine with different paints mixed in with the others but they weren’t cracked. I cleaned it too. He uses them for his calligraphy so maybe that’s why there were deep holes instead of the gradual dip in the middle of the paint pots.

Talens Opaque Watercolours

I didn’t use them, they were just near me for moral support. I can still remember a teacher saying you don’t need all these colours, If you have red blue and yellow, you can get more unique colours when you mix them yourself. Although, I like the Prang set because it’s easier when there are at least primary and secondary colours already pre-mixed. Dad’s Talens set had weird colours because he chose each pot himself. If you can notice, the green is more of a dark greenish blue, the orange is more crimson and the red is more like a subdued mauve-pink.

I forgot to buy brushes but I knew there would be some at home, always. And after a few minutes of hunting I found a handful. I only used 3 in total for this one I made and the green one I used because I mistook it for the red.

Da Vinci Watercolour Brushes

The Berkley watercolour paper is barely ok for practicing, they are off-white and very lightweight at 180 gsm. So yes, this paper will warp, wrinkle, buckle, sing and dance if you don’t stretch it. I didn’t like the raised texture it had which isn’t pretty at all. There weren’t any open ones at the bookstore so I couldn’t look at the paper inside before I got one. They are supposed to be acid-free, meaning will not yellow and get brittle with time.

So this is what I made. Because I just feel like disappearing into some nowhere place with a cosy bed and books forever.

Into the woods  with books| Watercolour by Crisel Eslao


DETAIL: Into the woods  with books| Watercolour by Crisel Eslao

I also made a series of basic ballerina poses, but that’s for another post.. Soon!

The author: Crisel Eslao

Nose in book, bow in hair, pen in hand.