Swatching. It’s A Thing…

I have known about swatching since I have known about art journaling. I have even done it in the past. But — I haven’t done it in a gazillion years and in my BOD class, someone posted a picture of her recent swatching efforts. That picture inspired me to get to swatching myself. And what better things to start with then the new Sakura Glaze Pens and Shinhan Professional Watercolors that I recently purchased when I signed up for BOD. Just in case you’re not sure:

Swatching: applying a sample (paint, makeup, etc.) to a surface to test or demonstrate a color.

So I pulled out my Magickal Art Grimoire — a fancy name for my sample book — my new watercolors, and my new watercolor palette. I love this new watercolor palette because it comes with 48 empty half pans that you can fill yourself. The first thing I did was take a Sharpie Marker and wrote the number of the color on the half pan. I didn’t think it pertinent to write the actual name. This would only be necessary if I planned on mixing brands in the same palette; but I plan to only use this brand (they’re really nice!). If I get a different brand, I will also get a new watercolor palette to use for that brand.

The next step was for me to fill each half pan with the color marked by its number on the outside of the pan. I wanted to fill the half pans completely without over filling them. That would create a real mess when I went to use them if they are over full. If you look closely at the picture, you can see where I wrote the numbers on the half pans.

After filling the half pans, I set the palette to the side and created a grid in my Grimoire. I wanted to swatch the watercolors on the following substrate and with these mediums:

  1. Plain Paper
  2. Watercolor Ground (Transparent – Daniel Smith)
  3. White Gesso (Blick Studio)
  4. Clear Gesso (Tri Art)
  5. Black Gesso (Handy Art)

Then I applied each medium to its respective column and let it dry completely. Once that was done, I began swatching the colors in order. It was amazing to see that some of the colors actually show up on the black gesso! I was not impressed with the 401 White, but then I also was pretty geeked that there was actually white watercolor paint. I am sure there is some application where the white will show up a lot better than the results I received.

What I also did was create a swatch sheet to keep inside of the watercolor palette. You can see it in the picture above. It is sitting inside the top of the palette on the right side of the picture. This will help me to know what the colors look like when I’m away from my Grimoire. Of course, I don’t plan to take these watercolors out and about with me — I have a small set of watercolors that came in cake form for that.

Not only was this a very important step in my creative process — I now know what each of the colors look like on paper and I have prepared my watercolor palette — it was very soothing. It was meditative. The act of filling the half pans one-by-one in order and then swatching one-by-one in order… There was something truly peace bringing about it.


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