How to Tint Your Own Paper

Hey guys! TGIF!

It’s been a busy week for me, but I wanted to share a tip with you guys today.  I’m planning on starting a new drawing soon, and want it to be done on tinted drawing paper. So here I’ll share with you my process of making my own tinted paper!

If you’re looking through all the paper selection at the art store, you’ve probably come across tinted drawing paper.  It’s usually available in ochres, browns, greys, and sometimes soft pinks/peaches, and it serves as the midtone for your drawing. You then draw over this ground, using your graphite as shadows, and something like a white coloured pencil or pastel for the highlights. I love using tinted paper in drawings because it speeds your drawing time up considerably (the midtone is done for you) and it really gives a drawing that would otherwise be in greyscale a bit of life and colour.

There’s only one problem with buying tinted paper:

It’s not cheap.  But the following way is!

Here's my setup. I'm using hot pressed 140lb watercolour paper. I almost always use this paper for drawing because it's sturdy and can handle all media.  Bristol would also work for this as it can handle watercolors to a point as well (you might just need to flatten it out afterwards if it gets too warped).  I've got it set up at an angle (gravity is your friend for this technique) and paper towel ready to absorb any extra paint.

Here’s my setup. I’m using hot pressed 140lb watercolour paper. I almost always use this paper for drawing because it’s sturdy and can handle all media. Bristol would also work for this as it can handle watercolors to a point as well (you might just need to flatten it out afterwards if it gets too warped).
I’ve got it set up at an angle (gravity is your friend for this technique) and paper towel ready to absorb any extra paint.

I've got my chosen colour all ready to go.  Make sure you have enough watercolor in your pan. You don't want to have to remix your colour halfway through. You will not have a good time.

I’ve got my chosen colour all ready to go. Make sure you have enough watercolor in your pan. You don’t want to have to remix your colour halfway through. You will not have a good time.

Next, wet your entire paper with clean water.  Start on one side and make a smooth stroke across the page, then repeat until the page is covered. From this point we have to work steadily but fairly quickly as the paper will be soaking up that water, and we don't want it to dry out.  This is a wet in wet technique.

Next, wet your entire paper with clean water. Start on one side and make a smooth stroke across the page, then repeat until the page is covered. From this point we have to work steadily but fairly quickly as the paper will be soaking up that water, and we don’t want it to dry out. This is a wet in wet technique.

See how shiny the paper is with the water? This is the perfect state. Time to add that colour!

See how shiny the paper is with the water? This is the perfect state. Time to add that colour!

Grab your colour and apply it the same way you did the water: one smooth stroke across, dip back into colour and go back to side you started on, another smooth stroke across, and repeat.

Grab your colour and apply it the same way you did the water: one smooth stroke across, dip back into colour and go back to side you started on, another smooth stroke across, and repeat.

Make sure your new line touches your previous line. This will allow gravity to even out your paint as it slides down, erasing your painted lines into one smooth coat of colour.

Make sure your new line touches your previous line. This will allow gravity to even out your paint as it slides down, erasing your painted lines into one smooth coat of colour.

Immediately repeat your colur application from the top again, this time starting from the other side. This will help to make sure your paper is covered evenly.

Immediately repeat your colur application from the top again, this time starting from the other side. This will help to make sure your paper is covered evenly.

Here it is after both watercolour coats.  Now if you like this you can leave it propped up to fully dry...

Here it is after both watercolour coats. Now if you like this you can leave it propped up to fully dry…

...or you can grab some paper towel and dab it here and there to add a bit of grunge/texture to the colour.  I love doing this because I think it adds interest.

…or you can grab some paper towel and dab it here and there to add a bit of grunge/texture to the colour. I love doing this because I think it adds interest.

Now let it fully dry, still in that propped up position.

Now let it fully dry, still in that propped up position.

And here it is! All dry and ready to feature your drawing!

And here it is! All dry and ready to feature your drawing!

Here's a close-up of the texture from the paper towel.

Here’s a close-up of the texture from the paper towel.

So that’s it guys, using a bit of watercolour, you can tint your own paper for drawing and save some money,plus your colour options for your paper are virtually endless when you’re making your own.  Just remember that watercolour dries lighter, so don’t be afraid to be bold with your colours.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading and have an awesome weekend! (And don’t forget to watch my upcoming Speedpaint tomorrow!)

-Ashley <3

 

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