Friday, November 27, 2015

5 Pro Tips for Choosing the Perfect Watercolor Paper

As black Friday deals swirl around me and all of the possibilities exist for me to buy buy buy. However, there is only one thing I want.


I need to restock on watercolor and inking friendly paper and that stuff is expensive!

I'm not above drawing on non-traditional papers. Napkins, sketchbooks with filmsy paper, cardstock, the backs of movie posters (if you ever get the chance to draw with ink on glossy photo paper, do it. That paper soaks it up in such an interesting way.)

But sometimes, you just need decent paper to get your ideas out and have them be *clears throat* presentable. Especially if you are selling the artwork afterwards.

So here are my 5 Tips for choosing your perfect watercolor paper.

1) The Heavier the Weight, the Better the Paper

On the front of a package of paper you'll often find a number like " 60lbs." 

Ideally, for watercolor paper, you want to aim for 140lbs paper.

140lbs and higher can handle multiple washes without buckling.

2) Cold Press vs Hot Press

Either paper option is good for painting on. The difference is, do you want a smooth surface or a textured surface to work on?

When I watercolor I prefer the extra texture of Coldpress paper.
When I ink I prefer the smoothness of HotPress paper.

So, do you want clean, smooth, graphic lines in your work? Or a more textured/ grunge look? Up to you.

3) Blocks vs Loose Leaf vs Sketchbook

When you go out to buy water color paper  you'll notice it comes in three main varieties.

  1. Blocks
  2. Sketchbooks
  3. By the Sheet
Each one has it's own benefits, and it really depends on what you prefer, but I'll let you know the main highlights.


What are those?
Block watercolor paper is the whole stack sealed together at the edges by wax or plastic.

It keeps your painting stretched and ready to work on. It tends to keep really wet paintings from buckling.

This style is my favorite because it is the happy medium between the quality of "by the sheet" paper and the mobility of sketchbooks.

You do have to work one sheet at a time for the most part. You have to slice off the top sheet to get to the next one. So if you like to bounce around from project to project, this might not be the best choice for you.


If you like to travel a lot while you're creating, this style will protect your work with it's covers. 

The quality of the paper tends to not be as great as the blocks or by the sheet.

By the Sheet

This come is far bigger sizes than either the blocks or the sketchbooks, so you have the freedom to create something large scale. 

Down side
This tends to be the priciest option

4) Trusted Brands

If you have the opportunity to get your hands on these brands you can trust them. I've used them for years and have always been happy with the quality of paper.

My top choice for quality is always  Arches Watercolor paper.

I have yet to meet a paper better suited to my (often over-saturated with paint and water) style.

However, is it pricey. So I only ever buy it when It's on sale, or I manage to find a coupon.

The brand that Isn't as pricey, but still has great paper is Canson. 

I can't be as violent with my process on their paper, but it does hold up well and I always enjoy working on it. 

5)  Where to find this goodness

There are a few stores that are my go-to for art supplies, but here are my favorites, and you can purchase online if you need to.

  1. Jerry's Art-o-Rama
  2. Dick Blick Art Supplies
  3. AC Moore
  4. Micheal's
  5. Joann Fabrics and more


Hopefully you'll find this helpful, and let me know if you have any other tips to add


Friday, November 20, 2015

A Shift in Focus

Hello Blogger land.

I haven't had anything to share over here in a looooong time, which mostly has to do with my focus on my Horror Blog. That, and I've been writing my novel (finally!!) and I just haven't been doing anything in the art and design world for a good erm... two years pretty much.

Artist Burnout

Well before my last feature film project I was feeling totally burned out. Exhausted, unhappy, and unhealthy. I loved (and still love) every single person I was working with, but the work itself wasn't satisfying me anymore.

And that was incredibly hard for me to admit. It still is.

I was feeling burned out and I had also been looking at where my life was headed and wasn't entirely happy with the path I was taking. Working 8-10 months out of the year away from friends, family, and any hope of a healthy routine was not something I wanted in the long run.

But it left me with a big ol' question mark, if I'm not doing FILM or THEATER what on earth am I going to do with myself.

So I took a step back. 

Since I've taken a step back from features, I've produced my own web-series, learned how to edit, taken musical theater classes (and freakin' loved them!!), started blogging (like a boss), been doing commissioned artwork, and WRITING.

Writing has been a big deal for me because it was always that one skill I felt I was OK at, but loved doing even though it wasn't as polished as my other skills. This past year in particular I've been giving my literary side a lot more loving.

I've discovered some new things about myself

  1. I like working independently on collaborative projects.
  2. I need a LOT of variety in my weekly routine to feel satisfied
  3. I need a fair amount of face to face time with friends and family
  4. I like acting
  5. I love singing
  6. I love writing, but I'm still terrified of it. lol don't think too much on that one...
  7. and drawing is like breathing to me. I can't stop myself from doing that even if I wanted to.


I've been learning a ton about blogging, social media and  small businesses. All of these topics I think I'll start sharing here, because I think blogging, in particular, is a very powerful tool for artists of any type to get your name out there.

In light of everything happening in the world right now I've also come to the conclusion that

Art is important

Art, is the one thing I have to offer the world that I think truly adds to it in a positive way.

I want to teach. I want to help. I want to create something that will positively impact the little chunk of tumultuous world I live in and try to help us all heal just a little from the pain we are absorbing as War inches closer and closer to us.

Because art may be one of the few things that can help us cope with what's going on. And I for one need it.

So now that I have a better grasp on what the blog is going to be talking about, beyond film-making, I'll posting one post every Friday from now on. It may be a lot of brainstorming to start, but once things get rolling you'll start to see more about the following things:

  • The art community in CT/ New England
  • Musician and Artist spotlights
  • designing classes and courses for the arts
  • personal art projects in progress, sculptures and the like
  • how to promote your work through social media
  • tools for advertising events
  • how to get work as an illustrator
  • how to step up a portfolio blog
  • how to use social media like a pro - and not annoy the heck out of everyone
among many other thoughts.

Going Forward

As I spend some more time on my thoughts here, I'll start sprucing up the site, reorganizing and bringing this site up to par with what I've been doing over on I may even switch this over to wordpress so I can have some more control over the design etc. But that's an issue for a later time.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey, and I hope I can bring you some valuable insights into how to approach the world of art, and perhaps together, we'll figure out how to make a proper living off of it.