White watercolor

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  • Okay watercolorist… a question! I’ve been using DS Buff Titanium but I use it sparingly. Very diluted for mushrooms, eggshells, sand, and that’s about it. However, I’m nearly out. Plain ole white is cheaper and I can always dirty it up. (That’s all Buff Titanium really is.)

    My question is, do you keep a white watercolor? If so, please tell me how you use it and which one is your preferred – Chinese or Titanium?

    Cheers! Tonya

    I do keep a white gouache, but don’t have white watercolor because when I use white, it is for the opacity as well as the lightening effect.  I also have buff titanium for sand when I do seascapes.  I’m not one of the people who cringe back in horror at the thought of using black or white watercolor.  I think with any endeavor a person should use the tools available.  Sometimes, you want more opacity for whatever reason, and need to mix in a little white.  Sometimes you don’t quite know how big a highlight should be until you’ve painted the area around it (especially if you are painting from your imagination).  I expect my one tube of gouache to last most of my life, because I use it so seldom.  But I wouldn’t be without it, because when I need it I need it.  Rather than avoiding white, I think it’s a matter of learning when you really need it.

    Yes! I don’t keep a black in my palette only because I can mix it so easily so I’d rather use the space for something else. I’m definitely not a purist. I think white does have other uses, and it would be nice to be able to use it for the occasional highlight or opacity factor. Thanks so much for your input, Sandra!

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I use Dr. PH Martins bleed proof white.  I usually only use it when I need to fix an oops or to add a highlight that got lost.</p>
    I agree you can mix something to match Buff Titanium.  I’d go with a PW6 pigment base.

    I could be mistaken, but I think I’ve seen you put that Dr Martins in action somewhere. Maybe your IG feed? I appreciate your comment & will take your advice. PW6, it is! 🙂

    I am still using up tubes of Holbein gouache from 25 years ago!  In oils I perfer Titanium… or Titanium Zinc.  So if I ever ever buy a tube of white paint again it will probably be that.  I tend to use a White uniball signo 153 for the little bits of white I use… NOT a purist — whatever works!


    Yep, whatever works! I’ve got one of those pens, and it works like a charm for tiny little oops and small highlights. Titanium white watercolor is super cheap (American Journey & Da Vinci run less than $7 for a 15ml tube), so it won’t hurt to try it. Thanks, Kate!

    I just started using Kuretake’s White Ink 30, which is fairly opaque, but you can thin it to lighten without going totally white.  According to Jetpens, it’s supposed to be a favorite of comic and manga artists because you can easily draw or color over it.  So far, I do like it.  I also got a Derwent Graphik ‘Snow’ liquid ink pen, which flows well (to begin with anyway) and is nicely opaque.  I suspect it will have the usual problems that these pens do when the ink gets lower.

    I have a tube of white gouache that I will use on occasion.  I’ve also used the white Uniball Signo pen occasionally.  Chinese White and Titanium white in watercolor just don’t seem to work for me.

    Whatever you do, do NOT try DeAtramentis Document white ink (and i am a HUGE DeA Doc fan.)  besides clogging pens, I’ve not found many uses for it… and I played a lot with it.

    Sandra I’ve not tried that ink… is it waterproof?

    Mary I’ve not tried Chinese white since I knew what I was doing at all.  I don’t know the mineral chemical content…

    DeA Doc white:

    The bottle states that the ink is waterproof after it is dried.  I haven’t tried using watercolor over it yet, but I’ve been using it with Zebra’s Sarasa Fineliners.  I let it dry about 5 – 15 minutes, depending on how thick I’ve used it, and so far the fabric tips have not clogged.

    Jetpens has some great information on both white inks and white ink pens.

    Thanks for the De Atramentis warning, Kate, because I love Doc inks. If you want an opaque white ink, W&N white calligraphy ink is amazing. I’ve used it for creating snowflakes using a toothbrush & highlights using a dip pen. It’s labeled for fountain pens, but no way would I put this in a fountain pen. It’s thick, opaque and seems like it would be a feed killer. I won’t even use my wc brushes with it.

    What white gouache do you use, Mary? I’ve never used gouache, but I’ve heard that it won’t rewet after it dries, that you have to use it fresh from the tube each time. Is this true?

    True gouache rewets, but if you get the Acryla — it won’t.  Acryla’s basically just water based matte-finish acrylic paint, marketed in tiny little tubes for artists who want to pay a ton. 😀

    (Blick’s little craft-sized bottles of acrylic paint are like $2/pop, and are exactly the same thing IMHO.)

    Yikes.  That De Atrementis ink was on my wishlist, but it’s looking kind of….limpid.

    I have a Posca white paint marker I use for any little highlights, just for convenience.  I saw a great video by John Muir Laws where he suggests the Pentel Presto! jumbo correction pen, too.  (With the !.)  It stinks to high heaven, but is opaque enough to blot out pretty much any mistake/bulk-fill any needed highlights.  (I got the fine point, and it’s small enough to carry with me if I don’t want to tote along the more expensive Posca.  I lose things easily. :D)

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