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Additives for watercolorWatercolor paint is a fine and commonly used medium. In principle, you don't need any additions to be able to watercolor. A brush, paint, paper, and water are sufficient. However, several tools have been developed to simplify working with watercolor paint and provide some extra possibilities. These tools are available from various brands. Some of the most commonly used ones are discussed in this article. Broadly speaking, these additions can be categorized into five categories.

extend drying time1. Extending Drying Time:

  • Gum arabic (available from various brands): Extends the drying time, makes watercolor paint even more transparent, and washes gain greater depth.
  • Blending medium (Winsor & Newton): A slow-drying blending medium to slow down the drying speed of watercolor paint.
Improving flow2. Improving Flow:

  • Water Colour Medium (Winsor & Newton): Improves washes in a watercolor.
  • Ox gall (available from various brands): Prevents beading of paint on the surface and increases the flow of watercolor paint.
covering and maskingcovering and masking3. Masking:
  • Liquid masking film (Talens) or art masking fluid (Winsor & Newton): Used to mask areas on the watercolor paper so that they repel watercolor paint. Available in color (gray or yellow) or colorless. After the paint has dried, it must be carefully removed from the paper.
  • Permanent masking fluid (Winsor & Newton): Used to mask areas on the paper, but this medium cannot be removed. Can be mixed with watercolor paint to achieve a uniform tint.
  • Schmincke Liquid Frisket (Schmincke): Used to mask areas on the paper to repel watercolor paint.
  • Wax; for example, colorless candles
  • Lifting preparation medium (Winsor & Newton): With this correction medium, dry washes can easily be lifted from the paper with a wet brush or sponge. Suitable as a base layer for watercolor paper, allowing corrections to be made continuously.
Varnish 4. Varnish:

  • Matte watercolor varnish (Talens): Protects the watercolor, causes virtually no color change due to light refraction. Non-yellowing and resistant to moisture.
  • Protecting spray (Talens): Universal quick-drying varnish, colorless, the thickness of the layer determines the degree of gloss (a thick layer gives a higher gloss). Makes the watercolor slightly more transparent and deepens the colors.
Influence textureImage 5. Texture Influencers:

  • Salt; regular table salt creates spots where the pigment is pushed to the edges.
  • Aquapasto (Winsor & Newton): A transparent watercolor gel that slows down flow and gives watercolor or gouache paint density.
  • Texture medium (Winsor & Newton): This medium contains fine particles and can give the watercolor more depth and texture, e.g., for sandy beaches and tree bark.
  • Iridescent medium (Winsor & Newton): This medium gives a pearlescent or shimmering effect to a watercolor.
  • Granulation medium (Winsor & Newton): Gives a speckled or granular effect to colors that usually give an even wash.