Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Mini Review: Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers

Last year it was alcohol based markers, this year it's all about water and watercolor markers. If you enjoyed this post, please consider checking out my other art supply reviews in my Reviews tab above.  If you would like to purchase a set of Winsor & Newton watercolor markers for yourself or a friend, please consider supporting this blog financially by using my Amazon affiliate link for Winsor & Newton markers.



As this blog is completely unsponsored, and I receive no financial compensation from companies to write these reviews, nor do I receive donations from manufacturers, I really depend on the goodwill of my readers.  If you benefitted from this post, please consider contacting Winsor & Newton with a link to this post (or any of my other posts that feature me using Winsor & Newton, which would be most of my watercolor posts) and your thoughts.  I would also sincerely appreciate it if you sent me an email with your thoughts, questions, or thanks.

Although I am no longer subscribed to Artsnacks, I still follow their Twitter feed.  The Artsnacks Twitter often retweets unboxing photos, and when I saw a subscriber's recent haul that included a Winsor & Newton Watercolor marker, I knew I had to try them for myself.  Up until then, the only brand of watercolor markers I was familiar with were Letraset's Aquamarkers, which I found pleasant to play around with, but never seriously utilized for illustration.  Since I use Windsor Newton pan paints on a regular basis for 7" Kara and professional illustration, I knew that their watercolors were generally enjoyable to work with, and hoped that these markers would provide a similar experience.

I ordered my markers from Dick Black openstock, since I had a specific purpose in mind.  I picked out a lot of greens (easy grass!), as well as indigo, Payne's Gray, and Pale Rose (my three favorite colors), with the intention of buying more colors if I liked how these markers handled.  The sets come in a nice, reusable metal case, which is a lot nicer than Aquamarker's cheap plastic case.


The bodies of Winsor & Newton Watercolor markers are very similar to the Aquamarkers.  I wonder if there's just a manufacturer who produces the marker bodies and sells them wholesale to marker companies, as I see repeat bodies A LOT when testing marker brands.


The tips are pretty similar to the Aquamarkers, except the brush tip is much less flexible.

Color Swatches:

Colors Purchased:
  • Hookers Green Dark
  • Indigo
  • Payne's Gray
  • Hooker's Green
  • Sap Green
  • Pale Rose
 As you can see, there's a pretty dramatic difference in color between the brush and bullet ends.  I'm not sure what causes this (maybe the pigment granulation), but it's definitely something to be aware of.  The Payne's Gray from the Bullet end is almost as blue as the indigo from the brush end, and the indigo from the bullet end is almost an ultramarine.  On the bright side, it's like getting two colors for the price of one.


Not all colors release pigment equally.  The greens, indigo, and Payne's Gray are easy to disperse with watercolor, but the Pale Rose requires some rubbing.  None of the colors tested so far display any color split when water is added, which is nice.

Techniques Testing:


As you can see, there's already a little bit of blending going on, which is nice. 
The colors remain wet and easily blended on the page since the markers are waterbased, rather than being alcohol based.  If you're used to doing watercolors, this shouldn't be an issue, as you'll be used to waiting for paint to dry, but if you're used to markers, please keep in mind that there's a longer drying time.

Blending colors with a wet paintbrush.

For the greens, indigo, and Payne's Gray I bought, I'm really impressed with how nicely the pigment disperses, and how well the colors interact. 
 

Winsor & Newton watercolor markers don't come with a blending marker, but it's easy enough to blend two colors.  When blending colors, make sure you clean your nibs afterwards by marking it on a scrap piece of paper until the other color is fully removed.


 These markers blend readily with water while still wet.  I'm not sure if they can be reactivated once left to dry.

 

My testing sheet.

 Verdict:

Not all colors release pigment equally, and there's a big difference  between the color at the brush and the color at the tip.  Despite these inconsistencies, I really enjoy watercolor markers, and I'm curious to see if the Windsor & Newton watercolor markers play well with the Letraset Aqua Markers I tested awhile back.  I'll either revisit this post or create a new one after I've had more opportunity to experiment. 

I feel that both Windsor & Newton Watercolor markers and Aquamarkers are better watercolor markers than Tombow's offerings, and I believe both brands would play well with a waterbrush.  I've not yet tried either brand with alcohol based markers or with traditional watercolors, so I'll have to report back with those results at some point.

Right now, there's a limited library of colors available (36 shades) available either in open stock or in sets, as opposed to the Aquamarkers, which are commonly available only in sets.  Individual markers fairly affordable ($4.31 on Dick Black), so you could buy a base set and just augment it with necessary colors.

If you're looking for a second opinion on the Winsor & Newton Watercolor Markers, or would like a more in-depth look, check out the video below!




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