Watercolor Basics: Working In Batch: Trimming Paper to Size

Working in batch is a huge part of my work flow.  I work in batch when painting comic pages, I work in batch when painting watercolors for conventions, I often work in batch when filling commissions.  Batch working allows me to work quickly and effectively.


Rotary Cutter or Knife
Ruler (please use a better ruler than the one shown in this tutorial, it's awful).  I recommend these
Cutting mat

 Note:  Usually I would use a paper cutter- a simple crafter's rotary papercutter works quite well for this.  Unfortunately, I did not have access to one in Luling, so I'll show you guys how to trim paper the old fashioned way.

Step 1: Decide on the ratio you want and measure

I'm cutting 9"x12" paper into 5"x7" rectangles, so I can get two squares out of each sheet if the page is in portrait.

I measure off several ticmarks at the 7" mark going down the length of the paper, and connect them with a straight line.  You want to use several tic marks, rather than just two, as it ensures a straighter line.  Make sure you line up your ruler's hash marks with the edge of your paper, if possible.  I recommend beginning at the 1" mark when measuring your tic marks (so aim for the 8" mark, rather than the 7", if you're doing this), as some rulers cut off part of that first inch.


Going width-wise, I mark off two 5" segments

 Step 2:  Trimming Your Paper

Note:  Rotary tools are great for trimming large sheets of paper.  Old, chewed up wooden yardsticks are not.  I highly recommend using a metal straightedge if you have access to one.

I line my ruler up against the OUTSIDE edge of my 7" line (if you're going to mess up, you want to mess up in the scrap paper, not into your working area), and hold the ruler down firmly while pulling the rotary cutter across the paper.  You're going to need to apply a fair amount of pressure to cut through your watercolor paper in one pass- this is where the scissors come in handy.  For me, some portions are not cut through completely, so I use the scissors to snip through that.

I repeat the process at my two 5" marks.

And that's how you trim paper to size, the old fashioned way!

The Watercolor Basics series is made possible thanks to the generosity of my friends on Patreon.  Their support enables me to dedicate the necessary time and resources for creating quality tutorials such as those in this series.  If you have enjoyed this post, or any other Watercolor Basics post, please consider joining our community of artnerds, and funding future content.

This particular post was sponsored by 7" Kara, a delightful watercolor comic for all ages.  Join tiny Kara as she ventures into the large world beyond her dollhouse doors, meets humans, and rides cats.  Volume 1, written and illustrated by me, and full of the art you see on this blog, is available for $15+shipping from my online store.


Popular Posts