Time to review more of the art supplies my parents brought home from America! Today it’s the Blick Artists’ watercolours, which are essentially the ‘home brand’ of Dick Blick. Up until now I’d only used their coloured pencils but I thought those were very good for the price, so I was looking forward to trying their watercolours.
Here’s the colour chart for the four Blick colours I got.
There are 63 colours in Blick’s range, providing plenty of choice without being overwhelming. They are competitively priced, with the Cerulean Blue being about $18AUD for a 14ml tube – some other brands are about the same price but most are more expensive, even for smaller tubes. Pigment concentration across the four colours I tried is as strong as in most other artist grade brands. Pigment information is also readily available on Blick’s site and on the tubes themselves; I’m not sure how many of the range are multi-pigment mixes but the four colours I got are all single-pigment paints. I have seen other reviews say that some colours that are normally single pigment are made using two or more pigments, however when I was looking at the information on the site, deciding what colours to buy, I didn’t notice any instances of this. Then again, those reviews are old, so it’s possible Blick has reformulated their watercolours since then.
Since I often like to squeeze paint into my palette and then use it later once it’s dried, I did this with my Blick watercolours to see how well they’d perform in that regard. Some brands are difficult (if not impossible) to rewet once they’ve dried, but the Blick watercolours easily reconstituted with water, without any gritty particles like some watercolours have if you use dried tube colour (I’m looking at you, Winsor & Newton). As I mentioned above, these watercolours are just as good as the other artist grade watercolours I’ve tried; it’s easy to get nice, strong washes, and when used wet-in-wet, they are quite active, flowing and blending on the paper. With the exception of Magenta, the colours I got also lift relatively easily (though this can also depend on the quality of the paper you’re using).
Here’s a painting I did with the Blick Artists’ watercolours, based on a picture uploaded to the WetCanvas Reference Image Library by Fagan (I also used Payne’s Grey from my Grumbacher Academy watercolours, and some white gouache for the highlights).
If you live in or are visiting America (or have family who are going on holiday there 🙂 ), it’s well worth picking up some Blick Artists’ watercolours. Sadly they’re hard to get for non-US citizens but if you can get your hands on them, you’ll be very happy with how affordable they are and how well they perform.