How To Watercolor Using Digital Images Or a Paper and Paint Trial

If you are an avid card maker there will be a point in time that you will run out of space for your stamp collection and take a look at using digitals instead of stamps.  I don't think one can replace the other completely.   Part of the process and love of the art is the ongoing hunt for the perfect stamp. Actually, it is an ongoing event of looking for the perfect everything in stamp making.

 Ten years ago I unmounted about 3,000 stamps and created a storage system for them.  I also made copies of each stamp and digitized them for my personal use. 2 years ago I sold most of that rubber collection.  I still have plenty of well-loved and used stamps but I use 80% digital.
28 years ago when I  learned how to use windows 311 and transitioned to the mighty windows 95, I started collecting public domain art and creating a vast catalog of jpgs to use in art and card making.  Today I have an enormous collection of jpgs I use for stamps and cards.  All safely backed up and stored in multiple places. 

Why am I telling you this?  Because you too might be in the same position and want to know how you can turn more of your collection into beautiful card art.

I love my alcohol markers and they are my #1 go-to for coloring.  However,  I want to use watercolors for my digi's too.
As you may know, watercolors do not work on inkjet printed images.  Inkjet ink is waterbased and it will run and turn into a muddy mess.

You can use a black and white laser printer.  The toner works great with watercolors, the toner is heat cured and will not run. So now we get to the point of my post: What is the best paper to use!

 My laser black and white printer is a Samsung M2825dw, under $200 - So what I have is affordable and nothing fancy.  I am telling you this because most of us underuse what we have because we don't know what we have and this can easily lead us lead to believe we need the latest and greatest. We might need it, but not always!

I know my laser printer will not printer  anything heavier than 65# cover weight paper, my quest was to find a decent, affordable paper that I could watercolor on and run through my laser printer in an effort to use my digital images.

 I did a trial of four papers.  Before I type anymore I am going to say for card making, alcohol markers will still be my #1 go-to, But now I have a better idea of what I can and can't do with my laser printer and the watercolor medium in regards to card making.

I am not an expert in the watercolor art medium - I just enjoy playing with paint.

The mediums:

#1  Masters Touch Watercolors  in half pans, these are a Hobby Lobby product and for my needs and skill they work great, I prefer them over similar price range products.  Thes were used in the upper left-hand corner.

#2 Ohuhu Watercolor dual-tip makers - image in the upper right corner.

#3  Twinkling h2o's  For the image in the lower right-hand corner

#4 Ohuhu Watercolor Brush markers for the image in the lower left-hand corner

The Papers:

#1 Recollection Dove white 65# paper  - Michaels 5.99 usually on sale

 #2 kids drawing paper - drugstore purchase 2.99 per pad - this one you will have to cut down to fit in the printer.

#3 Neenah Classic Crest  80# cover - I usually use this for stamping and inkjet work. About $30.00 for a ream of 250

 #4 Walmart Pen gear cardstock 110# index - 5.92 per ream of 150

The Tests:

Paper #1 Recollections

Papers' water absorption:  good, no buckling
Pigment absorption: good
Color mixing:  good
Toner texture: very good, very little texture, no flaking.

Masters' Touch
Paint and water had good absorption, I was able to do some mixing
Color stayed crisp.

Ohuhu Felt tip markers:
Good Color, poor mixing

Twinkling H2O's

Great color and good mixing

Brush Markers


#2 Kids Drawing Pad

Papers' water absorption: Good
Pigment absorption: Good
Color mixing: Terrible
Toner texture: Raised

Masters Touch 

Paint immediately absorbed into the paper, no movement, no blending 

Twinkling H2O's
Same as Masters Touch 

This paper was so terrible to use I did not even try the other two mediums which are more difficult to use.   This paper would have been a complete fail except the images came out really great and there was no smudge or flaking to the toner.  

I will use this to print out sentiments and for coloring images to be crayon-colored for Sunday school.

Paper # 3

Neenah Classic Crest  80# cover 

Papers' water absorption:  Good
Pigment absorption: Good
Color mixing: Good
Toner texture:  Fair some chipping and dust

Masters Touch
Color stayed bright and true, some mixing 

  Ohuhu Felt Brush markers
Great color absorption and some mixing

Twinkling H2O's 

Great color absorption and mixed well

Ohuhu Real Brush tip pens
Over all okay, did not mix well at all

#4 Wall-Mart  Card Stock

Papers' water absorption: Fair
Pigment absorption: Fair 
Color mixing: Poor
Toner texture: Poor, flaking and dust

Masters Touch
Color sat on top of paper, look flat and dull. Colors bled into each other.

 Ohuhu Felt tip brush markers
Again flat but the color stayed crisp

Twinkling H2O's
This actually worked well, the paints behaved nicely with this paper.

Ohuhu Real Brush Tip Markers
Like the H2O's this paper worked well 

This trial took my 2 days to put together and I am glad I did, now I have a reference for paper and watercolor use in my laser Printer.

My personal favorites from this are:
My first choice will be the Recollections paper.  
 when using digitals.  
Medium 1st choices are the Master Touch and Twinkling H2O's.
I feel I got the best results and had the most crafty satisfaction using these in combination.

My second choice would be the Neenah Paper using the H2O's and the Ohuhu Felt Brush markers.
This Ohuhu set has 120 colors, with that range I would have a lot of flexibility and they are great to use when not in-home studio.
This Neenah paper is a go-to for inkjet printing and alcohol marker use. Great Stuff!

The kids' paper and the Walmart paper I will use for different things but not for watercolors and I will not purchase again.

I hope you found this helpful, this is the first time I have done something like this on my blog. I found the overall process quite fun and I know it will save me $$, now I know what to buy when I run out of paper.  
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend,
Ginny M  


Thanks for you observations Ginny - I have never gone into that much detail :) If I am careful I can do some water colouring with my usual card stock (unbranded, bought from a local printer) and my ink jet printed images - it pays to wait a good 24 hours before trying to use paint.
Stay safe

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