Try the new Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers

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Try the new Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers

The new Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers will be on every painters’ wish list. Tim Fisher finds suitable spots to test out the versatility and brilliance of the colours outdoors, using them both for sketches and a larger painting

'Winsor & Newton has added to its range of art materials a series of watercolour markers,' says Tim Fisher.

'These fibre-tipped pens are filled with highly pigmented, lightfast colours, and each marker is twin tipped with a fine point for drawing and a flexible brush nib, which allows for multiple line thicknesses and broader marks. They are also inter-mixable with Winsor & Newton watercolours.

'The markers provide a lightweight and convenient way to take colour directly to your subject. Sketches and working drawings can be tackled in a variety of ways with them.'


Working outdoors, I inclined a page of my sketchpad at a comfortable angle.

The page opposite formed a tray upon which I clipped a sheet from a disposable oil palette.

Then I scribbled the colours onto the palette.

Sketching tool

I usually sketch in ink then add tone with a 3B pencil.

By taking a single suitable colour marker with me, washes and tone were recorded quickly and effectively without the need for anything else.

I sketched Monsal Head Farm (see below) with the fine end of the marker.

Once complete, form and shadows were added by washing over with colour.

For this subject I chose sepia, a lovely transparent colour that goes through a wide range of tones, from very pale to almost black when applied directly with the pen.

I scribbled the pigment onto a sheet from a disposable palette then lifted onto the sketch using a brushpen.

It’s so easy. The Water Colour Markers and brushpen can be carried on sketching expeditions without the need for separate water and brushes.

Also, by using a minimal amount of water, little distortion occurs within the pages of the sketchpad.

Monsal Head Farm, Winsor & Newton Water Colour Marker in sepia on cartridge paper, (18x28cm)

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A good selection of colours to take out would be sepia, raw sienna, burnt sienna, cadmium red hue, lemon yellow hue and phthalo blue. From these, a wide variety of secondary colours can also be mixed.

Dungeness Fishing Boats (below) is a small watercolour-style sketch I produced over an initial drawing.

The sky was painted first by wetting the area with clean water from a No. 0 squirrel mop.

After letting it settle for a few moments, phthalo blue was applied so that the pigment bled to form cloud shapes.

Once dry, all the darks and shadows under the boats were added directly to the paper using the fine nib of the sepia marker.

Dungeness Fishing Boats, Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers on 140lb Rough watercolour paper, (18x25.5cm)

For the broad expanse of dark for the hull on the left I used the brush end of the marker for better coverage.

Then, using a disposable palette sheet and sepia, I washed in most of the lighter colours onto the right-hand boat’s hull and cabin.

Some pink was added into the shadow areas using well-diluted permanent alizarin.

Once the boats were complete, I masked them off with paper and spattered the foreground using the sepia, phthalo blue, alizarin and burnt sienna marker with a brushpen flicked over the broad tip of each marker.

Demonstration: Oaks Farm

Step 1 - The sketch

This painting began as a loose line drawing.

Step 2 - Underpainting

  1. After wetting the sky, I applied a diluted wash of cadmium red hue from the disposable palette into the area.
  2. While this was still damp, I introduced phthalo blue to the top of the hill.
  3. Mixing the red with the blue, I continued down towards the farmhouse.
  4. At this stage lemon yellow hue was introduced to give the background a green tinge.
  5. I left any areas of the painting that would remain white and continued down, mixing a grey from phthalo blue and burnt sienna.
  6. For the walls of the buildings on the right I introduced a little raw sienna.
  7. At this stage I let the surface go bone dry so that I could start building up the colour.

Step 3 - The details
  1. Mixing cadmium red hue and phthalo blue, a second wash was applied over the distant hill, pulling out a little detail to suggest the forms of the distant rocks.
  2. The trees surrounding the farmhouse were painted using sap green combined with phthalo blue and lemon yellow.
  3. By introducing a little sepia into the green gave the colour for the rooftops and walls surrounding the buildings.
  4. For the front garden I created darker greens by feeding sepia into the shadow side of the wet sap green washes.
  5. The grass in the foreground was drawn directly with the marker then wetted immediately to make it bleed before it had fully dried.
  6. The poppies and other flowers were drawn directly onto the dry paper using the fine nib of the cadmium red hue and lemon yellow marker.
  7. More grasses were drawn using the raw sienna marker.
  8. Finally, shadow was applied to the farm, road and buildings on the right using a mix of phthalo blue and cadmium red hue, which were mixed then washed over the paper surface using a squirrel mop brush

Oaks Farm, near Loughrigg, Winsor & Newton Water Colour Marker on NOT watercolour paper, (25.5x35.5cm)


These new markers handle well with superb, bright and clean colours, which are compatible with other Winsor & Newton watercolours.

They are convenient to carry around for moments when inspiration strikes.

Whether on a sketching trip or a holiday, a handful of these markers should be essential kit in every artist’s painting bag.

They are available in 36 colours, individually and in the following sets:


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Read a report on the new Winsor & Newton Water Colour Markers by Ian Sidaway, taken from the November 2014 issue of The Artist, by clicking here


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