Crafting Cues: Watercolor Mediums

Welcome back to the second installment of Crafting Cues – the awesome collaboration series with my dear friend, Jessica from All the Sparkle. You can check out my first post here (the result of an all-nighter!), where we introduced Brusho Crystal Colours. Jessica’s coordinating post for today can be found herecrafting cues 2
As promised, I tried to keep today’s post as simple as possible. We haven’t figured out a regular schedule yet because both of us realize life happens. Since crafting is supposed to be about fun and learning, we just wanted to share our discoveries with you. With so many mediums out there, it’s hard to choose which ones to invest in. I’m no top crafter and I don’t have the option of investing in everything in order to do detailed reviews. Keeping that in mind, I hope you’ll enjoy our humble efforts.

When we first talked about Crafting Cues, we really just wanted to be able to use our products more and to inspire each other. My first post was overambitious, but I’d love to get back to my original plan.

I don’t have any cards for you today. I stamped the same images from Altenew’s Wild Hibiscus onto watercolored paper and did my best to color in similar colors from a few different mediums: Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolor Paints, Nicholson’s Peerless Transparent Watercolor Sheets, Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pads, Faber-Castell Gelatos, and Colourcraft Brusho Crystal Colours. All the looks are nice, but it depends on what you want for yourself. My favorite ended up being Peerless watercolors and my least favorite was Gelatos. I still like Brusho, but I think I applied too much and had very little control.

So let me show you what my results were. Here’s the first piece using Zig Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolor Paints. They come in sets of 12, 24, and 36. I first had the 24 set, but those don’t include metallics so I sold it in order to buy the 36 set. I do like using these and the colors are pretty soft compared to traditional watercolors. They come in little pans that can be removed from the box to make it easier for you to use specific colors.

Next, I colored with Nicholson’s Peerless Watercolors. I would highly recommend these, and I can’t believe it took me months before I finally used them. They come in two size sheets and can be cut into smaller ones so you can create palettes in any way you want. If you Google organization methods, you’ll find so many different ways that they are stored. They are portable so you can carry them around and color wherever you want. I find that these are the smoothest of all the mediums used today and more pigmented than the Gansai Tambi.

Here’s a look at how I store my Peerless Watercolor sheets, cut into 2 x 2 pieces. I also created my own color palette since I couldn’t find one online.

The next medium is a very common one and definitely a favorite among cardmakers. Distress Inks come in the form of ink pads, markers, reinkers, paints, and mists. I mostly have markers and ink pads. I used ink pads for this piece. I love coloring with Distress Inks as well. However, the colors didn’t seem to blending into another as well for me. Maybe it’s just me. I’m not that great at watercoloring so it’s possible I don’t have much control over the water or pigment.

Next, I used Gelatos. I have a few colors. They are really creamy and come in chapstick-like tubes. I basically colored directly onto the paper and added water. It didn’t smoothen out for me so I wasn’t a fan of it as much. I heard they are great if you’re into mixed media work. They come in various color sets, including metallics.

Finally, I colored with Brusho. I think they are more fun for abstract pieces. In order to do shading when watercoloring, you have to allow layers to dry in between. Do I have that kind of patience (or practice?) – no. Haha. I do like that the colors are vibrant, but I think one of the things I need to learn is understanding when to use less water or pigment.

You can see them all below to get a better idea of how they compare to each other.

Which one was your favorite? Do you have any tips to share?

As a bonus, I wanted to share an extra piece using the Molotow Art Masking Fluid that everyone has been raving about! I handwrote the sentiment on watercolor paper, colored with Peerless Watercolors, and then rubbed off the dried parts where I wrote! Oh so many ideas. As I practice my handlettering and calligraphy, I hope to create my own pieces like this. Less amateur-looking though. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out what Jessica shared on her blog today. She used different watercolor mediums in her post, in comparison to Brusho. 🙂

Thank you for all the love! ?

Interested in the products I used? To make them easy for you to find, I have listed them below. (Affiliate disclosure can be found here). Your purchases help me to run my blog. Thank you!


  1. barb macaskill

    October 4, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Great review! I like each of them for different reasons. I love using the ColorBursts and am dying to try the Peerless Watercolors!! One day I will get my wish!! TFS!

  2. Marianne

    October 3, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Thanks for this collaboration post. When I look at your samples, it seems that the Peerless are easiest to blend/use for inexperienced crafters. Also love that you used similar colours for all pieces and your handwritten sentiment is nothing short of awesome!

  3. glow

    October 3, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Thanks from my heart for this awesome watercoloring medium post:) it sure helps put all the materials into perspective and prioritize them… i love the effects with that hibiscus flower. gold is so much fun: 3cheers:)

  4. Suzanne

    October 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    All very beautiful cards!! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Sue D

    October 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks for the comparison. My fave is the Peerless.

  6. Becca Cruger

    October 2, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Gah – that last handlettered piece is AWESOMESAUCE!
    These tutorials are so fun and I *really* like reading them so keep em’ coming, pretty please.

    It was so interesting to see the different kinds of mediums. Naturally the Distress Inks are my fav that you did, but those watercolor sheets look cool, too.
    Just a little tip for the gelatos – If you want them to REALLY smooth out, I would highly suggest gessoing the paper before using them. Then they blend and run together beautifully. Also, you can scribble them onto a stamping block, add water, and then pick up the paint that way.

  7. Patti Willey

    October 2, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Great comparison Ruby! I’ve wanted to up grade my water colors to the Keuretake and dismissed the thought that I even needed the Peerless, but you encouraged me to put them back on my list! Glad to see your share today thank you!

  8. Jessica

    October 2, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Ooh I agree, I like the look of the Peerless the best! Ha, I wish I had done better at keeping things simple…maybe I’ll get it next time! 😉 Fingers crossed for a kick-ass interview!! 🙂

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