Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Water Soluble Drawing Materials…Like Watercolor Without the Commitment!

Drawing is fun.  If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done it all your life!  I liked to draw as a kid, like many kids do.  On a trip to the Ben Franklin, I begged my mom for a set of crayons that the package told me could be activated with a wet brush…just like paint.  What could be better than watercolor you can draw with, I thought.  The world is a wonderful place!  Imagine my crushing disappointment when I got home and my new crayons did not perform as advertised…they weren’t even a little water soluble!  It obviously still haunts me.  I’m happy to report that Wet Paint has a bunch of top notch drawing materials that play nicely with water…we’re not gonna wreck a little kid’s day (or a big kid’s, either!).

Painting with watercolor is hard.  It’s very immediate – like drawing – but there’s no backsies.  It’s transparent and – mostly – not removable.  The beauty of working with water soluble drawing materials is that they’re easier to “fix”…you have the option to use water, but you don’t have to.  Draw dry and leave it be if you want.  But – if you want to activate part (or all) of your drawing with a painterly flourish – go for it.  You can move & blend  as much or as little as you want, in a very controlled way.  It truly is like watercolor without the commitment (thanks to my friend Megan Vossler for this line which I’ve used hundreds of times since she first coined it!).

A few years ago, one of our favorite importers started bringing in Artgraf products from Viarco, fine art drawing materials manufacturers in Portugal.  Their “Tailor Shape” carbon disc quickly became my most favorite art supply.  It had almost everything: – Dense, dark marks?  Check.  The Carbon Disc is basically a black crayon, but what a black crayon!  The line is reminiscent of a finer litho crayon or China marker, but it’s more versatile than either (see below). – Easy to use, easy to hold?  Check.  The unique “Tailor Shape” (it’s like the little tablet the tailor uses to make marks on your clothes for alterations) fits comfortably in your hand and allows you to use the edge for fine lines, the sides for broad strokes. – Blendable dry or wet?  Check. Sure, you can smudge it like any old crayon, but its water solubility is its magic.  Pass a wet brush over a line and watch it move.  Touch a wet brush to your Carbon Disc and brush it on paper…you would swear it’s India ink!  Deep, dark passages, or subtle, barely there washes…they are all available to you.

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ArtGraf Monochromatic Set

Remember I said the Carbon Disc had almost everything?  Well, it was only black.  Hardly a problem, but I had dreams of a white to go with the black.  Instead I got six fantastic Earth Color Carbon Discs, then – later – three Primary Color Carbon Discs (same shape, same properties, lotsa colors that mix beautifully), but no white.  Until this past November, when the Monochromatic Set arrivedMy favorite black Carbon Disc was joined by Graphite Grey and long-awaited White!  Now you can draw with an entire range of tones, tints and colors…take that childhood disappointment!

Speaking of childhood, the watersoluble crayons I should have gotten as a youngster – if I had Wet Paint there to help me – are Caran d’Ache’s Neocolor II.  84 colors of water-blendable goodness that are perfect for coloring and drawing.  Many people are familiar with these crayons as face paint.  Though that is not their intended use, it does give you a sense of their creaminess and water solubility.  Neocolor II’s are a staple at Wet Paint…we’ve got all 84 colors individually as well as in sets.

museumwatercolorpencilsCaran d’Ache also produces the most highly regarded water soluble colored pencil, the Museum Aquarelle.  Marks made with Museum pencils that have been blended with water are indistinguishable from traditional tube or pan watercolor.  The 76 colors are remarkably lightfast, just like an artists’ grade paint.  These are the best of the best.

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Derwent XL Charcoal Blocks

English pencil manufacturer Derwent has been producing pencils since 1832.  Their Inktense extra vibrant, “ink like” watercolor pencils are still one of the most asked for products at Wet Paint, years after their introduction captivated artists worldwide.  More recently, Derwent launched a short range of traditional graphite and charcoal blocks, but with a few twists: the blocks are BIG, the blocks have color, and the blocks are water soluble.  They are: Derwent’s XL Blocks!  The XL Graphite range contains four super subtle shades, plus traditional graphite tones in soft and extra soft.  Imagine a big, squared 4B pencil without the wood!  Similarly, Derwent’s XL Charcoal Blocks come in four rich, natural colors, plus black and white.  They handle just like the less hearty compressed charcoals you’ve used in the past…they’re just bigger and stronger!  XL Blocks are available individually, or in handsome metal tin sets of six Graphite or Charcoal Blocks.

And this just scratches the surface.  I could fill a whole other post talking about watercolor pencils from Faber Castell (Durer & Durer Magnus), Koh-I-Noor (Mondeluz), Bruynzeel and Prismacolor, as well as water soluble graphite from Faber Castell, General’s, Cretacolor, Viarco (kneadable graphite…wow!), and Lyra.  But you get the idea.  We’ve got the water soluble drawing supplies to make every artists’ dream come true!


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Only at Wet Paint: ArtGraf Watersoluble Monochromatic Set

This holiday season we are featuring some of the unique, creative supplies that are regionally, or nationally, exclusive to Wet Paint. These items are great gift ideas that you will not find anywhere else. 

We’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas and our dreams have been answered: the ArtGraf Tailor Shape watersoluble chalk is now available in long awaited white! Get it as a part of the brand new Monochromatic Set (also includes new Graphite Grey & old favorite Carbon Black), but don’t wait long…this much anticipated set is sure to sell out this season, and Wet Paint is the only place in Minnesota that’s got it!

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If you’re new to ArtGraf, you’re in for a real treat.  Viarco has been manufacturing drawing materials in Portugal since 1907.  Their ArtGraf premium drawing products are some of the highest quality, most innovative supplies available to the fine artist worldwide.  We particularly love the Tailor Shape discs.  As the name implies, they are a block of pressed pigment – like what the tailor uses when marking clothes for alteration, but with fancy artists’ pigment. Draw with them like a crayon, draw color from them with a wet brush and apply like watercolor, or activate the marks in your drawing with water after you’ve put them down…Tailor Shape discs are incredibly useful and versatile. And, besides the Monochromatic Set, they’re also available in a Primary Set and an Earth Tone Set, which all mix beautifully together.

The entire range of watersoluble chalks, graphites and pencils from Viarco are on sale at Wet Paint thru the end of 2016.