• Demos
June 21, 2023

TRC USA’s TRAVEL & SKETCH Collaboration and Watercolor Exploration with April Wu

Artist and TRC USA brand representative April Wu shares about a recent collaboration with Art Toolkit and her tips for urban sketching.

By April Wu

An open paint-filled palette with a brush and notebook open on a wooden table.

This is a recording of our live demo from Wednesday, June 14th with Art Toolkit founder Maria Coryell-Martin and April Wu from TRAVELER’S COMPANY USA to learn about the second collaboration of the TRAVEL & SKETCH Limited Edition Palette Series.

In the demo, April showcased the new palette offerings, the TRC USA Limited SPIRAL RING NOTEBOOK, and her favorite sketching techniques with watercolor. We also discussed the Explore Palette Plus color palette and what kinds of fun color mixing you can do with it.

April shared some follow-up notes that we have listed below, along with photos of the color mixes and notebook pages she referenced during the livestream.

April’s Notes

An open paint filled palette with matching notebook swatches lay on a wooden table with another sketchbook and closed bronze palette.
My Folio Palette Color Key | April Wu

My paint brand of choice in this palette is Holbein, a Japanese watercolor brand with saturated and clean pigments. I arranged it in a rainbow gradient from light and bright colors on the left to darker hues on the right. I also used the Mixing Pans to break up my painting space and I could keep separate hues of my mixes clean and away from muddier colors. These 30 colors contain the basic 12 hues of your Explore Palette Plus, and my personal favorite (and hard to mix) colors such as Lilac, Viridian Hue, and Opera. I also have one pan with white gouache to use as final bright highlights in my sketches.

Two open paint filled palettes with a notebook opened to swatches of green mixes, all laying on a wooden table.
Mixing Greens | April Wu

I love mixing greens, and I experimented with different types of hues I can create using the Explore Palette Plus colors. The key is to remember yellow + blue equals green and have fun with different types of yellow (brown, sienna, umber) and blue (phthalo, turquoise, Prussian). In this cheat sheet, I also demonstrated how to create dimension to a patch of a green tree by adding darker shading at the bottom of the foliage.

A notebook with color mixes and sample thumbnail sketches of mugs next to stone, sand, and dirt mixes on a wooden table with open paint-filled palettes.
Urban sketching environment cheat sheets | April Wu

Here are ways to mix colors for stone, pavement, sunlit ground, dirt, and brick, common hues found in urban sketching scenarios. Also, experiment with shadows by mixing unexpected colors and being generous with the amount of pigment in the mixes. Because in real life, shadows still reflect some color of the main subject, these mixtures become more interesting shadows rather than just Payne’s Grey or black.

An open paint-filled palette and open notebook with a bright, cherry blossom sketch lay on a wooden table with various sketching supplies.
A quick cherry blossom sketch | April Wu

In the quick demo, I demonstrated how I typically take a 3-step approach to filling a picture with watercolor paint: Light base colors, darker shadows, and emphasizing dark spots plus shading on the ground.

Thank you, April, for sharing all of your good notes and sketches! As a final share, she included some promotional sketches for two upcoming events: mark your calendar for an upcoming sketch crawl at Kerry Park in Seattle on July 1st and for Sketcher Fest in Edmonds, WA from July 14th-16th!

An open paint filled palette with open notebook with a Seattle skyline sketch reading "Travel & Sketch with Art Toolkit July 1st" lay on a wooden table with another sketchbook and closed bronze palette.
Kerry Park | April Wu
An open paint filled palette with open notebook with a ferry boat sketch reading TRC USA Pop-Up @ Sketcher Fest Edmonds lay on a wooden table with another sketchbook and closed bronze palette.
Sketcher Fest | April Wu

Photos courtesy of April Wu.

An artist sites on a rock, dipping a paintbrush in a Pocket Palette.

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