Even if you're not an arty type, the chances are you'll have heard of Winsor & Newton - they're fairly big fish in the large pond of artists' materials, after all. Their classic, black and white brand logo is understated and discreet, quite in contrast to what they offer, which is a range of paints and inks in every colour you could possibly think of. And if you can think of a colour they haven't got, then they have blenders and solvents which you can use to create such a thing.
The company was founded in 1832 by what some might call the perfect combination when it comes to artists' materials: a chemist - William Winsor - and an artist - Henry Newton. They were intent on providing a reliable, lasting source of paints and brushes, and prided themselves on always keeping an eye out for anything new and exciting that they could use to introduce new products to the range. They started off by developing superior watercolours, including Chinese white, the first durable opaque white watercolour, and supplied their paints in squeezable metal tubes, ensuring that every last bit could be extracted. Later innovations led to Designers' Gouache, quick-drying and water-mixable oils and Artists' (now Professional) Acrylic.
In 1841 Queen Victoria granted Winsor & Newton a Royal Warrant, which has been endorsed ever since, the current appointment being to the Prince of Wales. This is due in part to the company's dedication to good environmental practice: Winsor & Newton ensure that their materials, manufacturing processes and even the way they communicate with artists have as little impact on the environment as possible.
We've recently dipped our toes into the Winsor & Newton part of the pond by taking on some of their markers. All of them feature dual tips, which makes them doubly useful, of course, and are available in great ranges of colours.
First up is the Water Colour Marker, available in 36 colours. It's basically watercolour paint in a pen, which is fabulous for anybody who finds paintbrushes tricky to control (or is that just me?) One end is a fine point, for detailing (or perhaps tiny, tiny paintings), and the other is a brush tip. As you'd expect, the markers can be used with water to blend and create washes; but what you might not expect is that the paint is lightfast.
Next up is the Pigment Marker. These contain high grade, fine art pigment in 85 colours, including many shades of grey. There are also two blenders: one clear, and one with white titanium dioxide pigments for softening colours. They're also lightfast - up to 100 years under normal gallery conditions - and have a comfortable ergonomic barrel. Their dual tips comprise a fine point at one end and a chisel at the other.
The ProMarker is a professional quality graphic marker available in a truly amazing palette of 147 colours plus a blender. They contain alcohol-based translucent ink, with a superior formulation that lends a consistent coverage of colour, free of streaks, and you can use them on tricky surfaces such as glass, plastic and acetate. Like the Pigment Marker, there's a fine point and a chisel tip on each marker.
And then there is the BrushMarker, with 68 colours to choose from, plus a useful blender. They're very similar to the ProMarker, in that they contain alcohol-based ink with superior coverage qualities, but feature a brush tip instead of the fine point.
Finally, there are a couple of markers available which contain the sort of ink that will really make your artwork stand out! NeonMarkers contain water-based ink in poke-your-eye-out fluorescent colours and are available in a set of 6: Luminous Yellow, Glowing Green, Electric Pink, Volt Blue, Spark Red and Radiant Orange. On a similar theme, the Metallic Markers also come in 6 colours - Violet, Blue, Green, Silver, Gold and Red Gold - but contain lightfast pigment ink.
If you'd like to join us in the Winsor & Newton pond, there are assorted sets of all the markers, which are a great way to get started. And if you just can't decide on a particular type, try the Assorted Range of 24, which offers 12 ProMarkers, 6 BrushMarkers, 3 NeonMarkers and 3 Metallic Markers.
19 November 2018