Watercolour / paper techniques…

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By definition, whiteboard animation is done with a marker on a dry-erase surface. VideoTelling is revolutionizing the concept of whiteboard animation by developing techniques on paper. 3 new styles are to be discovered: watercolour, India ink and felt.

Watercolour: the lightness and transparency of liquid colours

In watercolour, it is the play between the quantity of water and the concentration of the pigments which gives this so characteristic result, these vaporous colours. The white paper is placed on a smooth wooden board. The sheet is then moistened, then stretched and attached to the board by strips of gummed Kraft paper (a small roll of paper which becomes sticky when wet). This moistening guarantees beautiful spreading of the pigments. We start by drawing the outside edges. The artist can then apply what is called drawing gum over the patterns of the drawing. This gum is applied with a brush. It will protect the patterns during the application of the background colours.


Then the colours are applied on the sheet. The blurred effect is obtained as the pigments spread across the wet paper. To work out the more precise details, the watercolourist waits until the sheet dries. He will then use a fine brush with very little water. Before doing so, he removes the drawing gum by scraping the sheet with his finger. To create a shading effect, a thicker brush is used, dipped in a little water. The advantage of watercolour is paradoxically in the softness of the result, the soft velvety effect of the colours.


Watercolour is a unique graphic style which is characterized by this velvety aspect and the transparency of its liquid colours.

VideoTelling is innovating and reinventing whiteboard animation. Well, yes, sometimes we leave the marker and whiteboard to pick up a brush and paper. After frequenting artists for so long through our vast community of illustrators, they’ve ended up rubbing off on us. But in any case, our taste for innovative visual styles is already part of our DNA.


How are these vaporous colours obtained? The technique requires the moistening of a heavy-paper sheet, after placing it on a smooth wood board. This moistening will give this beautiful spreading of the pigments.


We start by drawing the outside edges. Then we apply the colours. We use very fine brushes, with very little water, to create the details. To obtain the shading, on the other hand, we use thicker brushes, loaded with water.


It is unquestionably the choice of artistic elegance. Visually surprising, an explainer video in watercolour communicates a modern image, at the cutting edge of what new technologies can offer. And at the same time, it is part of an artistic tradition, echoing the cultural heritage of France.

India ink:
between shadow and light,
the stroke that gives relief to the drawing

The use of India ink is a kind of homecoming. It has been used for thousands of years for writing and drawing. It’s an intense black ink made from pine soot and shellac (a resin resulting from the secretion of a sort of big caterpillar). India ink requires confidence in ones’ strokes because, once dry, it is indelible. And it dries pretty quickly.


The advantage of this technique is to be able to play on the thickness of the lines (depending on the artists stroke and the tip of the pen or brush), as well as on the shades of gray by using pure or diluted India ink. It also lets you make fine hatching for the shadows, in order to give volume to the objects you draw. The result is subtle contrasts that give the drawing a unique consistency.


Today, there are felt markers with India ink, which are very practical and also brushes that work with cartridges. There are also coloured India inks to give a warm and cheerful touch. The accuracy of the lines with their incredible downstrokes, the shadings, playing with volumes, these are the many assets of this ancestral technique which has today been rediscovered in a new use!

Markers: the resolutely colourful choice

The term “felt marker” comes from the material used in its tip. Originally, baize was used. Today, they are more often made using synthetic fibres. However, it is always the same principle – the tip is attached to a sealed compartment containing a coloured liquid which will soak into the felt. The colour can then be deposited on the paper medium.


In drawing with felt markers, the choice of paper used is important. For alcohol-based markers, Layout paper can be used, a very fine paper but which has undergone chemical treatment that prevents the colours seeping through the sheet. The marker allows clean strokes and filling-in without smudging. The prevalence of colours gives this technique life and heat.

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