Watercolor isn’t terribly expensive compared to other hobbies, which is the problem because it’s easier to hoard stuff. Starting with a palette, a few brushes and paint, I now have a large-size paper bag that takes up one corner of my room. (Let’s just say I now have three palettes, haha.) It doesn’t help that I have an enabler-friend (hello, Mitzi), who tempts me with photos of art supplies to shop for. (Though deep inside I’m thankful for all the tips—I don’t know anything about crafts. I didn’t like art class in grade school because I preferred to make a mess and the teachers preferred that we follow the ‘rules.’)
There’s a dearth of good art supplies in Manila, at least as far as mainstream bookstores are concerned. It’s hard to find low- to mid-range watercolor pads. (Our theory: they’ve been hoarded by watercolor workshop facilitators, haha.) I eventually had to settle with a relative expensive one from Monologue (about P800).
Prior to this, I used Berkeley (180gsm)—my first ever pad—and so that set the standard for me. I found that it was easier to achieve a wash effect there: I could play around with the colors a lot longer. Also, layering colors was more uniformed and opaque with Berkeley.
With Monologue, I feel that the paper is less absorbent so getting a washed effect is a bit trickier—the paint would spread too thin and in varying degrees of opaqueness. It’s so hard to get a solid block of color here, unless you do a drybrush technique.
With Berkeley (top), I find it easier to paint a solid block of color; with Monologue, I feel like the paper rejects the paint.
I’m still an amateur so I’m open to hearing why this may be so: I may be the one at fault.
Also, if you want your work firmly secured, you may want another brand: the paper easily gets torn off, which is fine if you’d like to frame your work but not if you want them archived in one book. Also, when water got into the spine, the paint easily crept into the succeeding pages so I now need to have an extra paper under the page I’m working on to protect the rest.
Now the pros: it looks gorgeous. The hardbound cover is in velvet, which makes it look and feel luxurious. The texture is smoother than Berkeley’s. Since the paper is 200gsm, there is definitely less warping with Monologue. The paper is also white (compared to Berkeley’s beige), which sets off some of my images quite beautifully.