• ✨ Finetec Gold Watercolor: Everything You Need to Know

    Gold watercolor is a surprisingly versatile supply. It benefits both the serious calligrapher and the casual artist, allowing you to add elegance to your work. Today, we’ll tackle eight FAQs that I’ve received over the years about using metallic watercolors.

    Finetec Gold Watercolor: Everything You Need to Know

    Once you’ve discovered Finetec gold watercolor, it’s difficult not to add a splash of sparkle to all of your projects! The shimmery stuff is just so elegant and eye-catching. Today, I’m taking all of the questions that I’ve received about Finetec metallics throughout the years and answering them in this article.


    1. What Can You Do With Gold (and Metallic) Watercolors?

    SO MANY THINGS. My favorite thing to do with gold watercolor is make sumptuous, sparkling calligraphy. Just add water to transform the watercolor into an “ink”, and use your dip pen to write! (Learn how here.) You can also use the watercolor to add gold accents (dots, flourishes) to your projects. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make illustrations that prominently feature your gold paint.

    The Cheater's Illuminated Letter Tutorial
    This illuminated letter tutorial is one of the most popular tutorials on the TPK blog! It relies heavily on Finetec Arabic gold watercolor to stand out.

    I’ve written dozens of tutorials over the years that include Finetec gold/metallic watercolors. You can click the button below to browse those tutorials:


    2. Is Finetec Gold Watercolor Waterproof?

    Like all watercolors, Finetec metallic watercolors are not waterproof. Expose them to too much water, and they’ll start to run. There is a workaround: spray fixative or apply Microglaze to your work. You can learn specifics about how to protect your work from water in this article.

    White and Gold Envelope Calligraphy Tutorial
    Visit this tutorial to learn how to calligraph a white and gold envelope like this one. (It’s a good idea to apply Microglaze to any watercolor-heavy envelope!)

    3. Do You Need Special Paper to Use Gold Watercolor?

    You do not need any special paper to use metallic or gold watercolor. The pigments in the watercolor are so thick, in fact, that you can successfully write on a variety of papers that the majority of traditional calligraphy inks can’t tolerate. Feathering/bleeding isn’t really a “thing” when it comes to metallic watercolors.

    Gingko Leaf Handmade Sympathy Card Tutorial
    While you can write on any paper with gold watercolor, I love it best on pretty handmade papers. This sympathy card was created on Indian Cotton Co. cotton paper.

    4. Is Gold Watercolor Opaque?

    The answer to this question depends on how much water you add to your watercolor. Add a lot of water, and you’ll get a translucent gold wash that’s good for adding accents to illustrations. Add a little bit of water, and you’ll end up with an opaque mixture that will “pop” on any paper.

    Gorgeous "Water Stained" Hydrangea Illustration Tutorial
    This hydrangea illustration includes a gold watercolor wash.

    5. Should You Use Gold Watercolor or Gold Ink to Create Calligraphy?

    In my opinion, gold watercolor is the best choice for calligraphy. There are some formidable gold inks out there, but they tend to have deal-breaker quirks. While it can get tedious to keep brushing gold watercolor on the back of your nib, Finetec’s brilliance makes it worth the trouble. For more information on gold ink alternatives, see Calligraphy Ink Recommendations: Sparkling Delights – Part I and Part II.

    How to Make the Perfect Calligraphy Thank You Card
    Many calligraphers prefer to use gold watercolors for calligraphy. (I recently used Finetec Arabic gold to make this calligraphy thank you card.)

    6. What’s the Difference Between Finetec and Finetec Coliro?

    The answer to this question is murky. When I first discovered gold watercolors, there was just one Finetec company: Finetec GmbH, a family-owned company. Somewhere along the road, Finetec split into two companies: Finetec (the new company, which is owned by a conglomeration) and Finetec GmbH Coliro (the original company). Finetec colors come in square pans, while Finetec Coliro colors continue to come in round pans. I’ve heard that there is quite a bit of drama — and possibly litigation? — between the two companies now. The Coliro website not-so-subtly states that their products “NEVER come in black square color pots”.

    This is the TPK Finetec Palette: a collection of fun and practical colors!
    TPK sells Finetec GmbH Coliro metallic and gold watercolor palettes. They come in round pans, as shown in this photo of a TPK Finetec Palette.

    From what I’ve read online, the new Finetec (square pans) are comparable quality to the round pans. Some of their color recipes are identical. Either way, I am most comfortable sticking to the colors that I fell in love with back in 2014. I source the metallic watercolors in the TPK Supplies Shop from Werner Kring, the original owner of Finetec Coliro, in Germany.

    7. Are There Other Good Golds Out There?

    You can find other gold watercolors out there that are excellent! Schmincke is another German brand that makes a nice gold watercolor (which isn’t surprising given how great their gouache is). Greenleaf and Blueberry also makes a fabulous gold! In my experience, though, the Finetec metallics give you the best bang for your buck. Don’t hesitate to try other metallic watercolors, though, if Finetec doesn’t quite do it for  you.

    Greenleaf & Blueberry Metallic Trio | The Postman's Knock
    Greenleaf & Blueberry makes artist grade watercolors. Their metallics are fabulous, but they’re considerably pricier than Finetec.

    8. Which Supplies Support the Use of Metallic Watercolors?

    If you see yourself using metallic or gold watercolor paints regularly, there are three supplies I’d recommend (besides paint brushes): a blunt art syringe, a white pencil, and a black eraser. The blunt art syringe makes it easy to keep your watercolor moist and ready to go. The white pencil is indispensable for making guidelines on dark paper, and the black eraser gets rid of the white pencil marks without leaving any residue.

    "Joy" Elegant Gold Christmas Card Tutorial Draft
    A white mechanical pencil is a must-have if you plan to write on dark paper!

    For some creatives, it may not seem practical to have gold watercolor on hand. Until I bought it, I thought it would only be one of those things that I only reach for every once in a while. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I constantly accent my work with gold dots, gold flourishes, or a bit of a gold wash. Gold watercolor just always seems to be the perfect something to add a finishing touch.

    How to Make a Sketchbook Journal (and Why You Should!)
    The laurel branches on the left seemed a bit plain when I finished drawing them in my sketchbook. The solution? Multi-sized gold circles!

    You can find Finetec Coliro metallic watercolors in the TPK Supplies Shop. I hope that this article helps you to make good use of them!