Introduction and What is Paint?

Jill Poyerd
A free video tutorial from Jill Poyerd
Professional Artist and Fine Arts Educator
4.7 instructor rating • 7 courses • 18,481 students

Lecture description

After gaining an understanding of watercolor's long history, it's important to answer the most basic questions, such as What is paint? What is pigment? And what is a binder?

Learn more from the full course

Foundations for Mastering Watercolor Painting

An in-depth, approachable look at painting materials that will make mastering the medium truly possible.

03:19:26 of on-demand video • Updated May 2020

  • Learn watercolor techniques quicker and easier
  • Understand what watercolor paint is and how it is unique
  • Discern how a paint will perform based on its pigment property
  • Gain insight into water's important role in the water media painting process
  • Appreciate the importance of surface texture and structure when you paint
  • Understand the differences between brush materials
  • Problem-solve with success when something goes wrong in the painting process
  • Feel freer in developing your own artistic voice
English I'm a firm believer that if you're going to learn a specific form of painting it's really important to know as much as you can about the makeup of the paint, the related materials, and to understand how it differs from other paints. This course deals with watercolor paints and delves into the how and the why behind the painting medium. It functions as a groundwork for follow-on courses that will cover techniques and processes. By learning some of the attributes, the history, and even the science behind the materials you'll be working with you can dramatically increase your learning curve. Let's begin by defining what paint is. All artist paints are made up of two primary ingredients: pigment and a liquid binder. Pigment is simply ground minerals or plant or animal matter that give the paint its color. This material is ground into a fine powder and then mixed with a special liquid called a binder. Binders give paint its workability; its form. It's really what makes paint "paint" and not just a pile of dust. Unlike a dye where the pigment actually dissolves in the water. Paint pigment particles are suspended in the water-binder solution. In basic terms, they float in the liquid until the water is absorbed or evaporates. If you didn't have a binder added to the paint, when the liquid was gone there would be nothing to hold the pigment onto the painting surface. It could simply brush off. Binders seal the pigment onto the surface. The binder is the big difference between paints. All painting mediums use pigment to establish the color of the paint. But each one uses a different binder, giving each paint some unique characteristics. In the next video, we'll see how each of the most common painting mediums compare to watercolor paint.