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Printing watercolor art


I reallly hate to ask this qustion but... I am a watercolorist and I have whites in my art.  When I print them, they look yellow instead of white.  Can I fix this?

 CanonPixma Pro-100



How are you scanning them?


The answer is to profile everything, including your monitor.

I am taking picturesof them and importing them.  I find they have more clarity than when I scan them in.  

OK. I am a total neewby to this.  Profile everything. I will google that unless you would like to give me some hints.


I’m guessing this is probably a “white balance” problem.  Unlike a computer monitor, paper doesn’t “emit” light... it just reflects whatever light is shining on it.  If that light has a color cast (e.g. typical household “warm white” light bulbs) put out a yellow color cast.


You can get (at art supply stores) “daylight balanced” lights.   But you can also white-balance on the computer monitor.


Just find a spot you know is supposed to be white.  Click your “white balance” tool and then click that spot on the image.  It’ll force it to be “white” (well... really it forces it to be color-neutral... the “red”, “green”, and “blue” values of the pixel will be adjusted so they are all equal).   This also fixes the rest of the image (everything would look a little too warm so it will figure out how much “yellow” needs to be subtracted and the whole image is globally adjusted to eliminate the excess yellow).


There are other things that could be involved... such as the ICC profile of your printer, etc.  But the the first thing to check before you try messing with the printer, is to hover your mouse over areas that are supposed to be “white” and see if the Red/Green/Blue values of the pixels are all equal (or extremely close if not identical).  If you see red and green values (red+green makes yellow a monitor) are higher than the blue values for those pixels, then you’ll know it’s a white balance problem.



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

In addition to everything Tim says, some papers are not pure white. What paper are you using?

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic

 I am using white Finestra watercolor inkjet paper.

That looks like a bright white surface paper. Check the ICC profile that your scanner embeds when it scans your artwork and Tim’s recommended actions. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic