There are several watercolor painting techniques that every
new artist should practice to make their paintings the best they can be.
New artists should try these watercolor painting techniques
on scrap watercolor paper before you apply them to your own watercolor
paintings. Testing them out will help you decide how to incorporate them in
landscapes, still life and portraits.
Wet and Dry Brush
To create a wide range of textures you need to know how to manipulate the paint. The wetness or dryness of the paint on the brush or paper affects the texture. Here is how to create different textures using paint wetness.
- To create a dry brush effect dip your brush in paint and
then wipe almost all of the paint onto a rag or paper towel. Then drag the
brush across the paper. This technique is often used for creating wood grain or
- Wet on wet painting is exactly like it sounds. You use a
brush that is loaded with paint on paper that is wet with paint or plain water.
This creates very fluid strokes and easy blending.
- A graded wash is a watercolor wash that gradually gets
lighter. To start the process, dip a wide brush into your paint. Run it across
your paper. Dip your brush into your water and then paint a stripe right next
to the last. Dip your brush into your water and make another stripe. Adding
more water to the brush dilutes the color, making it lighter.
- Lifting wet paint only from certain areas can create
interesting texture. To lift paint, wrap a cotton rag around your finger or the
tip of a pencil and press it against the area that you want to extract paint
from. Slowly pull the cloth away to avoid smudges.
Household Items For
Interesting Watercolor Textures
- You can use household items to create interesting textures
in your watercolor paintings.
- Add salt to a wet wash to create a mottled look.
- Dab paint onto an old toothbrush or paintbrush and run your
thumb across the bristles to spray flecks of paint onto the painting. This can
create texture for rocks or sand in landscape paintings.
- Dip a wadded up piece of cellophane or plastic wrap into
paint, dab it a couple times on a paper towel and then press it to your
- Spray your painting with water to create a running effect.
- Dab a watercolor wash with isopropyl alcohol to create a
bloom in the paint.
- Dunk a pencil eraser into paint and then onto your paper to
create perfect dots.
With practice, new artists will know when they need each of
these watercolor painting techniques to create the look they want.