Part 2 of 3 - Watercolor Painting Techniques For Beginners

Part 2 of 3 - Watercolor Painting Techniques For Beginners

Yesterday, we touched base on a few watercolor painting techniques. In case you missed it, you can read about it here.  


Today, we'll continue the discussion with five more watercolor techniques.


Let's begin. 


Flat wash 

A fundamental technique to master in watercolor painting is applying  smooth layers of color that dry to an even tone.  

Before you start, make sure you have everything you need: 

  • A large synthetic  brush that will hold the most paint. 
  • A sufficient mix of colors.  

When applying this technique, notice that on the first stroke, beads of wash form at the lower edge of each stroke. Continue to paint across the paper in the same direction to blend colors smoothly and cover areas quickly and evenly.  


Graduated wash 

Watercolor pigment can be manipulated with just water and gravity to make it  run freely over the paper. A graduated wash fades as the pigment becomes progressively diluted - making this an ideal technique for painting skies and indicated distance. 


There are two ways to lay a graduated wash 

  1. One way to lay a graduated wash is to brush clean water into the paint. However, this can cause stripes and bleeding if the paper dries unevenly. 
  2. Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle to wet the paint on the paper to prevent the paper from drying unevenly.   

Variegated wash 


The next technique is called variegated wash. In this technique, you can expect to create fantastic backgrounds and stormy skies with initial washes that transition from one color to another. This can be very tricky to do. So, set some time to practice and experiment with it until you’re happy with the results.   Pro tip: Wet the paper in a few places to lead where the colors can spread. This way, a few obvious stripes can also be avoided. 


Line & Wash 

Combining watercolor with permanent ink opens another means of expression for the watercolorist. An artist can either employ the descriptive range of lines either as a foundation (ex. Sketching with ink)  or as a final signature to further enhance the artwork at hand (Ex. Creating descriptive outlines.) 


Straight edges 


Almost all elements in a subject will have some straight lines but these do not need to be painted perfectly straight. Variety in the line is always preferable but there are some subjects  where bends will look incongruous. Ex.  telegraph poles. 

Luckily, with the aid of a few tools, artists can paint lines that will help make it look like a natural  part of the painting process. 

You will need any of the items below:   

  • A Card - paint the edge of a credit card or a mat board with a slightly stronger mix and stamp or drag. 
  • A Maulstick - use a straight edge or a maulstick as a guide. Draw down with the ferrule against the stick.  
  • A Flat Brush - chisel edges will create a variety of lines.  stamp gently for a fine line, drag for a thicker line. 

Ready to try out these techniques? We hope so!    

We’ll be sharing with you another batch of watercolor techniques tomorrow. 


Happy painting!  


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