Watercolor Beginner Tips - Art-n-Fly

What is the big craze that has lasted over time with watercolor paint?

Many artists choose watercolor as their favorite medium because of the endless possibilities they can bring. Some techniques even involve household items like salt (Check out our previous post to see how you can use salt to add some texture to your watercolor paintings:https://www.artnfly.com/blogs/tutorials/watercolor-hacks ).

Some of the most basic techniques in watercolor painting is either a flat wash, wet on dry or a wet on wet. These techniques are for the most part self-explanatory. The most common one we all know is a flat wash.

In short, a flat wash is dipping your brush into paint and water, then applying said water-based solution on to a piece of paper or surface you want. The watercolor should be a monogamous hue, one color without blending, bleeding or mixing whatsoever. Note, the color you dip is the color you get.

Now, wet on dry takes a different approach. Wet on dry is straightforward; adding more watercolor on top of the dry, flat wash. When you add more wet paint onto the now dry surface, you are now creating two distinct layers to your painting. Using this affect, one can see the different strokes you used in real-time--thus, adding a different dynamic to painting itself. The layer added previously should have a translucent look, meaning it is lighter or “see-through”.

Wet on wet is similar in application. While the surface is still wet, using the wet paint (watercolor), one would add another layer to the wet, colored surface. Wet on wet is an amazing technique to use when adding texture to any type of painting like trees, grass, greenery, oceans and such.

A key rule to keep in mind when using watercolors is to always go from dark to light. The reason why is because when using watercolors, it is easier to blend with light than dark. With that in mind, a graded wash follows the same rule. Going from dark to light creates a smoother transition of colors which can be perfect for capturing breathtaking sunsets, skies and more. First, start your brush with more paint than water. Secondly, stroke the brush across and notice the gradient change of color. Once done, instead of adding more paint than water, you would do the opposite and add a bit more water to the paint. Do this process in order to create a clean transition of colors, aligning them perfectly.

In addition to these techniques, there’s also another technique called watercolor blossoms which has been widely recognized by the watercolor Impressionist Claude Monet. Dipping paint and water onto the brush, then adding to a damp, (not too wet or too dry) colored surface will take over the layer underneath.

Lastly, there’s also a technique called “backwashing” which is where you would apply watercolor normally and instead of adding more paint, you would do the complete opposite and use water onto the wet surface to create a translucent effect.

Don’t worry if you made a mistake while creating your earliest pieces. Whether it was your hand getting a bit carried away or say you added more water than color or the other way around. The good fortune  of using watercolor is you have the ability to correct it by either lifting the color off or simply using an eraser and erase it.Using a damp brush, just simply lift the color off. The damp brush acts like a sponge and absorbs the color off enough to make it seem nothing was ever there. If the watercolor however is dry, a simple use of an eraser can do the trick.

As has been noted, these techniques should take your watercolor artwork to the next level. By adding texture, a smooth transition of colors whether it is bleeding or creating rough edges, these are the same techniques prolific, watercolor artists used before. Applying these techniques with the proper use of your imagination, can lead to an endless possibilities so get creative! Do not be afraid to experiment with watercolors because who knows what other techniques you can come up with!

You can browse our watercolor sets here to get started: https://www.artnfly.com/collections/paint

Artwork via: @snowsart

4 Responses

Laurie Voight
Laurie Voight

January 16, 2024

Love the tips

pencil sketch
pencil sketch

March 31, 2022

Convert your images into the pencil sketch photo with different colourful drawing effect. This app contains also kid’s hand-drawn colour draw sketch.

Claire Masters
Claire Masters

July 19, 2021

I didn’t previously know that there are numerous techniques to watercolor painting. My husband and I want to venture into different activities so we can find a different hobby. This year we decided that we want to try watercolor painting. I’ll be sure to share this article with him and maybe suggest that we take watercolor painting courses to help us begin. https://birgitoconnor.com/online-courses


March 09, 2020

Gr8 work
I loved it

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