Sketchbook Practice: Back to Basics Watercolor Fundamentals | Ohn Mar Win | Skillshare

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Sketchbook Practice: Back to Basics Watercolor Fundamentals

teacher avatar Ohn Mar Win, Illustrator Artist Educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      There Are No Mistakes


    • 3.

      Materials - Paint


    • 4.

      Materials - Brushes


    • 5.

      Materials - Paper


    • 6.

      Loading The Brush


    • 7.

      Timings and Note Taking


    • 8.

      Wet on Wet / Wet on Dry Explanation


    • 9.

      Experiment 1 - Pigment in Water


    • 10.

      Experiment 2 - Blending


    • 11.

      Experiment 3 - Overlapping


    • 12.

      Experiment 4 - Edges


    • 13.

      Blooms/ Backruns/ Cauliflowers


    • 14.

      Experiment 5 - Cauliflowers


    • 15.

      Avoiding Blooms


    • 16.

      Final Thoughts


    • 17.

      BONUS - Misty Treeline Study


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About This Class

As a self taught watercolorist I know what its like to be a beginner. I pretty much learnt through trial and error over the last three and a half years, and 16 sketchbooks. As you can imagine there was a lot of frustration and overworking as it was pretty hit and miss. In this informative and fact finding class we are going to look at the basics of the wet on wet technique that I often use in my sketchbook these days

There will be a series of 5 'timed experiments' which will look at how the:

- quality of paint

- brand of paper

- water pigment ratio

- water load on brush 

with affect the drying time, and when subsequent layers are added.

Time is crucial factor in determining the outcome when using watercolour, whether you're blending or adding another wash. If you add pigment or water at the various times - anywhere from 5 - 150 seconds from when the paint first touches the paper you will achieve quite different results.

If your a beginner to watercolours or if you just want to investigate wet on wet further please join me in this class to sidestep some of the guesswork involved.

You will need

2/3 brushes : medium and large

Watercolours  - pans or tubes ( even if you only have 6 colours)

Watercolor paper or watercolour sketchbook

A TIMER or count very carefully in your head

The way I've set out this class ensures that you are able to find out for YOURSELF exactly how your own paints and chosen paper with work throughout these experiments. I'm going to be changing up the paper, and paints I use as they will most likely give different results, along with the different drying times. Both you and I will achieve varying effects and outcomes and thats fine as we're both learning together. 

At the end of the experiments you will have several sheets of paper with your notes, times and swatches (of sorts) Armed with working knowledge from these you will have laid the foundations for using wet on wet and become more comfortable with it.

I'd like to say a very special mention to Karina Petersen who very kindly let me use some of her work in the Final Thoughts video

You can follow her amazing work on IG HERE

Below are a list of the papers, warercolour and brushes I use in my class BUT PLEASE use whatever you have handy ( its better to do these experiments than wait for the 'right' paper)


- Canson Cold Pressed 300 gsm

- Arches Cold Pressed 300gsm

- Winsor & Newton Cold Pressed 300gsm

- Hahnnemuhle Hot Pressed 300gsm


Winsor and Newton Cotman Pocket Plus 12 half pan

Winsor & Newton Professional 24 half pan


Daler Rowney Aquafine Round No12

Daler Rowney Aquafine Round No14

Winsor & Newton Cotman 111 series No10

Winsor & Newton Cotman 111 series No 8


If you enjoyed this class then please check out the other Watercolor classes I have on Skillshare

Meet Your Teacher

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Ohn Mar Win

Illustrator Artist Educator

Top Teacher

Hello I'm Ohn Mar a UK based artist, illustrator author with a long and varied 20 year career. 

I am a great advocate of sketchbooks having filled over 30+, which each serving as a record of my creative journey as a self-taught watercolourist for the last 7 years. They have helped capture my explorations in texture, line and tone as I extend my knowledge with this medium.  I also share process videos and sketchbook tours on my YouTube channel - please subscribe! 



Filling my sketchbooks remains a constant in my life,  and furthermore inspiring many folks to pick up a paintbrush. Oftentimes these sketch explorations provide the basis for classes here on Skil... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hello, I'm Omar and I"m a illustrator surface designer. I'm also a self-taught water colorist who pretty much learned through trial and error, over the last three-and-a-half years and 16 sketch works how to paint mold colors. In the beginning, it really was hit and miss, which led to a lot of frustration and overworking. So I honestly do know what it feels like to be a beginner. In this fun, fact finding class, we are going to dive deep into the wet-on-wet technique that I often use in my sketches. So during this series of experiments, we're going to look at the different materials like paper, and paint, and brushes and factor these in with the all important drying times. We know this will probably affect and impact results, but let's see what happens. So if you're a beginner to mold colors, or if you just want to investigate the wet-on-wet technique further, please join me in this memorable class to sidestep some of the guess-work involved, please make sure you have your timer ready. 2. There Are No Mistakes: Thank you for joining me in this class. Because of the way I've set out this class, I really hope you'll be able to find out for yourself exactly how your own paint and chosen paper will work throughout a series of fairly controlled experiments that's going to follow. I'll be using different brands of paper and also student and professional-grade board color paints because I know a lot of you will be using different products. I thought it would be really interesting to see how the variations in the paper and the paints would affect the results, if any because I don't know at this stage what's going to happen. What we're going to end up with is several sheets of observations and notes from our watercolor experiments. Where we are also going to note the times. I decided to call these experiments because we are trying to test out the theory that paint will behave differently under certain conditions. We're going to be putting their materials under scrutiny and observing and assessing the outcomes as part of our research. Hopefully, it will give us further insight into certain causes and effects which we can interpret and draw conclusions from. I do very much urge you to conduct your own experiment as you would learn so much more than simply watching me during this class. I am certain that almost everybody will have slightly different results. And that's absolutely fine because we're both learning together, which is going to be great. I don't know if you're a beginner or advance, but the way we hold ourselves during our painting sessions and our attitude, I'm sure affects the outcome. I'd like you to let go of any past fears or not so great practices you had last week or last month and start fresh with this class. Maybe take three deep breaths into your belly and then imagine a very relaxed state. See yourself painting where you are so relaxed and enjoying the process of discovering what your paints can do. Then simply think or say to yourself, I am enjoying my watercolor practice with a smile, of course. The reason why I've called this particular video class, there are no mistakes, is we are gauging the relationship you, yourself have with your materials. More than what I'm showing you is the relationship I have with some of my materials. I want your materials to work for you and not bring you frustration. What occurs when you drop that water into ultramarine or whatever is a valid result. Whatever result you achieve is valid, please be mindful of this. I'm kind of saying be present when you paint because it is very rewarding. I don't want you to be fixated on the outcome. What you see me create and the effects that I create is not going to be the same as yours. I don't want you to think, my paint didn't do that. I've done something wrong. That is not the case at all. There absolutely is value in this and don't think I'm wasting my time or I'm wasting my papers. In order to create you have to discover for yourself causes and effects. Please be easy on yourself, especially if you're a beginner. Look at this as a really fun exercise that is going to really help you in future watercolor practice. 3. Materials - Paint: I want to go over the basics like paint, brushes and paper. And I will be showing a variety, but please remember it's down to personal preference and what your budget may allow. I would recommend shopping for the best quality you can afford at Art Supply stores, Independent shops, as well as Amazon and eBay.I know when you're first starting out, you're really worried about spoiling expensive papers or paints, but I do think it is really important that you understand how your materials work. I want to show you my very first painting, I started using when I began my sketch rip practice for my school year scale. I actually bought the second hand off eBay for 15 pounds, and they had barely been used. You must remember back then that I was a stay at home mom, and I just wanted to give watercolors a try because I've never used it before.This is the Winsor and Newton Cotman watercolors, and it's a really great start. If you're just beginning, he has a really great variety of mixing possibilities and is actually the set that I give out during my in-person watercolor workshops. There's primary colors like two reds, two yellows, along with two greens, a brown, black, and a white.It may seem like a really small set, but trust me, I've used this set and there is a whole host of colors that you can create with just these. So try and buy the most that you can afford.This is the set that I use on almost a daily basis, is the Winsor and Newton 24 pan professional set. And it's got a lot more colors in it that I use regularly, like Prussian Blue, Indigo, Winsor as well as Payne's gray, which I love, and Permanent Rose and Raw Sienna. I actually had to replace the two yellows at the end because I use them so much.You're probably wondering, what is the difference between these two sets and why do I use hands. The professional quality paints contain a lot more pigment. So basically, you'll be picking up a lot more color when you dip your brush into the paint compared to the student Cotman set.Watercolors are basically paints that are held together by binder, usually called Gum Arabic. Although the students set will still retain its brightness when it's used, the advantage of the professional set is it is also a live fast, which means that the artwork will not fade.One of the questions I'm asked a lot is, why do I use panels of paint over the tubes of water color. And it's entirely preference. It is convenient for me to use pans because I can take it away with me on holiday. But for the purposes of this class, please use what you're most comfortable with.Using pans or tubes, it doesn't really matter for this class. You are still going to be able to assess the results of your experiments. 4. Materials - Brushes: I have a variety of brushes I use for watercolor. Often, they have synthetic bristles like these. The two on the left are Winsor & Newton, they're my number 8 & 10, they're my favorite. The other two are Daler Rowney, which are much larger, but they are both round brushes, which means that I can use the very tip for fine work but also apply pressure to create a bigger area for painting. These two are my very big brushes, I use for large areas of wash. These are actually sable brushes, which you may not want to use because of the ethical aspect, but I use them for my very fine work. I also have extra brushes I use for adding texture like this fan brush and also this sword liner brush from Derwent. When I first started my practice, I used for a very long time Pentel water brushes like these, although there are other brands. The water is actually placed in the barrel, which unscrews. So technically, you don't have to use separate water when painting. I found them very handy as a beginner for discovering some wet on wet techniques, and they have quite a lot of flexibility, although it's a lot more controllable than using a full-on synthetic brush like the Daler Rowney. That was just my personal opinion when I started. For this class, I do recommend having at least one large, one medium and one small brush. I've been asked quite often how I hold my brush and this is a video to demonstrate the angle of the brush when I paint, and also I use my thumb and two fingers. Not very tight. It's quite gentle so that there's a lot of flexibility and it's where the metal part meets that wooden handle. If you hold the brush to close to the bristles, you won't have much range of movement, but I might move my thumb and fingers down slightly if I want to do a little bit more detailed work or use a small brush. 5. Materials - Paper : I'm going to show you a few different papers that I'll be trialing throughout this class. I have mainly use the Moleskin sketchbook and the Windsor and Newton paper which are both cold pressed. But please, I don't think you have to go out and buy all these papers just for this class, please use what you have at hand. I just thought it would be really interesting for me because I don't use the Cans-on and the Arches myself to see the results and share it with you. Although, over time, you might like to try out different materials and brands yourself. And you'll find your own preference. If you followed me on Instagram for quite a few years, you'll know that over three years ago I started off using little Moleskin pocket watercolor sketch books. All of them are 200 GSM. I've actually moved onto the next size up and Moleskin now produce them in a portrait version, which is great. I tend to paint on both sides because of the weight of paper it can actually take that sort of handling. This is a sketch book I took with me to America last month. Now we're moving on to the Windsor Newton and it's cold pressed, a 100 percent cotton, and 300 GSM. It has a lot of texture in it or you can say it's very taffy. So If I bring it up close, you can see there's a lot of bumps and textures there and that will actually hold that paint in place. This is the paper that I give out in workshops as well. Arches is actually a brand I've never used. This is a great opportunity for me to try it out. Again it's cold pressed and it's 300 GSM. If we look a little bit closely again there is, I think, a little bit less texture than the Windsor and Newton. So it will be really interesting to see how it affects the paints. Another brand, but I've never personally used, is Canson. Comes in A4. It is cold pressed and it's 300 GSM as well. Let's take a look on the inside and see how it compares to the others. It looks quite a lot smoother than the other two. I'm really looking forward to using this one and seeing how the results vary. The last one I'm going to look at is actually the hahnemuhle. It is a hot pressed and I had never used hot pressed watercolor paper. So this is going to be really really interesting for me to see how this works with my Windsor and Newton paints. You can see it is so smooth and there is not a mark to be seen on that. So I'm really looking forward to getting started with our experiment. I want to emphasize again, you absolutely do not need four sets of watercolor papers. Its just for me to gauge what happens when you use different materials. So please use what you have to hand. I also suggest having some kitchen roll handy because it's really great for absorbing excess pigment or excess water from your brushes. And finally, another essential is a very large jar or container of clean water, which you should try to clean very often. 6. Loading The Brush: One of the ways that will affect the experiment is actually how much water we have loaded on the brush when we mix the paint, and also how much paint is on the brush before we apply it to the paper. It'll be pretty obvious, but if it's too watered down, add more pigment, and if it's too thick, add more water. Although we want the paint to flow smoothly, please note that if you do add too much water, it means there is less pigment and there's a chance that it's going to pool or paddle, and I will talk about this later on. Please play around with the consistency until you find something that suits your style. Throughout this class, I will try and show you the load of my brush with either water or paint. Now, I want to show you some of the simple strikes we'll be using throughout this class. In one of the larger brushes you have, we're going to make a square of sorts using a fully loaded brush with paint. So don't brush it against the side of the palette. We're just going to make a simple stroke across the sheet, and then draw it downwards in quick strikes next to each other, and finish with a line along the bottom. It does not have to be perfect. I will explain to you what that white dot is later. As I've mentioned already, it does not have to be a perfect square. The main thing here is to work really quickly to create that square, because we are going to do some things to it later on when it's fully dry. Just for added contrast, we're also going to create some circles, and we'll see what happens to the paint quality when we create these. what I do is place the tip of the brush firmly onto the paper and then it fans out a bit, and I usually go around in an anticlockwise motion. It's a good idea to practice these just using plain water just to get the wrist action right, and so you get a smooth movement. 7. Timings and Note Taking: For the purposes of this class, you either need a timer on your phone or just count in your head. But I'm telling you some of it could go up to about two or three minutes. One of the main fundamentals of odd colors is knowing the rate at which the water soaks into the paper, in order to achieve desired results. That's why we'll be counting the length of time the water stays on the surface of the paper. It will eventually soak in. This is what we're going to try and measure at different intervals. Probably at five seconds, 30 seconds, 60, 90, and go on a little bit more than that. In the end we're going to have a sheet of notes and swatches from the experiments. We can see the results in front of us. Then we can compare and contrast the different variables at work. Please note, when I recorded this class, it was a really dark day in the middle of winter, which gave certain results. Compared to if I had recorded this in high summer; and it was like 30 Celsius outside. It would be a great idea to note down the time of day, the brushes you used; if you're a beginner, the paper you used, and also the paint that you used. 8. Wet on Wet / Wet on Dry Explanation: What we're dealing with in basic terms is high and low concentrations of pigment in water to achieve the effects that we want. Judging the amount of time will take a lot of practice, but that's why we're here. I'm demonstrating here the very basic wet on wet technique. It is when a thin layer of paint is applied and while it's still wet, a new layer is added, so it blends in with the first layer, and there will be little defined edges or brushstrokes as they'll easily blend together. The pigment can only applied where there is water and it will follow the direction that the water is spreading, and I really love watching this take place. We can use this to create effect for various projects, where we want to create something quite dramatic. Here, I'd like to share with you one of the warm-up exercises I have for my loose and lively watercolor drinks glass. And you can see where I've added dark Payne's gray to the shape of glasses that I've just created reporter, and you can see how dramatic those results were. This is orange juice and also cola on the right-hand side. I'll provide a link to this particular sketchbook practice class for drinks in the notes. This page was actually used in equities card project. You can see some of the subtle blending in the middle where it's very pale, but also in the corner, it's quite dark and there is some Kali flowering there. I'll talk to you about that later, and I'll give you a look at the card that was created with it in just a minute. This is the greetings card that was created using the work I just showed you, and you can see it picked up on the lovely textural qualities that I was able to create, and the blending is really nice. I'm glad the manufacturer was able to pick up on all the nuances here. Another really good example I've got in my sketch book is these cupcakes, where the icing and the cherry meets. If I give you a little close-up, you can see that the colors have actually merged together because the paint was still wet. This side of gene is a great example of the pigment only flowing where there is concentrations of water, so it follows the contours of that regime. Remember those two squares I painted earlier. This is now completely dry and it usually takes about five or six minutes in standard conditions. You can see that in the middle of the red square, it has pulled. It means that there was quite a lot of watery pigment and that is where the pigment has settled, and you can see it just there on the edge of that orange square as well. And actually that white dot was probably where I put a finger down that hard hand cream on. So it's basically acted as a resist. Now I want to demonstrate the wet on dry technique. At this point, I need to point out that they use completely dry. And there's going to be very little interaction between the first layer and the second layer of paint which you can see me applying now. This lets you give your painting more details and adds depth. It will only have a defined edge if the layer underneath is fairly dry. Although I loved doing wet on wet, there has to be times when I have to use the wet on dry technique, so that I can add details in flowers or fruits. It gives off that lovely transducer quality, as you can see in the yellow layer that I'm applying now. I want to show you some further examples of the dry on wet technique, these awesome balloons I did for greetings card. You can see right in the background are pale balloons and I had painted in much brighter hues on top. I could only achieve this if the layer underneath was completely dry, otherwise they would have just merged. Another good example of the dry on wet are these roses. If you look beyond the line work, you can see that there was wet on wet happening in the background and I let that dry completely. This is another example where the client wanted it in a more a neutral hue, and it is exactly the same technique. I let the wet on wet dry and then I added the line work to recreate the petals of those roses. This has actually been made into a product here is. This was made into a role rap and also tissue paper for gift bags. As you can see, it's very faint, but you can just make out the texture in the background and also the line work which was applied when the paint was dry. 9. Experiment 1 - Pigment in Water: Before we start with our first experiment, I just want you to play with plain water. Yes, you heard me correctly. I would like you to load a large brush either a flattened or a round one and just draw it very gently across the side of your water jar. Using gentle pressure, grow the brush down in a short stroke and then count to five, and then draw another stroke and count to five. Please do make a note of the time, whether it's 5, 10 or 15 seconds that the water has been allowed to sit on the paper. What we're observing here is actually the time it takes for water to start soaking into the paper. By the time it gets to 25 and 30 seconds, there is a sheen contrasted with the shine that you see at 5 and 10 seconds, because the water hasn't yet started soaking into this paper. We are going to start off really simply by placing just a drop of pigment into water, but don't let this fool you because there is a lot of merit in observing and learning from this so please have your timer ready. For experiment 1, I'll be using the Cotman Watercolors with the Huhnemuhle and the Canson papers. I'm going to repeat this experiment on both pieces of paper so that you can see if there's any differences. Choose a large brush for the water and then a smaller brush, for the pigment that we're going to drop into it. For this experiment, I do recommend choosing quite a strong color because we want to see what this pigment does and fully load that smaller brush. Again, to immerse that larger brush into the water give it switched around. But I'm not going to roll across the lip of the jar. First of all, I'll make a note of the experiment that we're doing, the paint and the paper. Starting off with that larger brush that's only got water on it. We're going to make two downward strokes in a rough square or rectangular shape and then let's wait five seconds and then we are going to drop in that pigment. There we go. There's that purple and it's spread straightway. We are going to paint another square of water and count to 20 seconds and you can see it has spread, but not as far as the five second one. We're going to carry on doing this across the page. This is actually the 40 second square, but I did notice that that square is a little bit shinier. Now let's put the water down for the 60 second square. While we're counting down, let's make a note of that times before we forget. I'm going to drop in a spot of pigment in that corner. It is actually quite dry so I decided then to add pigment to the top corner which was still damp. Look at the difference in that. Now let's move on to the 100 second square. Although I think I actually counted to 90 and let's see what happens. That part was still damp and that part was definitely drying out so again, it's a case of the water not being spread evenly. Now we're going to pull the brush downwards in a long stripe and again, use that purple. But we are going to follow that, stripe down using the tip of that brush. That's a five seconds. This is our 20 seconds. You can see there's a difference there. Moving on to the 40 seconds. Again, we're going to bring in the smaller brush and just using the tip, follow that, stripe down. I'm going to talk about what happens there. Now moving onto the 60 second stripe, if you look at the top right, I actually decided to add another little square of water up there because I wanted to see what would happen at 200 seconds. Now applying the stripe that corresponds with the 60 seconds worth of water on the paper. Now I'm applying the water stripe for the 100 seconds. This is the purple pigment going down onto that. Let's go back up to that top right corner. I'd like you to have a really good look at the results. Have a in-depth compare and contrast session. What marks and variations in these marks are we seeing from the five seconds to the 100 seconds? Also compare if you are adding it to a square of water compared to if you're adding it to a stripe of water and for further reference, take a note of where this water is pooling because that will become important later. Now for comparison sake, I'm going to do exactly the same with the Huhnemuhle paper using the Cotman purple pigment. Five seconds, 20 seconds, 40, 60, and 90. Because this is hot pressed, I'm really interested to see how this affects the results and I'm always open to learning. You can see with the 40, 60, and 90 second squares, I've actually added the pigment in slightly different sections as well because I feel the water dried unevenly, but we can talk about that. Now we're moving on to the stripes. Let's see what happens here. Some really interesting things happening. I noted here that I had to use two stripes of water in order to get any result with the Huhnemuhle, Which is interesting because it's really absorbent. But again, let's discuss this later. Carrying on with the 40 seconds and the 60 seconds. Now that we have both of these fully dried naturally, let's take a closer look beginning with the Cotman on the Canson paper. As you can see, the 5 second one really spread out at 40 seconds it still spread out, but it's a lot more diffused and less dramatic. The 60 second one, I think the water dried unevenly and the same again with a 100 second one, but that was actually 200 seconds at the end. It's only spreading quite a small area. Now let's move on to the stripes. You can see where the edge of that water had been in the first one quite dramatically and at the bottom and by the time we get to 40 seconds, the water had pooled at the bottom, but the rest of it had been drying quite evenly. Again, you can see it at the 100 second mark. Now we're moving onto the Huhnemuhle. There are some really lovely textures happening there, the cool curly flowers and I'm going to explain that later on in this class, but look at what's happened at 40 and 60 seconds. Again, the water dried unevenly at 90 seconds. There's very little spread. These are the stripes I've created and please take note that I felt I needed to use more water with this particular paper. I've written very absorbent and you can write whatever notes you like. You can see that where there has been less water, all I've created is a stripe that has not spread at all and it's dried exactly where I put the stroke. Here's a really brief outline of the findings that I felt we saw. I have to be mindful of spreading that water evenly in the first place because it could lead to pooling of the water which affects the results and also the hot press paper is really absorbent and there's very little reaction by 40 seconds. 10. Experiment 2 - Blending: In this next experiment, where we're just going to do some really basic blending. We're going to choose two colors to place next to each other so that they literally just touching or kissing to see what happens at the different time intervals. I do suggest mixing up quite a lot of the two colors that you choose. First of all, I've got my large brush and I'm mixing up this lovely red, and then we have a second brush, I'm mixing up a yellow, so I've got them both to hand ready for when we start with the experiment. Fully load your first brush with your color and then switch over to your second brush. Then, take your second brush and just do the same movement downwards so they virtually kiss all the way down. Move on to the next section along which will be the 20 second mark. At this point, I want to say that I found the Winsor & Newton very absorbent, so I was putting the stroke on twice, as you can see here. We're going to carry it on along the page where we're going to look at the 40 seconds and also the 60 seconds doing exactly the same, where the second paint brush just kisses the first layer of paint that we put down. This is the 60 seconds, and you can see there's very little reaction, but let's see what happens when it's fully dry. Now, using exactly the same colors, I want you to add a lot more water to your second color. In this case, it's yellow, so it's going to become much paler because there's more water in there compared to the pigment. Again, put your color down, count to five, place that much diluted stroke next to the first stroke, as you did before so it just touches, and then add your notes. With this part of experiment, I was quite keen to see how much the two colors would spread so, that's why I created a larger area for this to happen, and I wanted to see if there were any changes. Carry on the rest of the sheet. Count 20, 40, 60 seconds, and let's see what happens at the end. Although just in that time, I can already see there's a lot happening in the five second one and the 20 second one. I'm going to do exactly the same experiment, but using the Arches paper, which is one that I haven't used before. I did find that it absorbed the paint really well. There we go, the red's going down and the yellow's going down. This is the 20 second version and they're just kissing like they did before. Now, I'm going to fast-forward the whole process so we can discuss the findings at the end. As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed painting on this Arches paper. I'd heard other artists using it, so I wanted to try it and I can see why. Overall, I'm finding that when you add more water to the pigment, it definitely gives more dramatic results as the high concentration of water blends with that first stroke that you put down. Let's look at these two side-by-side, and you can see that there is a difference between the two papers, the results already, you can see at the five second mark and the 20 second mark. Because I created extra space for that paint to glide over and there was a lot more water involved, it's created those results. By the time we get to 40 seconds, there is less interaction, and at 60 seconds, it's probably very close to dry. If we look at this section above, you'll see there at five seconds there's an incredible amount of blending compared to where we were at 60 seconds, where it is virtually dry. This is the Arches, and you can see at five seconds there is some blending where it touches, but it seems to have absorbed it a lot quicker. And again, at 60 seconds, there's very little interaction there. This is the section which would have had extra water in the pigment. I think it's a lot more subtle compare to what we saw with the Winsor & Newton. I think it is a lot more refined almost. And again, there's little interaction when we get to 60 seconds, just at the top where there's just a touch of darkness, probably. When I have them laid side-by-side, what else I'm remembering is how much more effort I had to put in to painting on the Winsor & Newton compared to the Arches. The paint seem to glide on better for me, anyhow. It's almost like you can see that smoothness being translated onto the page. But again, it is personal preference. Let's just quickly go over my findings from the Winsor & Newton and the Arches paper. I did feel that for both of them, there was a marked difference to the blending at five seconds and at 60 seconds. Also, there were more cauliflower for the Winsor & Newton, especially the five and the 20 seconds, when the extra water had been added. I also noted that although the Arches paper was smoother, it did seem to dry a lot faster. 11. Experiment 3 - Overlapping: In this next experiment, we're going to be using two colors. The first version, we will use circles and then we will try again with stripes and see if the results are slightly different. The times could be longer because I would prefer it if some of the circles or stripes were completely dry. Again, you'll have to mix up quite a good quantity of the two colors of your choosing and this time just try to tap the edge of the brush against the pallet. In this experiment, I'm going to be using green and yellow. This is the Moleskine paper, I actually cut a page out of my sketchbook. First of all, let's create that first green circle and then using your second color add a second circle immediately, so that's five seconds. Now we're looking at 30 seconds, so count to 30 and then add your second circle. In this experiment, I want you to take a good look at the edges of the first circle. See how it interacts or doesn't interact with the next layer that you put on because how long it's been drying on that paper? I'm hoping you find that as the time increases, there is less interaction and the circle underneath is a lot more defined and it's not losing any of these edges. By the time we get to this 90 seconds circle when I'm overlaying the yellow, there's very little happening. Moving on to the second part of the experiment where again, we're going to create a long downward stripe and I'm adding the yellow to the middle of that stripe at five seconds, and this next one is at 30 seconds. We're going to carry on like that and see how introducing another color is going to affect this. Getting to 60 seconds, you can see parts of that stripe has dried and parts of it haven't, and so, we get different effects created there. This is 90 seconds, most of it is dry but that middle section wasn't. I've decided to add another stripe at the end and this is actually a two-minute stripe, and there is virtually nothing happening apart from tiny spots of dampness. Let's take a closer look at these. You can see that as we progress towards the right where there's more drying time, there is a lot less interaction although if there are tiny, even my new areas are damp, there will be a reaction. I'm going to go over the actual reason why you're seeing some of these effects in a later video. As I wanted to see what would happen with my professional paints on the [inaudible] I did the experiment again and the effects that we get are quite different because of the smoothness of the paper. I felt that the paint was moving around a lot more. The too thinness of the Moleskine wasn't bad to hold the paint in place. We get these quite liquid effects when they dry. Moving on to the stripes. Again, because the [inaudible] seems to dry so quickly, there does seem to be a lot less reaction. I do want you to look at this when it's completely dry at the end. If you're going to work with hard press, you have to work a lot faster. When you compare the results for 60 seconds and 90 seconds to the Moleskine, you'll see that there's quite a difference. Over there at the top is the [inaudible] and this is the results for the Moleskine. Let's have a look closely at it and you'll see that overall, there's still lot of reaction time at 60 seconds as you can see there. But as we move into the 90 seconds and the two-minute territory, it's drying at a much faster rate, maybe gone to the [inaudible] even at five seconds, if you look closely, I can actually see the edge of that circle and it becomes more pronounced at 30 and there's almost no reaction at 60 seconds although that green circle did dry quite unevenly. Because of the swift downward strokes of the stripes, it was actually less water in there in the first place. That's partly why the paint was drying a lot quicker. I think the takeaway for me with this experiment was different strokes actually have different drying times. I'd never considered this. It might seem obvious now, but it's something that I'm going to be mindful of going forward. The other point worth noting is even if there is just the tiniest area that is damped or wet, when you apply that second wash, it is going to have a reaction. That's something to look out for too. 12. Experiment 4 - Edges: In Experiment 4, we are going to be using a very wet brush and also a damp brush, where we'll dab it on a piece of kitchen roll, and see how this may influence potential blending if we also factor in the time. For Experiment 4, I am going to be using my professional watercolors on the arches paper. This is a really good technique to understand because it will help with blending. Choose quite a strong color so that you can see what's going to happen. Lay down in my case, a blue and then we going to either wash the brush or use another brush that's loaded with water, and then apply in sort of rectangular-square next to each stroke that we make so that first one again is five seconds. The second one I've just done is 20 seconds and we're just going carry on like this. I want to see how far that pigment will spread within that rectangular part of the water that we've created. So this one will be 60 seconds. I also decided at the end, I wanted to create a stroke that was going to be left on the paper for 90 seconds and then see what happens. So this is 90 seconds later, applying that water once again in a rectangle next to it. You can see there's not too much reaction there, although there is something. But let's wait for that to dry and then assess it. I want to explain about the next part of this experiment. We're going to be using a dry to damp brush. So I place that wet brush onto a kitchen roll and you can see what it looks like now. So it's not soaked with water. I'm afraid I did not hit record when I originally did this experiment. I don't know why, so I'm showing you the exact experiment but just the first two sections. So we take that damp brush which only has water on it and we place it alongside the original stroke to see how far it spreads when we use a damp brush. That was five seconds, and the second stroke I will leave for 30 seconds. Again, I'm drawing the damp brush down very gently next to it to see what happens. What I can show you is a close-up of the original experiment. This is the results when they were completely dry. So we had 5 seconds, 30 seconds, 60, and 90 using the damp brush. I'm just going to pause it here because you can just make out where I applied that water. You can see a tiny shadow there and there was no reaction whatsoever. These are the same results from up above. That was 5 seconds, 20 seconds, 60 seconds, and 90 seconds. You can see when you use a damp brush, there isn't as much reaction than to using a brush as filling loaded with water, which we had been doing. I repeated the exact experiment using my professional watercolors with Winsor & Newton. Again, for some reason I didn't record the beginning of this experiment. As I learned from the other experiments using Winsor & Newton paper, I have to apply a little bit more pressure with the brush and actually load the brush with a lot more paint in order to apply it smoothly to Winsor & Newton paper, so that's something that I was now mindful of. So this watch on the far left is five seconds, then it's 30 seconds and I'm just looking at the 60 second version now. This is the 90 second version going down now. I have counted to 90. This is what it looked like afterwards when it basically dried apart from that tiny bit at the bottom that reacted when I applied the clean water. So we have 5, 30, 60, and 90, and look at the difference between five seconds and 90 seconds. It's great that we can note down the reactions and over time, we'll be able to mentally integrate this within our watercolor practice. I'm just going to remind you again, this part of the experiment we're going to use a damp brush. We're going to put the brush on a bit of kitchen roll and then apply the water to the edge of our first stroke. So this is the five second one. This is the 30 second one now. You can see that this particular paper, I'm actually using the brush quite vigorously to try and get a reaction from that first stroke. With the 60 second one, there was just that tiny wet area and that still gave that reaction, and now this is the 90 second one which I didn't recall putting the water on, but these are the results of that experiment after they dried. If I pan down here, that I did apply water there, but you can't see it. So there was no reaction at 90 seconds on Winsor & Newton, and this is going back further and that's the five second one. So let's compare and contrast what was happening here. We have two variables; the paper and the damp brush. Looking at the Arches and the Winsor & Newton at five seconds, there is a difference in how the water was blending and again at 30 seconds each. If you look at 90 seconds on Winsor & Newton and 90 seconds here on the Arches, there is a slight subtle difference. You can tell that by the time it gets to about 90 seconds, there's pretty much all its way to drying. I think if I've done another one where we left it for 200 seconds or more, it definitely would have dried. This is using the damp brush and you can see when your brushes only damp, there is a lot less reaction and there's virtually nothing when we get to 90 seconds. So that's really important to note. This is the Winsor & Newton and there is some very strange results. I'm not sure quite what happened there. I don't think there was enough pigment in that first stroke. At 60 seconds, there is still a little bit of blending and at 90 seconds, the edge is starting to set quite firmly. As I said before, there was virtually no reaction when we got to 90 seconds, just using a damp brush. Let's quickly go over the findings of this Experiment 4. I did find the brands of paper that are used dramatically affected this particular experiment. The smoother blending with the wet brush seem to take place around about the 30, 40, 50 second mark, and when it came to using a damp brush, I thought that you could control the extent to which you want to blend it. Although you might have had to use a little bit more pressure and if you wanted to do this, it was best to use the damp brush within 60 seconds of that first stroke being put down. So these are all really interesting facts to take away. 13. Blooms/ Backruns/ Cauliflowers : As you've seen in our experiments, there's been quite a few different sort of textural effects, they are commonly referred to as backruns, cauliflower or blooming. Now, this part of the class, I'm going to explain what's actually causing them and if you know how they are created, you can either integrate them or you can try to avoid them. As you may have noticed, it happens when part of the paper is wet or still drying and you introduce new paint which has a fair bit of water in it. If there is no sheen on the wash and you add extra paint, what's actually happening is the water is pushing against the pigment that is already on the paper, it does have to go somewhere, where it stops, it leaves a line; this is the edge of the pigment. As this pigment drys on the page, it gives the water less space to move, so as the layers dry, different effects will be achieved and you never quite know how it's going to end up. I really love seeing these blooms and I will try to force them, Let's say in my sketches whenever possible.I'm quite drawn to texture anyway, but I do feel they also add a lot of drama. Look at these olives the way that the water combine those two olives together. Combined with a wet I've also employed in this sketch, it makes a wonderful combination, even in that bit of olive oil there, it adds a lovely textural quality. I really loved the graduation that you can see in these grapes. When parts of it would dry, I was able to go back in to give the grapes a little bit of contrast and depth but I love the way the colors have really combined together in this sketch. The blooming you can see in this drink builds up a lovely contrast between the quite concentrated areas of color you can see in the cherry and different parts of that glass so it's lovely to see. This is a more subtle approach in this microns on the edges of these three down on the right-hand side and if you look closely, it's where I probably added quite a lot of water and I'm using soft peaches and pinks and they've all combined together. I really enjoyed creating this piece. Again, another glass of drink I have employed the blooming to great effect here, on that glass on the left, but also in the skin of that quarter orange there.I want to emphasize again, it is personal preference this effect might not be for everybody so It's still worth listening to the class because there's ways to avoid this. 14. Experiment 5 - Cauliflowers: Looking at the experiments that we've done so far, we can see that there is a lot of blooming on cauliflower occurring around about the 62nd mark. This one is a great example. So for this next experiment, we are going to look at the time specifically for 60 seconds and 90 seconds. If you don't like the effect of blooming, this may sound counter-intuitive to do this experiment, but at least you will understand what causes it so that you can avoid it later on. So In experiment 5, we are going to test out what already know about blooming in a much larger area. We'll be using water and also pigment to test this out. For experiment 5, I'll be using the Arches paper. We're going to start off by drawing a square around about five by five centimeter square. It doesn't have to be perfect. I'm going to let this dry. Let's set 60 seconds on our timer. As always try to take a note of the sheen so that you start to develop this instinct for how it's drying. Now, we're going to use just some clean water and a large brush and we're going to drop it in. Remember, this has been drying for 60 seconds. Let's see the reactions that we are getting within this blue square. I've just put in three there. I don't know if that's just a bit too much now, but I won't know until I try it. Next to this one, we're going to paint in another blue square exactly the same and then we're going to leave it for a 100 seconds. The 100 seconds have passed. I'm now returning into it with my brush full of clean water and we're going to drop in three little drops because that's what I did with the 60 second square. Let's see what happens with this version because it's been allowed to dry for just that little bit longer. If I turn the camera on the side, you can see that there is still water standing on the edge of that 100 seconds square. It'll also be interesting to see what happens to that as it dries. If we move over to the 60 second version, you can see that it's had a lot longer to dry and the water has spread out quite dramatically there. In the second part of this experiment we again, going to be painting two blue squares and letting them dry at different intervals. But in this first square I'm going to be dropping in pigment of red, I decided to save time and paint the second square in as well. Although I am keeping an eye on the clock. Now, it's been 60 seconds and we're going to drop in this red pigment onto that first blue square and let's see what happens. I added three dots of red, but I also decided to add extra water because we know that Kali flowering is affected by the amount of water. So rather than diluting the red, I just wanted to see how the water would interact as well with the blue pigment in the first layer and the red pigment in this second layer. I also put that stroke across the top to see because that's quite a wide body of water and you can just see it starting to pool there. I then dropped red pigment, then dropped red watercolor into this second square that being drying for a 100 seconds, I decided to add a lot more just to see what would happen. It's a different quantity and how that is going to affect the results along with the water as well. That corner in the top left I realized was actually drying at a quicker rate than the other so that's why I put that there. Taking a much closer look, and from a different angle. You can see in that 60 seconds square, there is a fair amount of water in that bottom right-hand corner. With this 100 second version there is pooling and the red is flowing into that. So interesting to see what the pooling will achieve later on when it's fully dry. This is the view from about two minutes into the drying time and they are still spreading and reacting. So it's always good to look at your experiments when they are fully dried. I love seeing the finished result. There's some wonderful effects happening there. If we look at all of them, we can see that there is a lot of movement where we added the drops of pure water. I don't think not so much when we introduced the pigment. Not even closer if we compare their 60 seconds on the 100 second version, I think there is more movement in the 60 seconds compared to the 100, because the 100 seconds has had longer drying time, the effects are a lot more dramatic in both. Look at that. It's, wow. We did add a lot of water to the 60 second version so the pigment underneath has been shifted a lot. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened at 200 seconds. Maybe you want to try that. These are my findings from experiment 5. I noticed that if you added more water, there was going to be a greater chance of the cauliflower being quite dramatic. The longer drying time off adds to this, the wash that's got a lot of pigment in will not react as much and also larger areas will affect drying time. I know it seems obvious, so I'm wondering if you would see reactions even after two and half or three minutes of larger areas of wash. 15. Avoiding Blooms: I wanted to do a really quick video about trying to avoid blooms or cauliflowers in your work if that is not what you want. I'll point out the accompanying time-lapse video is actually me trying to force a bloom for demonstration purposes is not tried to prevent it. I just needed a video rather than me talking. The main points are, to work swiftly between the first and second layers especially, so that you don't let that first layer dry and then put a wet second layer on. Or you can let that first layer dry completely, let it dry for at least five to six minutes so that you know it's fully dry. Another point to remember is being sure that your brush is less wet than the paper you are applying it to,and that should help. You may have seen in some of my videos that I did put rather a lot of water on my brush, which meant that there was a lot of water on the paper. Don't over wet the paper because that will lead to pooling. Again that will cause those hard edges because the pavement will stay in those areas as it dries. The other note to remember about paper, is to use heavyweight paper to prevent it from buckling and warping which again could lead to pooling. If there are pools, the best way to remove the excess water is to use the edge of a kitchen paper or a very small dry brush. I really hope that helps. 16. Final Thoughts: Water will always play freely across your paper and it will settle in some places, and sometimes it will blend into other colors and there will always be spontaneous effects. Even for me, these outcomes and results are often not quite what I was expecting. However, I do hope that after try this exercise for yourself, you'll have a better understanding of how paint will flow or not flow when it is introduced to wet, damp, or dry areas on the paper. Beginners starting out may have worries about blooms and cauliflower, but please don't panic because watercolor by its very nature, is droopy and sloppy. Actually, I feel water color blooms add another dimension and character to your work. I want to share with you the work of an artist called Karina Peterson. Her work is amazing, she uses blooming to create effects to achieve some of these results that you can see there's a lot of transitions and lots of movement. She works on quite a large scale and she told me sometimes it takes hours, even overnight for this paint to dry. But often if you look at her work on Instagram, she's just experimenting all the time. I just admire the way she goes about doing this. As exemplified by Karina's work and what we know about what affects blooming is, patience is a virtue, not just when you're physically painting, but also mastering water colors takes a really long time. Please go easy on yourself, as I mentioned at the very beginning and be patient. The other points I think that you saw was the smoothest blending will occur within the first 30 seconds, so tried to paint quickly and get those blends to work for you. At the other end of the scale, it's worth noting that, washes may not be dry even after 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes. It may depend on the size of your sketch or the wash that you've created. By that stage you'll be dealing with wet or dry. The other really significant thing that I found was, using different papers made such a difference. Try and play around yourself and see what results you get. As expected, the water to pigment ratio affects outcomes. The more water you have, the more room almost the pigment has to play around with. That is a factor deciding by how much water you have on your brush in the first place. You have to be mindful of the brush load. One last point I wasn't able to include as part of my experiment was the ambient temperature that to your painting. If you live in a hot or humid country, this is totally going to affect your timings and drying times. Remember, each round of paper will behave differently and each pigment will behave differently, even a change in the weather will affect the way the paint behaves. Although I feel if you carry on with this notion of experimentation and discovery and observation, you are going to be vastly rewarded because being curious about the results you achieved will help you going forward in your watercolor practice. Please use the sheets that you have as reference to understanding the play of paint, water, and brush. I'm really hoping that this will give you the confidence to try out your own projects or why not try some of the other watercolor classes I have here on [inaudible]? One last thing I want you to be mindful of is as much as we were able to control certain elements of the experiments we've just done, we ultimately have to surrender to the results. As I said before, I have a vague notion of what would happen if I created certain conditions myself. But I'm always open to trying something new and I would like you to be open as well. I hope you've enjoyed this class and I really look forward to seeing your projects. We're going to start with the live experiments now. [inaudible] 17. BONUS - Misty Treeline Study: Hi, thanks for joining me for this bonus video. I really hope you have enjoyed the other video classes and you've learned a lot. This is just a study for the wet on wet technique to take what you have learned and put some of it into practice. So you may want to adjust your timings accordingly to your own findings and your preferences. You may want to dry the layers completely and not have any cauliflowers. The main thing is we're not seeking perfection at all. We're just practicing. So let us get started. Before we start on the actual sketch study, just make a note of the effects that you really enjoyed creating and something that you may want to recreate for this study, though, jot down a few of the timing so that you'll be mindful of this when you create. To keep things really simple, I am just going to use one color. This is my Payne's gray. It'll be a monotone study. So we're just going to be adjusting the water to pigment ratio to create different shades in this scene. I've chosen the cans and paper for this study. I'm starting off with the intense band of Payne's gray at the top. You can see I am going to be adding a bit of water in just a second to draw that band of color downwards. You can see already that there is some blending going on there. We are basically trying to create a rectangular shape. This is just a study, so I am keeping me quite small scale. Now, we are forming the bottom of this rectangle. I do naturally work with and a lot of water on my paper. So this does lead to some pooling and I am going to show you what I do. I use the very tip of a paper towel just to dab the edges there and it just soaks up enough water to stop that pooling. That is not the effect I am looking for towards the bottom of this study. So that is something that I am already mindful of, I am just blending in to make sure that wash is more even there. Also I saw the middle of that rectangle was starting to dry out at a faster rate. So I just added a little bit more wash to even out that area. As there was a fair amount of water in that lower half, I set my timer for 60 seconds to let that water suck into the paper a little bit more. Once that happened, I added these short downward strokes to start the line of trees and you can see already that they are spreading at different rates, especially on the left-hand side. Because I wanted to create sort of a misty atmosphere, I am going to be adding different amounts of pigment, so quite concentrated, but then go over areas of water like I did just there to draw that pigment outwards and downwards. I have only speeded up this video a tiny bit. What you must be aware of is I am making decisions. I am not just dabbing color and water wherever I am assessing it, I am waiting to see what the paint might do. Then I will make a decision and then wait. And that is how I generally work. Now, I am afraid to say the rest of the video I recorded got corrupted. I had previously recorded this version where I am creating a line of trees, but you do not have the wash background in this version, I created the trees exactly like this using a smaller paintbrush to a downward stroke and then angle branch shapes going downwards to the side while it is still wet, I am drawing that pigment outwards using a strong stroke with plain water and seeing what happens. I am just teasing it almost to see what happens. I don't know. I just have a vague idea. I really loved playing about like this. Keep an eye on the paint that is leading downwards on the left-hand side, love the way it spreading. I could see that trees on the right, were starting to dry. So I then added more Payne's gray and there is less movement in that area. It just adds a lot more depth and contrast. So past the trees are fading in and out of the background. My saving grace is I did have this video of the line of trees before the drying process started. You can see there are areas of sheen and also shiny water. I have deliberately left some areas to pull because I want to see what the pigment does. It usually intensified and I just love waiting for the drying process to see how it eventually ends up looking. I want to remind you again, the reason for this study was for me to understand better how I can incorporate cauliflowers and how they can best be achieved, or how I might be able to manipulate things to get the best results. I particularly love when I brush the water along the bottom of those trees and it spread into the trees, created those effects. Also in the sky there's a beautiful maelstrom happening there. And lovely contrast between the middle and the upper water. It's creating a lot of drama there, which I am thoroughly pleased with quite often I do a study like this before I do commissioned pieces so that I know how to approach a project before I sit down and do that final artwork.