Watercolor Basics 3: Painting Wet on Wet & Wet on Dry | Jessica Sanders | Skillshare

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Watercolor Basics 3: Painting Wet on Wet & Wet on Dry

teacher avatar Jessica Sanders, Artist | Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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.

      Wet on Dry & Wet on Wet Washes


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Thank you! and Project


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About This Class

Hi, I’m Jessica Sanders, a self-taught mixed media artist who loves exploring art and sharing it with you!

I am creating a series of ultra beginner mini classes to help you learn to paint with watercolor.  The skills I teach in these classes helped to put me on the fast-track to creating vibrant, loose, beautiful watercolor paintings like a pro!  And I believe they can do the same for you!

Each class is designed to teach 1 or 2 beginner skills of watercolor painting. I want to Keep It Super Simple - KISS, baby! - short, and easy to learn!

Watercolor Basics 3: Painting Wet on Wet & Wet on Dry

In class 3, we will explore wet on wet, and wet on dry washes - the most basic techniques in watercolor.  I will demonstrate both wash techniques, and then we will learn how to use them.  We will explore how our paint moves differently, achieving different results, just because of the type of wash we choose. All in less than 15 minutes :)

Then it’s project time! Fill a sketchbook page with washes. Explore wet on dry, and wet on wet.  Take the time to slow down and really observe what is happening with your paints.


Wet on dry watercolor wash

Wet on wet watercolor wash


Watercolor paper:  140 lb / 300gsm

Watercolor brushes:  10 round

Paper towel



Other classes I am teaching:  

Watercolor Basics 1: Mixing Water with Watercolor Paint

Watercolor Basics 2: Water Control


Watercolor with Me: Loose and Juicy Summer Fruit Slices

Watercolor with Me: Fun & Fabulous Flamingo

Watercolor Skillbuilder: Daring Doodles

Whimsical Faces: Drawing Basics

Watercolor with Me : Falling Snow Holiday Cards


Other watercolor teachers on Skillshare:  

Irina Trzaskos, Ron Mulvey

Chris V. , Jen Dixon, Ohn Mar Win, Amarilys Henderson, Diana Nemesu

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jessica Sanders

Artist | Designer


Jessica Sanders

Artist, Instructor, Designer

Illustrated Journal: Fill a Sketchbook with Butterfly Inspired Art


Hello lovely, lovely creative friend!

My new class is up and going!  I hope you will join me as we go on a journey together, filling a journal with lovely butterfly inspired art.  I just added a new page spread, Explore Texture, which is covered in 15 bite size lessons (13-27).  

I can hardly wait to see your project!!

Happy Painting,



See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome!: Hello. Welcome to my sculpture class. I'm Jessica Sanders. Color me creative art dot com. I'm so happy you're here. So today I would like to share with you a minute class that I've been working on. I'm creating a series of watercolor basics classes. There really bite size classes around 15 to 20 minutes long, and they teach one specific skill or technique related to our color. They're perfect for beginners or if you really want to practice specific skills, so I hope you'll join me for this Siri's So for this mini class will be talking about wet on dry and wet on what? The very basics of watercolor and the basically the two ways that we can paint with water color paint so hope you'll join me. We'll explore this technique. I'll do some demos for you, and then I'll share with you how I've used this and how I kind of put it all together. So come along and let's get started. 2. Wet on Dry & Wet on Wet Washes: There are two basic ways toe work in watercolor. There's wet on dry and wet on wet. So let's explore these wet on dry technique is just what it says at the very basic core of our color is wet on dry or when I'm wet. So wet on dry just means you have wet paint. I have picked it up from my palate. There we go, and you have a dry surface to work on. You have dry paper, so this is wet on dry and you're going to get a little different effect. Doing what? On dry. Then you do with wet on what? Just to a couple of wet under erecting was there just so you can see how that would work. The other technique is wet on wet. So in order for me to show you that I'm going to use really lightly colored water and went my paper So you consider this wet these air wet also now. But they started out wet on dry, and then I would add my pigment, and so you get a little different effect now. I could do this, but it looks a little different when he dropped. Let's do another wet on wet. So let's, let's say I decided I have this wet. What wash here? And you know I like that, but I want to add some more colors of that so I could just add more color into my wedding wet wash and have variations of color in there and then let that dry wet on dry is used a lot and say, if you're creating a lot of brush marks and you want those brush moments to show or you're doing very precise, indefinite types of illustrations such as botanicals or something like that wet on wet is used often in a more loose approach, although they can be switched back and forth, depending on the artist. What happens is if your paper is wet Inuit on work, technique and say you want the idea of flowers or something like that in the background that you can just drop in your color in different areas. It's going to move, whereas if I was doing wet on dry and I wanted to do that, you see my color staying exactly where it put it. It doesn't move around on the watercolor paper. It would move around in the wet witness. It can still make it quite dark if I wanted to, but by adding more pigment, um, but you could just say so. You wanted a leaf in the background. Then you might get a like a, um, a green, and you could put in a stroke. And when that dries, it's going to be in the background, and it's going to be sort of fuzzy, so it gives a nice background effect. Already, you can see that this wet on dry is dry and the wet and wet is still wet. It just because it actually has the application water and then the application of water color paint into that, so it does take a little bit longer to try in the wet on dry, wet and dry. It is great for brush marks, so if you want to make some nice shapes with your brush, you can do that with wet on dry, and they're going to bill be really crisp nice lines. If I decided I wanted to add more color in here, then this would become this would then become when and went because I laid down the first layer of pain already, and it's still wet. So then let's wet and wet. So you may start with wet on dry and then progress to when it went. So, you know, it just depends on how your painting is going. Really? I think that's cute. Okay, I'm gonna let this dry and then I'll come back. 3. Results: this now is mostly dry. It's it's still moving a little bit. Or rather, it's still a little bit damp. You can see a little bit of a sheen, especially in this one. And if you feel the back of your paper and it feels cold, that means that's not dry, so I can feel the back of my paper. And no, this is cold, so I know it's not completely drug. That's a That's a great way to be able to tell whether you're painting dry or not, without putting your hand actually into your water coat. Bonus tip right there and so but still a little bit with, but we can still talk about it. So this wedding, wet dried very similarly to this wet on dry, but not quite as evenly. If you can see that little darker over here a little bit darker over here, um, where it wasn't quite completely, even because it was just more wet and moved around more than the wet on Dr. And then this one. You can see how the colors how the color sort of mixed and mingled very organically and intertwined and makes a really nice irrigated wash If I had laid these two colors side by side, it would have been a little bit different effect. Maybe I should have tried. Let's try that really quick. Let's do that really quick just so you can see. So this is wet on dry. If I just put those colors like this and leave them beside each other a little more pigment there, I think we're gonna get a little bit different effect then here, just going to not mix exactly the same way. You can already see how this because it's more watery, is pushing. See these little tendrils? These little Tindall's here are from this color, pushing this other color out of the way. So that's a wet when those wet colors touched. Then they moved each other around. So interesting effect. That's because this had was more watery and not the same, basically not the same consistency as the other paint. This one was a little bit thicker, but this one was more watering. It pushed it so interesting. Anyway, you can see here also we have the discreet marks from wet on dry, and here they're very fuzzy and organic. Now there This was sort of a leaf shape, but it's kind of, you know, faded off into the background, and that's a really nice effect. If you want to create some depth within your painting to have sort of these fuzzy out of focus shapes in the background, and then you can put your focal point on top and it really pops out of there. It looks really nice. So those are some ways that I use wet on wet and went on dry end. What I want to tell you is you may have a favorite technique, but often we use both. If you've taken my flamingo class or my loosened you see summer fruit slices class, you'll see me using a combination of things I use wet on dry. I use wet and wet, and then I may go back and use wet on dry again. So, for example, in this flamingo, I started out with a nice wet wash. The paper was dry, so I did wet on dry. But then I started dropping in more color in areas that I wanted, so that section became wet and wet, and I even did some splatters and drops into the wetness, which would be wet on wet, and that makes them just more. I'm trying to find a specific one that I can show you. It makes it just more soft rather than definite. So some of these in here splash looking areas that are really soft looking that's wet on wet technique. And then I use wet on dry again when I added thes brush marks when I worked on the I used actually both a combination of both in every area, really. But all of these brush marks, you can see those are went on. Try. This was more. These were brush marks wet on dry, wet on dry. Um, so I used a combination to create sort of this. You know, I feel like it's sort of a combination of abstract and realistic. It's an impressionistic kind of style, and it's so much fun to paint this way and that you still end up with something recognizable, which is also fun to me. So I had a lot of fun doing this, but I just wanted to share that. It's a combination of techniques that will make your paintings really interesting. I think now some people stick strictly toe one or the other, and that's fine, too. But I just wanted to share the way that I enjoyed combining wet on wet and wet and dry. So if you haven't seen this class, you should check it out, Believe it or not. Ah, beginner can paint this slimming go. I teach you exactly how I go through the whole thing with you. And I would just love to see you drive. So I've had lots of good reviews on that class. Okay, enough about that. So now let's talk about your project. 4. Thank you! and Project: Let's talk about your project so your project is not to be a completed painting necessarily . But I would love for you to explore wet on dry and wet on wet and create the page, maybe in your sketchbook, in your watercolor sketch book of the different effects you can get with wet on dry and wet on wet. Try out some brush marks in both sections and see how your paint moves and how it behaves and practice your water control as well, because having too much water on your page is going to make a difference. When you're using wet and wet, it's going to make a difference in how it looks and how long it takes to dry and and everything like that. So I hope you'll try these two techniques out these air. The very basics. Nuts and bolts of water color and learning how to do this and just playing around with it will just keep continually improving your skills and you'll keep building your water color skills. And before long you'll be painting anything and everything you wanted to pay. So thank you so much for joining me. I can't wait to see your projects, and I'll talk to you soon. But by