Watercolor experiments

From time to time, I use watercolors for coloring sketches or attempting a quick study, but I always find them terribly hard to control and the outcome tends to depend on sheer luck. So I hope this class will help me to explore the terrain somewhat more systematically. Let's go!


Just like Yasmina suggested, I tried the six different methods one by one.


Wet on wet: Just as I expected - completely unpredictable! The interactions between the colors are really weird, and in some areas almost all the colors get drawn out and leave the area very pale.

Dry on wet: This one was better. I shaped a flame with water and added thick red, orange, and yellow paint.

Wet on dry: No big surprises here. The red blur I sketched over the water reminded me of a dragon, so I shaded it a bit and added sparkles.

Dry on dry: More difficult than I thought. At first, I tried to just remove the excess water from the brush and then pick up paint - which didn't work very well, because the brush was too dry. With a little more water, I couldn't get a dry brush effect. Picking up the paint first and then removing most of it on a paper towel sort of worked.

Even wash: Looked very uneven while wet, but turned out ok. Not sure if it's the brush or my cheap paper, but I tend to just move a wet blob around, so I get stains.

Gradient: Didn't really work out. Whenever I tried to lighten up a dark area, I would push away almost all of the paint, leaving it too light. More practice required.


This is a really great exercise! The more I practice with water colors, the more I feel I am painting with the water instead of against it :) Also, the "thirsty brush" lifting technique was new to me and proved very helpful. The main challenge is to let everything dry before putting on another layer! I made a whole bunch of spheres so I could continue working while some parts were still wet. Which was also instructive, because I could see how different pigments react differently with the water.


I think I like the small green (bottom left) sphere best :)


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