Techniques: Watercolors

So you’re afraid of watercolors…

People assume watercolors are difficult to control. They are. But no more so than any other art material. Here are some awesome things about watercolor: they combine amazingly with other materials, the paper is also good for things like pencil and pen, they are less messy than acrylic and oil, clean up faster and easier, and won’t stain your clothes. Usually. I’m a big fan of mixing mediums, and giving students a little something extra to experiment with usually goes over in a big way. Have you seen the joy when you break out micron pens? I feel like Oprah.

There is a painless technique for adding watercolor to your lessons without knowing anything about watercolor. It’s called wet in wet painting. Aptly named because you wet the paper (either with plain water or diluted paint) and then you add wet paint. The colors flow and blend into each other without any interference from the painter, creating dreamy, unpredictable mixes. You don’t even need to do much. Even a touch of the paint will activate the process. In fact, the less you mess with it the better. The paint will only go where the water is, stopping at the edges when it hits dry paper.


Wet paper and work from scratch or alter a base color.

Three important things:

A pea sized amount of paint goes very far.

Don’t paint if there are puddles of water, you want a nice satin looking sheen on the paper.

The more water you add, the paler the color will be.


Throw some salt on wet paper for different effects.

That’s it. Use this technique to make backgrounds for drawings, fill in ink contour drawings for a little extra punch, work on positive and negative space, practice brush control, encourage students to loosen up, or teach color mixing quickly and painlessly. If you love it and want to know more, let me know, I’m happy to visit classes and cost of cialis at walmart combine our talents.


Once paper is dry you can wet it again and add more layers.

Lyndsay Murphree About Lyndsay Murphree
Lyndsay is a botanical artist working in watercolor and colored pencil. She has been affiliated with Marwen since 2010.

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