Watercolor Basics – Technique

Watercolor drawings and technique examples

Ok guys, this is a fun one. In this post we are going to learn some basic methods anyone can master! In my last blog post, I said I would be using my traditional pallet. However, I had a last-minute location change, so I had to grab my travel pallet. (Another bonus of owning a travel pallet!) Everything I show you in this lesson will be the same if you are using a traditional pallet, wet paints, or a travel pallet. I’ll be sure to tell you if you need to do something slightly different for a certain method. To get the full effect of this lesson, I highly suggest trying out all the methods by making boxes for each technique in your sketchbook (or chosen paper) like I do in the photos below. Now, who’s ready to start?


Watercolor pat dry example

Method number one…. pat to dry. First, mix your paint. You want a heavy pigment, yet a good flow. (Pigment is your color. The more water you add, a lighter pigment your color becomes.) Then create your practice square by applying your paint evenly to the paper. Take a napkin or Kleenex and pat your square dry. Repeat this process as many times as you like until you get a result you’re happy with! TIP—pat once then find a clean space on your napkin to tap again. This prevents unwanted paint to smear all over your paper.


Watercolor wet on dry example

Method number two…. wet on dry. Create your box with a heavy water based pigment (remember, the more water, the lighter the color). WAIT for the box to dry. After it’s dry, add the same color on top, this time adding a bit more pigment to result in a darker color. TIP—combine this method with the ”pat to dry” for a cool effect!


Watercolor wet on wet example

Method number three…. wet on wet.For this technique, you’ll want a lightly pigmented yet very water based mix. (If your mix doesn’t look right for some of these methods, no worries. Experiment and practice. Almost no one gets it right the first time around!) Create your box pretty quickly so your paint doesn’t have time to absorb, and if it does, just add a little more water. Come on top with some darker colors and let those colors tango with each other.


Watercolor resistance paint example

Method number four…. resistance paint.Use a white crayon for best effects, but fun pens like my Master’s touch glitters pens (I got on sale) work too! Draw out your design, then use a cool technique of your choosing and paint on top of them. See in the 7th photo the paint is separating from the pen? I used the “wet on wet” method. But feel free to experiment and play with other styles!


Watercolor paint splatter example

Method number five… paint splatter.For this technique, you’ll need to paint your square using a desired color. I suggest going for a lighter color but keep your pigment pretty heavy. Now with a darker color, mix it with enough pigment so the color is visible but with enough water so the paint can be easily flicked off the brush. I suggest a real brush for this method, because it is very difficult to obtain this effect with a water brush, but it is possible. Use your extended finger to tap the brush harshly and voila, you have your splatter. Paint splatter will get EVERYWHERE so be sure to cover up your paper where you don’t want the splatter and wear an apron. TIP— use “pat to dry” LIGHTLY like I did on the last photo shown for another awesome effect.


Watercolor blending example

Method number six…. blending.Last, but not least, is the method you will probably use the most in your watercolor journey. Please practice, practice, practice with this one. First, with a highly pigmented paint, add a stroke. This will be the top of your box. Now wash ALL the paint from your brush so only water remains. Paint the rest of your box with water leaving a tiny gap between your stroke and the water. When you’re ready, start rubbing your pigment down into your water to create an ombré effect. This method works great with adding shading to your projects.


Now let’s practice using what we’ve learned by painting some flowers shall we?

Watercolor how to draw a flower

First, let’s paint some petals. I’ll be using the wet on dry method. Use a lightly pigmented color, wait for it to dry, then mix in more pigment onto your pallet (so the color gets darker). Next, add it to your painting to create some shading. Paint some leaves doing the same. Now, here‘s a fun addition to put onto your paintings. Use a thin black pen (I use my Master’s touch glitter pens) to outline your paintings. Add some blossoms by drawing your branches, then come in with your brush afterwards and paint little dots to the end of those branches. This creates a fun little look to your painting and it’s a perfect technique for journaling!


Close up of sketchbook, drawing flowers and practicing techniques.

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