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The beauty of watercolors is one that cannot be denied or ignored. Delicacy, transparency, imagination, all flow and dissolve into one fluid creation that can express so many emotions.Unlike acrylic painting techniques or oil painting, watercolors offer an unique creative freedom that will delight the senses and inspire your mind. If you are thinking about taking on this wonderful art, here are the Basic Watercolor Painting Techniques For Beginners .
- 1. a proper set of watercolor paints is essential
- 2. try out different types of brushes for different TECHNIQUES
- 3. choose the right watercolor paper for your design
- 4. Use a palette for mixing and diluting colors
- Basic watercolor techniques you should know
- 1. Using watercolor as any other paint
- 2. Watercolor washes
- 3. Using Gradients
- 4. Adding layers of colors and details
- 5. Creating texture with watercolors
The proper materials will get you a long way if chosen properly, increasing the chances to success.
Here are the basic utensils you should consider purchasing before starting a watercolor painting
1. a proper set of watercolor paints is essential
Watercolor paints come in all sort of tones and prices, from the basic ones you used to use when drawing in kindergarten to expensive sophisticated ones promising incredible effects and surfaces. Nonetheless, price is not a factor when starting a watercolor painting project. Expensive doesn’t equal quality and you do not have to invest large amounts of money in supplies, especially if you are a beginner in watercolor painting techniques. The first step towards obtaining a wonderful creation is purchasing a set of watercolor paints based on quality.
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When it comes to the shape watercolor paints can be found, you can opt between tubes of paint that usually come in pre-designed set or buying individual dried cakes of paint. Both forms require water to the mixture that is then applied to paper. No matter the choice, for a first try it is recommended to start with the primary colors such as red, yellow, black and blue and if you want, white, although in water-coloring this non-color is obtained by diluting other colors or by simply using the white of the paper left bare of color. Start your journey in the land of watercolor painting with a basic set that will be price-accessible and easy to store or carry with you in your travels.These sets usually come with a few basic brushes alongside a color palette where you can mix your colors additional to your basic tones of watercolor paint.
2. try out different types of brushes for different TECHNIQUES
As a beginner watercolor painter a few brushes are all that is required. The most important one, and the most versatile as well, is the round watercolor brush that comes in all possible sizes. To this set add a flat brush for covering larger surfaces and obtaining texture and a mop brush for washers. For small delicate details keep in mind to buy a very small pointy brush. Do not spend a fortune in the beginning by purchasing brushes made out of exotic hair strands, you can easily start your project with a few synthetic brushes and work your way up from there is you decide water-coloring is for you.
3. choose the right watercolor paper for your design
One might thing any type of paper can be used in water-coloring but the truth is you cannot design anything in this technique without the proper base. The right watercolor paper is created to absorb the water mixed with your paint to prevent the warping of paper and the destruction of your creation. Surface, wight come into consideration, as well as texture and tone which is usually plain white or ivory. Take a look at the info-graphic below before purchasing your watercolor paper.
4. Use a palette for mixing and diluting colors
Watercolor painting is all about mixing your tones with water in order to obtain different hues and effects. So naturally a mixing palette is required for the process. You can purchase one that has separated designated spaces for mixing colors so that you will not allow them to bleed into each other or choose a simple ceramic plate to get your desired solutions.
Now that you have taken into consideration the 4 pointer featured above, you can start your watercolor painting.
Here are a few tips and tricks for preparing your design
1. Always have at your disposal clean water and pieces of paper
Maintaining a glass or recipient of clean water constantly near you is essential when water-coloring. You can mix your tones, clean your brushes, correct unwanted spillages. Make sure to always change the water after a few uses to prevent smudging your tones and always try out the solutions on a piece of scarp paper to check if the obtained tones are right for you. It is recommended to use the same type of paper as the one you are actually painting on because using xerox paper will provide a slightly different effect. Nonetheless, no matter the type, pieces of paper should be kept near you when you are water-coloring.
2. Arrange your working space
Keeping your working area clean and organized is essential for practicality and efficiency.Prepare your watercolor paper, brushes, paints, clean jars of water, a paper towel and scrap paper and arrange them within your reach.It is important to have a clean uncluttered environment that will prevent spilling accidents.
3. Start your design with a basic sketch
Not everyone has a perfect hand and when it comes to watercolors, keeping between an imaginary boundary can be tricky. Use a sharp pencil to draw your composition and paint over it, the water mixture will cover up the lines.You can add up more details with the pencil in layers as the paint dries and make the creation more and more complex. Get inspired from the natural, keep a flower next to you and try to replicate its details in order to understand shapes, tones and shading. Always make sure you start with the right foot by simply choosing the best sketchbook for watercolor; printing paper won`t do and starting full of enthusiasm only to realize the importance of paper halfway would be counter productive.
4. Prepare your watercolor paint solutions in advance
Obtaining the right color tone is difficult, reason for which is recommended to create larger portions of solution before starting the actual painting. Later on, if you run out of a certain color, it will prove to be more difficult to get the exact tone once again, thus leading to problem into your design.
5. Keep masking fluid at hand
For a water-color beginner, masking fluid is a true friend. You can apply the masking fluid on the areas you wish to preserve clean, let is dry, apply the wash wherever you want then peel the masking fluid.You will now have a clean dry area with little effort.
Basic watercolor techniques you should know
1. Using watercolor as any other paint
When you are a watercolor beginner, staying between the sketched lines seems like the proper thing to do. You will gradually learn how to control your technique, how to obtain proper colors, a steady hand and when to apply water to diffuse the tones. Start by practicing on a coloring book, check out these creations made in collaboration with Designaissance Studio and keep your watercolor in between the lines before moving one to more advanced techniques.Fill the areas with bold tones, saturated ones and slowly try to dilute them to obtain shading.
2. Watercolor washes
Watercolor washes come in two techniques: the wet surface watercolor wash and the dry surface watercolor wash.
a. Wet surface watercolor wash
This technique involves filling the desired are with water using a round brush until the paper surface is glistening with water. Then, use paint to apply lines of color on the wet surface and notice how the tones will merge and combine naturally. Use the brush to channel the paint in certain areas.
b. Dry surface watercolor wash
On the dry surface you are using a wet brush filled with color that you will channel on paper. In contrast to the first wet technique, here you have more control over the paint and the mixture of hues on paper.Both practices are really easy to master and offer rather different aesthetic effects that should be known and master by a watercolor painter.
3. Using Gradients
Water is the key in obtaining a perfect gradient, be it one in the same family tone or using different hues like creating a rainbow.
a. Wet gradient
After having applied the first layer of paint, apply the second one, lighter or darker before the first one has dried out. This way the two will merge forming a diffuse line where they meet.
b. Moist gradient
Apply the second layer of paint when is first one is still damp in order to control the tones more and to obtain a smaller merging area. If the separating line is too harsh use water to dilute it and obtain the desired gradient effect.
c. Diffuse a single color with water
Paint your area in one single color and apply successive layers of water to obtain the perfect gradient.This technique will require more time though and is considered a little bit more difficult.
4. Adding layers of colors and details
You can add more and more layers of colors on a watercolor painting with the condition to allow the first layer to completely dry out. Use less water into the new mixture to avoid the mixture of the layers; it is better to be cautious and to have to use a wet clean brush afterward to merge lines than to completely ruin the painting bu adding a really wet new layer.
5. Creating texture with watercolors
You can use a rough brush and flicks of paint on paper to create texture. Let the first layer dry out completely than add more successive layers to obtain texture, perfect for representing grass, foliage, fur and so on.
Abstract painting is the next step in your watercolor learning process. Here are a few abstract watercolor painting techniques and tricks
1. Create abstract backgrounds
After having finished a clean watercolor painting following the initially sketched lines you can go creative and wild with the background. The simplest technique is to add a splash of color or non color to your theme. You can go with an uniform background that can receive dots of white or black paint and let them diffuse into the background or simply use colorful flicks of the brush to create an artistic design. Cover up your main piece if you desire to keep it clean and neat or allow it to mix with the background.
2. Create unique textures using mundane objects
You can use all sorts of edges and ordinary mundane objects instead of a set of brushes to obtain different interesting textures and depth.A fork, a knife, a cred card edge, cloth, anything can be used with a little bit of imagination and creativity, don’t limit yourself and the creative process itself.
You can create a neat clean design and than apply layers or dots of water in certain areas to allow the paint to merge and to blur the design line, obtaining if you desire gradient effects.
4. The bloom effect
Similar to the wet surface gradient technique, wet your design surface than apply dots of various colors and allow them to bloom and merge beautifully, Choose complementary tones and do not overdue it to avoid obtaining a muddy piece.
5. The bleed effect
Abstract painting can receive the bleed effect perfectly, a technique where layers of paint are left to drip on a vertical surface for artistic purpose.The end result depends on the time you will let the paint drip and on the tones used.
6. Treated paper
You can use slightly glossy treated paper to obtain different results from the classical absorbent watercolor paper recommended. The paint will dry slower so this technique requires more patience form your part.
7. Watercolor and non-waterproof pen
Create a wonderful background using watercolors than add details using a non-waterproof pen. The latter will slowly flow into your background creating interesting effects. Use matching tones for delicate results.
Now that we have gone through the basic watercolor techniques, delight your senses and get inspired by the following watercolor painting gallery.
What do you think about the easy beuatiful technique of watercolor painting? We would love to see your creations so feel free to share your ideas and thoughts on this creative topic in the comment section below.