Watercolours - What I Have Learnt So Far

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Hello Everyone,

I hope you have had a good week?  Today I wanted to write about watercolour, what I have learn’t so far.  I have been playing around with them on and off and for adding colour and paint mediums they are the most efficient for me.  I think it’s because of the ‘impressionistic’ feel they have.

I have read and watched tutorials on watercolours to get some tips however the best thing I have found is to experiment with them and practice, practice, practice.  My aim is to be able to do some realistic paintings with them but that is a long way off currently, just putting that goal out on the airwaves!

Watercolours - What I Have Learnt So Far

Lessons - Paper

To get started you don’t need to have specialist paper as this can be expensive and there are so many different types.  I am using my moleskine sketchbook which has quite thick good quality paper in it and can take lots of re-wetting.  It does wrinkle a tiny bit but it doesn’t ruin your picture and it is perfect for a sketchbook to practice in.  I can also do another watercolour on the other side of the same page and it does not ruin the painting on the back.

Lessons - Paint

You can mix any shade you want and tonal value by how much water you add which I love.  If gives you freedom in your colour range.  The paint moves really easily and you can cover large areas quickly depending on the brush you are using.  You also don’t need much paint either when using it so I can tell they will last a long time.

Lessons - Technique

What I have learn’t so far, the hard way….is you need to keep a tight control on the brush and the strokes you use, even if you are doing large sweeping motions as the paint (as it’s watery) can run away quickly.  Also start with a small amount and move it straight away when you touch the paper (unless you are doing dots) as the water will ‘blob’ in place and when it dries is just looks like a coloured water blob, not great.  

                         Watercolours - What I Have Learnt So Far

Water - be mindful of how much water you use, once I have dipped the brush in the mixed paint I dab it lightly on some paper towel so you don’t get that initial ‘water drop’ and it helps with a smoother application of colour and gives you more control.

Layers - you need to layer your painting, start with the lightest values and build up gradually building up to and then using the darkest values.  I started off impatient and thought I could do it all in just a couple of layers, three at most - mistake, be patient and take your time.  I have just bought a little hand held drying tool so I can dry the layers quickly to help me along and it is brilliant.  I found I could lose a bit of motivation waiting for the layer to dry.

I am hoping to revisit this article again at a later date when I have done a lot more experimenting and I can have even more tips for you but hopefully this gives you a little help and guidance to start with sharing watercolours what I have learn't so far. Below is the latest watercolour painting I did which is much better than the first one which is the image above.

                Watercolours - What I Have Learnt So Far

To see the latest sketches/paintings of the week in my ABC challenge see my Instagram page @zoebadgerart

Until next week Happy Sketching!


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