The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Thursday, October 1, 2020

Best watercolor techniques for beginners

Improve yourself with the right knowledge, the right tools, and a little practice!

Watercolor, although generally considered fun, can also be a little harder to control. It is a very particular medium. Fluid colors dance on the surface of the paper, in the sandstone of the water, producing delicate paintings, bright and bright colors. The colors can be superimposed, controlled glazes, or applied with free keys, hardly suggesting the subject.

Many beginners in watercolor have difficulty controlling it and if you’re painting experience were done with an opaque medium (oils, acrylics), watercolor painting might seem difficult at first.

Here are some excellent tips for painting in watercolor...

Use good quality paint
The equipment you use greatly influences the results and of course, your satisfaction and progress. Many beginners decide to buy cheaper brands to "see if they like it" before investing in better quality paints. This may not be the best idea because poor quality material may discourage you and make you give up watercolor. Besides, the investment will be sustainable because the material wears out very slowly and the paint is used in tiny quantities. You can even use watercolor pencils to get ride from liquid watercolor handling hassles.

Use the right paper
The quality of the paper is essential. It must absorb the water and be able to accept several layers of colors. The thicker the paper, the better it is for watercolor applications. I recommend using a paper of at least 300 gram (140 lbs).

Watercolor paper can be stretched to absorb color applications without curl better. Thicker papers can be soaked in water and attached to a wooden board with staples or tape. As the paper dries, it contracts slightly, producing an ideal surface for watercolor painting.

Lighter papers can be glued to a wood panel with masking tape and then slightly moistened with water.

Draw slightly
It is often necessary to draw the composition before starting to paint. To make sure that the pencil marks disappear under the paint, draw lightly with an HB pencil, avoid over-pressing and draw only the outline lines. Softer pencils (2B, 4B, etc.) will produce lines that are too dark and difficult to erase, while harder pencils (2H, 4H, etc.) will create grooves on the surface of the paper. The pencil lines can be erased with an eraser or eraser of bread before starting to paint. But once the watercolor is applied, it is virtually impossible to remove the graphite marks from the surface.

Use the right brushes
There are many brushes for watercolor in the trade and there are no precise rules for the brushes to use. However, soft bristled brushes are generally preferred. Your own experience will help you find the best brush for your style, but synthetic scrubs are a good starting point. I usually use round brushes, well inflated when loaded with paint and making a helpful tip. I also use splatters for broad surfaces.

Relax, stay calm!
The vehicle of watercolor painting is water. For this reason, colors flow naturally and create interesting shapes that are often beyond our control. It is better not to fight against this and exploit the effects obtained. The subjects do not need to be precise. Shapes, colors and values can be applied with flexibility and lightness, hardly suggesting the topic.

Allow the watercolor to "do what it wants" in places and enjoy the result.

Limit your palette
As in all painting mediums, the color theory applies. Although it is tempting to get a wide range of colors, it is best to work with a limited palette. Always look for your colorful harmonies in all your subjects and do not hesitate to simplify the colors observed.

When your palette is simplified, the paint obtained is often harmonized and aesthetically successful.

Use glazes
In watercolor, it is always better to realize the dark colors gradually, layers after layers. Let each coat of wash dry before applying another. Since the colors are transparent and superimposed, the final color obtained by this superposition of glaze seems deep and complex.

As a general rule, the darker values are developed as the painting progress while the lighter values are preserved from the beginning with minimal applications, as it is the white of the paper that gives clarity. Although the colors can be mixed on the palette, it is also interesting to mix the colors in translucent layers on the paper.

Use the fluid to mask
The fluid to be hidden is a liquid generally based on latex. It is applied to protect certain areas of the painting to keep the white of the paper.

Once dry, the fluid to be masked can be easily removed by rubbing with a finger or an eraser. The liquid to be masked damages the brushes; it is advisable to use an old brush or a rubber brush to apply it on the paper.

Know when to stop
One of the biggest challenges in watercolor knows when to stop. We too often want perfection and we work on the endless subject. But if we work too much, the result will seem overloaded and the watercolor will be missed!

Unfortunately, watercolor cannot be corrected like an oil painting or acrylic. What is done is done and we cannot go back. So, it's especially important to know when to stop. If you're wondering "What more can I do?” The painting is probably over and it's time to sign it.

Practice again and again!
Skills development requires practice. This applies to both mediums and watercolor. Do not expect to be an expert on your first attempts. With practice, you will gradually begin to build your confidence, and trust will bring you satisfaction and pleasure.

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