Watercolor painting is always a great time regardless of whether you do it as a job, a hobby, or simply giving in to the random urge to pick up a brush. That creative thrill that motivates you to pick up the brush is just as exciting as the experience. But, there are so many techniques to learn and it can become overwhelming easily.
For any artist that is learning to advance their craft, it is best to learn the basic yet crucial methods in watercolor painting. These 4 simple techniques will help you grow your art style as a beginner.
1. Wet on Dry
Wet on dry is another commonly used water painting method that consists of applying wet paint onto dry paper or other dried layers of paint. Opposed to the wet on wet, this allows for a more direct approach to water painting that leaves a straight and consistent brush stroke left by the painter purposely.
For a more controlled and precise style of watercolor painting, the wet-on-dry method gives any artist just as much freedom to create what they please. Although in this case, if an artist has an idea in their head and knows what they want from the beginning, they have the opportunity to hold more control about where their strokes begin and end. A fun and simple method for beginners to dip their toes in when experimenting with new methods.
2. Wet on Wet
Wet on wet is a method that is used by adding a bit of water onto the page before adding the paint itself. The water can be placed meticulously or randomly, whichever is preferred by the painter. Once your page is wet, applying the paint to the water, it will automatically adjust to a more fluid and free moving state that follows with the water placement.
A bit more erratic for some, but for a more spontaneous and experimental artist, it definitely gives off more controlled chaos to your water painting. If this is something that you’d like to aim for then I highly recommend this technique! The drying process of this method also gives more opportunities to add to your painting. As the paint flows through the water on the page, there's always the choice to maybe move around the paper before drying to expand its range or help patch other spots last minute. Adding water to your page opens up the opportunity to apply new elements to your art in any way you deem fit, the freedom of the page is all yours.
When it comes to mixing colors together with water paints, the blending strategy is a useful technique to learn for starting off. The method involves the painter brushing one color onto the paper, then applying another color over it before letting it dry. The outcome is a blended effect between the two or more colors of your choice.
Blending colors into each other opens up much more creative options for your watercolor painting. It can be used for shading other colors together, or simply creating a whole new color itself with this method. Blending works great on all mediums, whether you’re doing a landscape painting, portrait, or anything abstract, blending is definitely an important skill that would assist your water painting skill in the long run.
Similar to blending, gradient is a method that allows you to seemingly blend one color into a lighter shade. This technique can be easily accomplished with either wet on dry or wet on wet — and it’s used to create a gradual transition from light to dark (or vice versa).
Gradient is an essential piece of watercolor painting, as it's usually used for interesting sun, skies, or even outer space galactic paintings. It's also helpful in practicing other methods such as the wet on wet style since the two typically go hand in hand with one another. Gradient is also a technique that will evolve your own art styles in ways you were not able to before. Whether it's used in a big or small way it will always make an impactful difference in your paintings.
In any artistic expression, it's always best to learn simple techniques first. If creative block strikes, you can utilize these beginner watercolor techniques to move in-between methods and get a feel for something different that works for you. Even if you don’t plan to use all of them, it’s always best to keep these strategies in your back pocket when you need them.
Interested in starting on your journey as a Watercolor Artist? Join my Roadmap to Watercolor Beginners Course! This is the perfect course for someone who is a beginner that wants to learn foundational watercolor techniques and gain creative control.
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