Watercolor is a tricky medium to work with. However, daunting it may seem, painting with watercolors can be fun and unleashes a plethora of opportunities for an artist if managed right. Encapsulating some tips that may beat your fear and help you in exploring your creative world with a brush in your hand.
1. ART MATERIALS:
Get on-board with little stuff: One can start his / her journey with basic colors, brushes, paper to paint on, palette (you can buy a cheap plastic one or use porcelain or may be use the leftover tiles), towel paper and clean water.
For a beginner there is nothing wrong with using the cheap art materials and once the confidence builds it is recommended to invest in some high-quality brushes, paints, and paper (300gsm).
This will provide the right impetus in the learning curve and will also bring in the right contrasts and noticeable change in the artwork output. I use Brustro brand brushes and colors by Creativehands for my artworks.
2. COLOR INTERACTION
To really explore the world of colors one should study the basics of color theory (primary, secondary, tertiary, warm colors, cool colors, complementary colors, etc). The interaction of the colors can be learned and practiced by making one’s own swatch card. Trust Me! Making a swatch card is like the eureka moment in the artist’s journey as one unveils the magic of colors.
3. EXPERIMENT WITH TECHNIQUES:
There are many techniques to paint in watercolor, like wet on wet, wet on dry, paint lifting, etc. Experiment with different techniques generously to figure out the best method for oneself. I generally enjoy wet on wet technique as I like the output in that process (mostly it is dependent on one’s comfort and likeability of the output – so go out and find your own mojo).
4. STUDY LIGHT AND SHADOW:
Study the fundamentals of the light and the shadow. The things we see in our daily lives, like metal, ice, wood, leaf, or any other object – it is the interaction of the object with the light that determines its characteristics. Each material reacts differently with the light and one has to observe the object’s interaction on a daily basis to translate that into the canvas. Once observed and learned you will see a remarkable difference in your artwork.
5. LIMIT YOUR PALETTE
An artist is often tempted to use every color on the palette that is available, however, it is the limiting of the use of colors and palette that often provides with better results. One should focus on the Centre of Interest of the painting that captures and holds the viewer’s attention. The center of interest should contain the maximum tonal contrast and the strongest region of the color.
6. DRAW LIGHT:
Erase the pencil marks gently before starting with the colors because once the watercolor is added it is impossible to remove the pencil marks from the surface underneath it.
7. WORK FROM LIGHT TO DARK:
When using watercolor it is a common practice to start from the light to the dark. It is important to plan the work ahead for example if one starts with all darks, it is extremely difficult to keep the lights protected. Build the values layer by layer to reach the right effect else one can end up with dark areas that were meant to be light.It is important to save the white of the paper for white areas/highlights because once the color hits it the beautiful white is lost. Though once can use the white watercolor paint but it gives a little chalky look and is not recommended. All in all – just stay ahead in the game and plan ahead.
8. GO BOLD WITH VALUES:
Don’t lose your head in order to achieve the range of values for your output. The painting will have more life and character if it ranges from light to dark. But on the same note – don’t overwork, one should know when to keep the brush down.
9. SPLATTER TECHNIQUE:
I personally love using this technique. Load your brush with paint and water, use your index finger, pull back on the bristles, and let them snap forward and see the magic of splatter. This method is a bit unpredictable but can yield some very fun results. Before using in the final artwork, I recommend to experiment and learn on some rough paper.
10. DIVE IN- PRACTICE MORE:
You study different techniques by different artists but try to evolve your own style of painting by practicing and experimenting more and more. You are your own teacher. Try to experiment with different styles. Enjoy what you do. Don’t be scared of mistakes or ruining your artwork. Be positive about your work. It will give you confidence and enthusiasm. Be creative by doing your own thing, that’s the beauty of any artwork!! Have fun!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it!
I am “Tanu Gupta” a 3D animation professional with over 14 years of a life devoted to it. I have always been passionate about the textures and lights. Recently I started experimenting with colors and the more I am getting into it the more enjoyable my awakening is. Since then, there is not a single day when I missed my exploration and I am completely enjoying and loving it.
Writeup by Tanu, an artist! Instagram