Any advice for painting with water colors??
I’m not a very good watercolor artist since I’m a very messy person, and mainly use it for quick ‘sketches’. But these are some tips I learned in my first year at an art school which REALLY improved my work:
- The type of paper you use makes a difference. You can get different weights and different textures and it will have an effect on the way your painting will look. Also, if you’re working with thinner paper it’s a good idea to stretch the paper first so it doesn’t get wavy while you’re working.
- For stretching paper, you’ll need a bowl of water (room temp.), a sponge, brown gummy tape (it becomes sticky when you added water), and preferably a surface to work on (i have a board of scrap wood i got cheap from the hardware store). Damp the paper and 4 pieces of tape (slightly longer than each side of the paper), and working quickly, press down the tape on all four sides, making sure the paper stays flat so there aren’t any bubbles. Then let it dry, or use a hairdryer. I’m sure you can find youtube tutorials to give you a better idea.
- Work light to dark. Watercolors are transparent, and you won’t be able to see light colors if you paint them over dark ones. It’s best to plan ahead and first lay down light flat colours, and gradually add darker colours and details on top.
- Have a scrap piece of paper beside you to test your colors out after you mix them on your palette. Watercolors dry lighter, so it might not be the color you think it is. Adding more water makes your colors even lighter, and don’t add too much because you might ruin your paper. (And don’t make your paints too thick because that looks weird.)
- Brushes make a difference! The shape and the quality; A flat square brush will have a different effect then a round pointed one. Please don’t buy brushes form the dollar store, because you get what you pay for. I know brushes are super expensive, and you probably don’t need high-grade brushes if you’re just painting for fun, but going to an art store you’ll find plenty of different brands, and hopefully one that is the right price for you, but still good quality! I have a TON of brushes, but usually I only use my four main ones: a small flat brush, a small round brush, a large flat brush and a TINY round for details. Depending on what your needs are, get brushes accordingly!
- Brushes are expensive, please look after them so you won’t have to keep buying new ones like some people who are forgetful (me). Wash them out properly, store them horizontally if you can, NEVER brush-side-down. Don’t be too rough on them while you paint; paint on the side and dON’T REPEATEDLY SMASH IT DOWN ON YOUR PAPER FOR TEXTURE LIKE A TODDLER. (I DID THIS A LOT)
- Sometimes you won’t need a brush! Experiment with different items for different textures. Things like sponges, painting over a net, using a toothbrush to flick paint… try using things around the house!
- Masking fluid is really cool. You just apply it onto an area that you don’t want painted over or protected (like maybe the eyes), and afterwards you can just peel it off to reveal lovely clean paper! (depending on the paper!!! test it first!!!). Make sure you use a separate brush for this! (You can use the dollar store brushes for this :P)
- Don’t be stingy with your paints (A BIG ISSUE WITH ME). Make enough color on your palette so you don’t run out halfway, because its super hard getting the same color twice.
- If you make a mistake you might be able to dab it off if its wet (don’t wipe!). Since watercolors never really dry (you can make them wet again easily) You can mix a teeny bit of water of top of the mistake until its wet and dab it off. But honestly, watercolors are a very fluid technique; if you make a mistake try to work around it because you can’t really cover it up like acrylics or oils.
Um, here’s a nice resource for more tips!
Hope that helps! :D