watercolors techniques


The Watercolors of Thierry Duval 

A graduate of Decorative Arts in 1982, illustrator, and creative in a large advertising agency in Paris, Thierry Duval drew and painted since childhood.

In preparing the entrance of Decorative Arts in Paris he discovered the work of the painter Delacroix, and that he will his passion for watercolor. This technique will give a great freedom of expression. But his way of approaching watercolor is not common, in fact, his record, unlike the traditional watercolors, a force emerges in unusual colors and lights. Its purpose is to evoke a «impressionism» of dawn or dusk depending on the themes, all supported by a drawing of a high accuracy. All these criteria give aquarelles Thierry Duval evocative power, a realism uncommon in the usual expression of watercolor.

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WATERCOLOR 101 - tips & technique

I wanted to quickly touch on how you should set up your materials, of course these are suggestions but they really will be helpful.
You may not think that how you set up your water matters, just a plain cup of water, right? Wrong. Try TWO cups of water, one to clean your dirty brushes and another to use to for your mixes. This will ensure that your colors don’t become muddy or you don’t ruin your paints by contaminating them with a dirty brush. And when working on a single piece of paper, try taping it down to your working surface with masking tape or painters tape. This will minimize the warping of the paper while working and it’ll leave you a pretty, clean border. When removing the tape, peel it back on itself to give it less of a chance to damage the paper.

Now into some basic tips okok

Most importantly, practice color theory. When painting, if you’re a beginner, you might have to have a palette that’s just limited to the primary colors, red, yellow, and blue. It’s very helpful to have knowledge of these colors to you can get the mixes that you want. Practice with your paints is honestly how you’ll get better.
Something not many people know is that there are two sets of primaries, warm and cool. Here’s an example of a color wheel for each set (please excuse the pen, my niece got her hands on it)

If you wanted to mix a vibrant purple, you would mix you warm red and blue. When mixing you’re going to start with your lighter colors and add bits of your darker colors until you get the mix you want. But if you mixed a cool red and a warm blue, it wouldn’t turn out like the purple you probably had in mind. Here are some examples of mismatched primary mixes:

But this can be useful if you needed to know how to mix that type of color with your sets of primaries.
Also, to understand the full range of colors you can make if a single set of your primary colors, make a swatch chart like this:

this is a set of cool primaries. and of course color wheels will be your best friends and they’re really fun to paint.

here’s a list of more random tips

- use an H pencil when you sketch out what you’re going to paint, they don’t smear
- if you want a lighter color, don’t add white becaue it will make the color cloudy, just simply add more water
- if you want something to be white in a painting, leave the paper untouched in the spots you want white
- instead of using black, mix your own for a more natural look. it will be mostly blue and then equal parts red and yellow, but just keep adding until it’s a dark grayish brown. I made the “black” in the lighthouse painting below this way

- be patient and work in layers, if you don’t have time to let something dry, blast it with your hairdryer
- if you want the colors you’re painting with to blend, work with them while they’re still wet
- you will have a different outcome different outcome if you wet your paper instead of dry. example:


- SALT!! SaLT!! okay, this is what it looks like:

to do this, just sprinkle a bit of salt over the paint while it is still very wet
- making a soupy mixture of an color and spattering it over with a toothbrush will add a cool texture, do it with white to add stars to a galaxy or with green or red to take your foliage to another level
- Inking your paintings with pens gives a really cool look. But you’ll want to use something with a waterproof ink or it won’t look so cool. Pens like microns or copic multiliners are great.
pen under paint:

pen over paint:

- Metallic watercolor paints can add a lil somethin special to your paintings and there’s some super cheap options out there. here’s some ways I’ve used them:

- white gel pens can be used to add some highlight or detail but you can also use them to give you painting a cool look, like I did with this painting of a crystal

- use a paper towel to create clouds by crumpling it and dabbing it on the wet paint to lift some of it

- negative painting is a technique where you paint in layers and create shapes in each layer to show depth and give an interesting look. but it’s a bit easier to understand if you look at it:

  - and somethings super random but it’s my new favorite thing, use watercolors to color in your adult coloring books!!

and that pretty much wraps it up, i know i’m probably leaving out so much but I hope you enjoyed this and learned something and you can always come to me with more questions!!


New #watercolor going up! Here’s a little teaser time-lapse. Music is Prelude no. 14 by Chris Zabriskie. #wip #illustrator #art #illustration #painting #process #artistoninstagram #artist #instapaint #paint #technique #discipline

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Space Balls

Recently I’ve been playing with wet on wet watercolor techniques.  This watercolor technique works wonders with creating backgrounds, skies, water, and space.  By wetting your work area first with water, you can create organic shapes and water movement that mimic things you would find in nature.  Make sure you only wet areas you want the colors to flow with clean water.  Or your painting will become muddy and washed out.

This is step one.  Filling in the area with color.  If you experience pooling you can either:

1. Mop it up with a brush/towel/paper

2. Tilt your paper to evenly distribute the water but risk muddying colors

3. Let it dry for a darker effect but risk getting bleeding 

Experiment with different color combinations.  You can look up galaxies, nebulas, and stars online but just experimenting works even better.  

Possible color combos that worked:

1. Warm colors: reds/oranges/pinks/yellow

2. Cool colors: Blue/purple/green

3. Mix it up, if you add in just cool colors, you can add a pop/drop of red to really give it a pop.

Now we need to darken up the borders and around the organic color flows you have created.  Let it dry slightly and then mix up very dark purple with a base of blue.

Fill in edges and then go back and get high paint to water ratios of your colors (orange) and dip your brush in those areas.  Watch the color bleed into the dark purple.  Add and experiment as desired.

Check out that bleeding action!  It’s exactly what you want.  

Now take a white gel pen/white gouache/white watered down acrylic paint and tap your brush with a pencil to get nice star variations.  I even used silver calligraphy ink to add even more dimension to the stars.  Not all stars are white.  You can make them silver, gold, light blue, light yellow, cream or anything that works for you.

What I did next is scan some of my “space balls” into my computer, cut them out into perfect circles and arrange them as a print.  You can check it out below.

Experiment and enjoy!  I think this picture “tutorial” is okay but a video would definitely convey some of the technique better.  Look forward to that.



another teaching story

i was teaching watercolor techniques to third graders

now, for those of you who aren’t around kids much, they have more knowledge of memes than you might realize

so there i am, standing in front of the class, explaining how to soak up some excess water on their paintings so their paper doesn’t buckle

“If you have too much water or paint, just give it a little dab with -”

the room grew still. they all look at me now, eyes wide. suddenly, three-fourths of the class - around 20 of them - dab

in unison.

this was the moment i realized that i, an art teacher, cannot use the word “dab” ever again


Calligraphy by @tolgagirgin99 🌟🔥💯 - ‘Love’ - Calligtaphy + Wet on wet watercolor technique with brushpen and watercolors. ✒👑
Music: Coldplay | Clocks 🎵🎧

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Here’s a new short video, where you can see some of my watercolor underpainting techniques! Its mostly focused on soft layering and gradual buildup of contrast and detail while rendering long hair. Eventually, I transfer the finished watercolor to one of my lasercut panels and then blend everything together with oil glazes. This finished piece will be for a show in LA in February!

Its been a great few weeks in the studio of starting some new pieces, and enjoying this inspiring space now that its mostly come together. We moved to this location last October, and it always takes a little while for everything to find its place again. The natural light here is so beautiful that I’ve been especially inspired!


(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bubn0KbADKM)