Hello, it’s been a while hasn’t it? If you are new to this blog, Hey! I am Hope, I illustrate and welcome to the blog! Today, I am going to share with you the ten ultimate watercolor (or watercolour 😗) tips I wish I knew before I started out. I illustrate digitally and traditional, here I use more of watercolor paints, and I have gathered some tips and hacks over time that are very helpful. Of course, I’m going to share these tips with you!
1. Get good brushes, watercolor paper and paint
It’s best to invest in good supplies –not over the top, but good tools for painting. Some brushes fray, and it will be annoying to paint with them because those stick outs have the paint and will scatter paint where you don’t want it. For watercolor paper (300gsm) is the ideal. GSM represents the thickness of the paper. If you are just starting out (150gsm, cardboard paper) can be okay. Just don’t expect to be able to do techniques like wet on wet, scratching out paint, as you might reap the paper apart 😬. Also, cheaper paint is mixed with more chalk than pigment and as the price goes higher, it is more pigment (color) mixed into it than chalk. If you are just practicing, you can use the cheaper ones. However, you will still notice how it comes out paler and chalky compared to less cheaper watercolor paints.
2. Do not rush to put your mixed paint on the paper.
Try it out on a paper towel or normal paper before you use it to see if it comes out how you pictured it. I can’t stress this enough!
3. The shade of your yellow and blue determines the green.
You don’t want muddy colours. It will be better to have some visuals to explain my point better. I found a video of this tip on YouTube by Makoccino that adequately explains it.
4. Know your brushes.
Brushes soak up water and others, not so much. You don’t want puddles in your paintings. Know if your brush absorbs much water so you know how frequently you should deep it in clean water and if you should dry it before making an independent stroke.
5. Your hand posture is important
Your hand positioning needs to come in mind especially when you are starting out with painting, as you practice more, it becomes part of you. The posture of your hand can determine how large or thin a stroke is and how stable your hand is.
6. You can go for larger brushes.
I use a size 7 artist brush even for the little details. It is OK to have those detailing brushes. Still, if you have only a chance to pick one brush, I’ll say go for a medium sized brush. You can make both large and small strokes with that brush by positioning your hands differently. Better too big than too small.
7. Mix in more colour pigments.
When mixing your colours with water or with another colour, use more paint. The more your paint, the more vibrant the art comes out. You can always water the mixed paint down if you want a wash look/technique. Even better, you can leave the excess for next time and just activate the paint with water!
8. Start with the light colours
When painting with watercolors it’s best to start by painting in the lighter colours that will be in your artwork. Using the lighter colours, you are able to cut out shapes and even if you make a mistake, the darker colour will cover it up. Making a mistake with dark colours is quite hard to cover up, except you are using the wet on wet technique where the paint is still cleanable. There are some times when we start with darker colours —that’s, when we have drawn out the shape already with a pencil and we are coloring the dark background, making sure we stick to the lines.
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9. Clean your brushes well before painting with another colour.
It’s easy to throw your brush into your cleaning water and bring it out the next second. The problem is some paint can still be in the brush and when you get another paint, it mixes with that pure color. This goes along with number 2.
10. It is okay to sketch out the art before painting.
You might be putting paint directly on paper without sketching because you think that’s how it is meant to be. I felt that way initially. Why some artists just paint on without sketching, it is okay to do a simple loose sketch so you can tell where the shapes go. Most artists do this, and their work comes out great!
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