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art techniques: watercolor basics

We are back in action with our third Virtual Creative Hour! So many people had questions about watercolor so I'm going to take it really slow by starting off with just techniques and some fun ways to experiment with the medium. Fun Fact: I started off painting with mostly watercolor! My husband's cousin and I started a stationery company on Etsy one year and sold hand painted cards. We even did a "Paper Exchange" and matched up companies to send care packages to each other. It was super cute and just a great turnout! Typical us - we got bored but should have kept going! Either way, I'm glad we did it as our first little entrepreneurial stunt :)

Back to techniques. Watercolor is so fun and the key thing to remember is to LET GO at first. My first instinct was to have controlled paint and environments, but the beauty is in the way the water carries the pigment! Watercolor also requires patience when layering - another thing I struggled with. I would start painting my second layer when it was still wet and just have to wait all over again (hehe.) The best part about watercolor is that you can create something beautiful with just lines, shapes or globs of color. It's all about flow and an amazing way to relieve stress + get creative without an end result in mind. I'm sharing this blog post with you days early so you can try and Amazon prime or order your supplies in time for this Saturday. Our local craft stores are closed so yours might be too! You could get really creative and paint with coffee if you really wanted to :)

My favorite watercolor tools are below!

Our worksheet for this week's virtual hour is below and HERE in pdf form. Basic/All Levels

Premium Supplies (For when you want to up your game!)

We're going to be walking through how to swatch your paint palette (wet watercolor dries differently than what's in your palette!), talking about value and then going through 10 fun techniques. Templates and techniques are below!


1. DRY BRUSH This creates dry, textured look using a "dry"brush - especially full of texture on rough/cold press paper! Load your brush with paint and very little water (you might need to dab on a paper towel if there's drops) and then brush on paper. This one is fun to explore with different hand pressures!


The most common technique you'll see or most likely work with. This is a way to effortlessly blend colors and create beautiful pockets of color with soft blends. Use a clean brush to apply clean water to paper, this should be an even layer (no pools), then load brush with pigment and paint on the area where you've just applied water. Give some time for it to dry - the results are stunning!


Lifting is literally "lifting" color off of the page. You can use this technique to lighten color and paint in desired areas. On a dried painted area, use a clean brush with water and "scrub" to lift the paint from the paper. I also do this on semi-wet or wet areas with a clean, dry brush. It acts as a nice sponge.


Bring out your inner salt-bae! Sprinkle salt on wet paint, let dry and then gently rub off. You'll be left with little starburst shapes.

5. Q-TIP

Similar to lifting, you can also use a q-tip on wet paint! I like to use a q-tip for a blended look.


You can use plastic wrap to create random edges and cool veiny textures. Put color down loosely (pools of color encouraged) then lay down plastic wrap over wet paint and smooth with fingers. Allow the paint to dry with the wrap on top, then remove.


I love this effect! Alcohol literally pushes away paint and helps create soft-edged white areas. To use, paint your areas as desired and while it's still wet, dip a clean brush in alcohol and apply to painted areas to push away paint. You can use vodka too if you don't have rubbing alcohol!


Dip your brush in paint and practice leaving dots with different hand pressure to experiment!


Practice making thin lines with your brush by starting at one point and dragging your brush across the page with light pressure.


Practice making thick lines with your brush by starting at one point and dragging your brush across the page with hard pressure.

Happy creating! xo, S.

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Nov 24, 2020

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