Portrait – Let’s Paint! Watercolour Walk Through

Hello again! Let’s get into another watercolour tutorial, this one is more of a follow through than a tutorial. This is the end result, some kind of galaxy goddess something…

Hopefully you’re a little more excited about this than the sad bunnies on my note paper.
First up, sketch your basic outline.
Keep the details around the face fine.
While the hair out the back is long and flowing.
The most important part of paintings like this is the colouring. Think about colours that work well together. My favourite combination is bright blue/green/pink/purple.
I decided to go with the blue and green for the girl and then pink and purple for the sky. I like to start with the face details because if I don’t get that right then there’s no point doing the rest of the painting. Each line and area is a combination of the two colours.
The technique is simple, lay down a thick-ish line of water.
Drop on the two colours and move them with the paint brush until you’re happy.
While the face outlines dry I moved on to the fabric. I find it easier to do the outlines first then move on to the shadows etc once it’s dry using the lines as a guide.
Moving on, the hair is next. Large sections of hair first making sure to keep it so it looks flowing.
Use your colours to indicate the texture and folds of the fabric. Keep an eye on where you’re placing each colour eg. use the darker blue for areas in shadow.
Overlapping the hair layers once they are dry creates even more layers.
The face and skin is shaded very minimally.
Now let it all dry.
Once it’s totally dry, erase any of the pencil which is still showing through.
Now to paint the background,we don’t want to get any of the pink/purple on the greens so cover the edges with masking fluid.
Cover the entire background with water.
And then drip the colour on.
More water and more colour.
You can see the water pooling and the paper beginning to buckle. So long as the water isn’t a danger to the other colours don’t worry about it. Water makes cool patterns as it dries.
Once it dries it will look something like this:
Now remove all of the resist from the edges.
All done!
I left a gap around the edges for aesthetic reasons but you can paint resist directly on top of the green/blue if you want to keep it nice and close.
So let’s have a look at all of the details!
With techniques like this, the paint and the water are really doing most of the work so all you need are basic drawing skills.
Textured paper really brings out water colour.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this walk/paint through 😀 Let me know what you paint, I can’t wait to see!

Shading – Let’s Paint! Watercolour Walk Through

Time for another beginners watercolour tutorial! Today we’re going to tackle something really important: shading!

So before we work on techniques, let’s learn about the basic timeline of a painting. Every artist has a different way of doing things but this is mine.
1. Sketch out a picture.
2. Ink the picture using a fine black pen.
3. Do a basic wash with light colours. A wash is what it’s called when you do one very thin coat with a base colour to work on.
4.  Add shadows using a darker tone.
5. Once it’s dry, add highlights using a white gel pen.
So really what I’m saying is that basic shading consists of a base colour, shadow and highlight. Blend those colours together and you’re set. Just make sure that you keep in mind where the light source in your drawing is and shade according to that.
There are different ways to achieve shading as well. Below you can see a rose which has been shaded using different techniques.
Block shading is a technique where there is no blending of the shading at all, the colours are just painted on and left. This gives a cartoonish effect.
Blended shading is what the name suggests, where the shading is blended together.
It’s much easier to blend colours together smoothly when they are wet on wet paper. Have a look at at the picture below, there is a splotch of blue and of red and then water between them.
Using a clean brush with a little water on it brush the two colours together and swirl them to mix.
It is much easier to blend seamlessly on wet paper than it is with dry.
A combination of block and blended shading works really well on areas such as hair.
To achieve that, use a blended shading technique while it’s wet and then add block shading when it’s dry.
You can really play with things like colour once you get comfortable with shading.
For example here is a regular line drawing…
And here is a shaded version…
Practice is the most important part of this. It takes a while but when you’ve done enough drawings you can get a feel for things. It sounds really cliche but it’s very true! The more you practice drawing things the more it becomes muscle memory. Look at the world around you and look at where the light hits things, shading and colouring is a skill which is completely separate from drawing to learn so don’t be discouraged and practice both of them separately and together!
I hope you found this helpful and I can’t wait to see what you guys paint!

How To Paint A Basic Landscape – Watercolour Walk Through

Time for another watercolour tutorial! Today we’re going to paint a very basic landscape. This is mostly about the order of doing things so don’t worry about your technique, it’s all about practice!

Our painting is going to be a very basic landscape of some trees on a river at sunset.
So let’s get started! We will roughly sketch things before we begin painting. To begin with, decide where your horizon line is and draw a line there. I did mine 1/3rd from the bottom of the page.
Now roughly outline the trees. You don’t need to do things in too much detail, just a rough guide.
Now we will begin painting the trees with a wash. A wash is when you paint an entire area with a thin wet coat of colour.
So give the entire area of the trees a wash with light green.
Drying time is important. If you do the next coat before it’s totally dry they will bleed together.
Paint the reflections of the trees in the lake with a light green wash too. They should be the same shape as the trees but upside down.
Once those sections are dry it’s time to work on the sunset. Cover the entire sky area with water and then paint a line of yellow at the horizon.
Mix in a line of pink and make sure you have enough water for them to smoosh together.
Continue the gradient up to purple and blue.
Continue the blue up to the top of the paper.
Repeat the same wash of sky down into the river backwards for the reflection. Water makes things appear distorted so make the gradient of colours much shorter.
You should have something like this…
Now let’s build on the trees. Use a more vibrant mix of the light green and begin with tiny strokes to make triangular pine tree shapes. You don’t need to colour each entire tree in, just little brush strokes will do.
Build the trees up slowly, there is no “undo” in water colours!
Continue building and consider as you paint where the light would be coming from. The only light in this scene comes from the sunset so the side of the trees which is nearer to the edges of the paper will be darker.
Don’t forget to paint in some more detail to the reflections as well. You don’t want a large amount of tiny strokes like on the actual trees, just some spotchy areas to represent shade in the water ripples.
And remember that on the other side, the light is coming from a different direction.
Once that’s dry we will add in some highlights with a bright yellow. This matches the colour of the sunset. You can also continue the sunset gradient in the tree highlights for a very good look.
So to paint the highlights, add some small strokes of yellow on the tops and sides of the trees closest to the sunset.
Make sure to do the other side as well and add splotches to the reflections to match.
Now begin to add the shadows. Start with a darker shade of green.
I really like to use burnt sienna as a shadow colour because it gives a more realistic and deeper tone than black does. I almost never use actual black for shading.
Now the trees are done, it’s time to layer some cloud coverage on the skyline. I like to layer some with each of the gradient colours.
And that’s about it for the painting part.
So over here you have smooshy reflections…
Very thin and fairly undefined layers of cloud coverage…
And smooth water…
If you want you can add in more details using a white gel pen.
And there you go! It’s a simple landscape that you can build on to make something awesome!
These are the basic steps that I use for most of my paintings, you can take the techniques and use them for just about anything.
Yay for completing a full painting! Hope you guys found something useful in this and let me know how you go painting your own landscapes!


How To Use Watercolour Resist- Let’s Paint! Watercolour Walk Through

Before I knew what resist was I had wondered for years how watercolour artists managed to paint in blank areas. I tend to paint haphazardly so being able to think forward enough to leave huge blank areas like this was far beyond my scope.

Screw forward thinking, resist/masking fuild is awesome!
Basically resist/masking fluid is a slightly gummy paste which you paint on, then you can paint colours over the top and carefully remove it to see the white paper underneath.
You can use it in a number of ways. Here are 4 of them!
Top left: Mask out entire heart
Top right: Mask out the area around heart to make a sharp edge
Bottom left: Mask out little spots on the heart
Bottom right: Mask out an entire heart on a painted area
Once the fluid is dry, paint over the top.
Gently peel the resist off the paper and it leaves it clean underneath. You can see on the bottom right, the top of the heart is messed up because I was too vigorous when removing it and I tore up a little bit of the paper which was still a bit wet. >_<
Let’s do a bigger project with it. I have sketched out a deer and we will mask that out and paint over it. So sketch out main drawing.
Shake up your fluid. I tends to form a skin over the top so you want to make sure it’s a good thin consistency before you paint.
It’s a good idea to have a dedicated brush for working with masking fluid because it tends to be a pain in the arse to clean up and you don’t want to ruin good watercolour brushes.
Begin by masking off the larger areas like the neck. You can see what happens if you use unmixed masking fluid below, it’s lumpy and harder to work with so make sure you mix it well!
I suggest that you thinly outline the area that you want to paint in and then fill in the middles.
If you make a mistake don’t just wipe it off. Wait for it to dry and then gently peel it off and repaint that area.
Any areas you want coloured leave blank.
It can be really difficult to see what you’re doing when painting white on white so I suggest angling your paper while sitting near a window. Leave it to dry very thoroughly before you start painting.
The painting technique we’re going to use for the rest is basically adding a lot of water and then dripping colour on to it.
So soak  the paper with a coat of water. I suggest when doing paintings this wet you should remove the paper from your sketch book and put it on a board so you don’t ruin pages underneath. For this kind of painting you really need to use a heavy grade of paper.
Once your paper is nice and wet, begin by dripping your first colour. I like to start around where the masking is so I can actually see what I’m doing for the rest of it.
Add in a second colour and keep dripping water as you go to keep things wet and easy to move.
Keep layering water and paint.
You can see just how much water is used in these kind of paintings.
Make sure to concentrate on important details like the eyes and pay close attention to the colours there.
Now leave the entire thing to dry very thoroughly. Even if it seems dry I would suggest leaving it over night or else you risk tearing when you remove the resist.
Once it is dry gently peel the edge of the fluid and slowly peel it up. If you can’t find the edge, you can VERY gently use a pin to hook it and then pull up with your fingers.
It should have kind of the consistency of latex eyelash glue. Be super careful around the edges.
To do this kind of painting you do need to be able to think ahead and almost do things backwards, you need a clear vision of how the picture is going to look in your mind before you begin.
You can see that the lines around the resist are very sharp and clean.
So there you go, now go and paint something fun!
Hopefully you have a decent grasp of how masking fluid works now! Let me know if you have any questions 😀 I’m really enjoying writing this series now, I hope you are all enjoying reading them.

Silk Painting Technique Sampler!

Seeing as I’ve been doing some beginners watercolour posts lately I thought perhaps it would be fun to do something similar with silk painting techniques. So I made a silk sampler to try out a lot of different techniques.
I’m using Opulence silk dye for this post, it’s easy to use and fixes with an iron rather than steam. I’m using clear and black gutta as well. The clear washes out with water and the black is fixed.

I’m using a small Pongee pre-hemmed silk.
It’s very thin and a bit floaty. It was one of the cheaper weights and I think I prefer the expensive heavier weight looks but I haven’t been brave enough to paint on one yet because it’s more expensive and I’m scared of ruining it >_>
The silk is stretched on my frame so it’s tight and easier to work with.
To begin with I thought I would experiment and see if I could colour the clear gutta so it would leave behind a light stain when it was washed out.
For this I used a thin brush while applying.
It did look cute but didn’t take on much of the silk dye colour.
I then applied a design around the outside using the clear gutta applicator bottle to see the difference between brush and bottle tip.
Harder to see when it’s white on white but the application is thicker but more regulated.
The black gutta has a much thinner applicator.
And it was much thicker and therefore harder to control with a small paint brush.
I divided the rest of the silk up into sections that we could try different techniques in and left it to dry.
For the silk paint I used a larger brush.
This particular dye can be diluted and effected with water while the gutta acts as a barrier.
The first technique I tried was wetting the fabric first and then applying the dye. It gave a very light colour and it was harder to spread the dye as the fabric was already full of water.
I managed to go over the lines on the first damn one too >_>
You can see how much brighter and more even it is on dry fabric.
I then did a gradient effect on wet and dry fabric. The dry fabric was brighter but the wet fabric seemed like a smoother gradient.
Time to experiment with salt now! This is dry fabric with dye and then salt sprinkled on top. The salt sucks up the water and the dye moving it around to make interesting effects.
Once it’s totally dry it looks like this:
Salt on pre-wet fabric didn’t create as sharp an effect but it made more of a fluid pattern.
Close up of the salt on dry fabric:
Close up of salt on wet fabric:
In the top left square on wet fabric I painted a green base and then put little yellow spots. The bottom right was the same thing but on dry fabric. They look much of a muchness.
I then gave painting stripes a try. First on wet fabric where it was kind of successful.
Then on dry fabric where the dye just spread and blended into itself.
I blended red and purple together on wet fabric and the gradient was very smooth but the colours were dull.
Blending while wet looked much more vibrant but the blended area was lighter.
And that was the full sampler, so time to seal it and then wash it out and see how things turned out.
I sealed with an iron as usual.
Then washed the gutta out.
You can see all of the clear gutta has been removed and left clean white silk below it.
The gutta I tried to colour didn’t leave any colour behind so it’s back to the drawing board on that one.
Now here are some close ups of some of the different areas and techniques.
So, a fun way to give everything a try! I would definitely suggest doing one of these to test out techniques if you’re starting out with silk painting. It was good to see how the paint reacted to different surfaces and treatments. Now I can apply all of this experimenting to real painting later! Fun 😀
Hope you guys found this useful and let me know if you’re silk painting too, I’d love to be inspired by what you guys are up to!

Basic Watercolour Techniques – Let’s Paint! Watercolour Walk Through

Good morning! Today we continue on from the last instalment of Watercolour Walkthrough with a tutorial on all of the basic techniques you’ll need to learn before you get started on your grand painting adventures ^_^
One thing to keep in mind before you start is that it’s a great idea to spend a day just painting splotches and practising techniques before you try to paint anything useful. It seems like a waste of materials and time but it’s important to have a feel for things before you get into anything complicated!
First off let’s talk about the combinations of paint and water. There are many ways to paint and the difference between all of them is the amount of water and where it is put. You can paint with a wet brush or a dry brush. You can paint with paper pre-wet or on dry paper and the results are all different.
Below is a photo of each option where I have dipped the brush in my paint and continued wiggling the brush down the page until I ran out of paint.

The bottom two of the options involve sprinkling salt on the wet paper/paint and allowing it to dry. It sucks up water and moves the paint around making really interesting shapes:
Each of the colours you have will react different to the water so make sure you give each one a try and experiment.
So from this point on, assume that I’m doing everything with dry paper and a wet brush unless I say otherwise. It’s the most common way to paint ^_^
So let’s look at mixing colours together now. If you’re starting out, you probably don’t have many colours in your kit yet. It’s actually good to start out with only a few colours because it teaches you to mix your own! Even some established artists prefer to have a limited palette and mix their own colours.
So here is a basic colour mixing chart. The primary colours are in the middle: blue, red and yellow. The secondary colours are between them: purple, green and orange.
Use this as a basic chart eg. blue+red=purple.
Of course, mixing colours changes depending on how you do it. For example, below I painted a circle of blue in the middle, on the left I painted a circle of red after the blue had dried and on the right I did it when it was wet. When the first colour is still wet they mix easily. When the first colour is dry you can see both the mix and the distinct outline of the two colours.
As a guide it’s a really great idea to put together a colour mixing grid. Sketch out a grid which is as wide and as high as however many colours you have + 1. For example, I had 16 colours so my grid was 17×17 squares.
Number them like a multiplication grid.
Now give each number a colour up and across.
Then paint into each of them mixing the colour from the top and side colour co-ordinates. A lot of them will be pretty terrible but it’s a great guide to see what colours you have available to you!
Ok now let’s have a look at using a LOT of water. This is pretty much my all time favourite technique!
This technique involves dripping a large amount of water onto the paper and then adding various colours. It creates amazing effects but you need a really sturdy paper to be able to cope with this much water.
Use as much water as your paper can hold and draw designs with plain water.

Load your brush with colour and gently dip it into the water on the paper, this will leave behind colour swirls.
Like this…
You can watch the pigment interact with the water from the side.
Now add another colour so the pigments mix.
Now allow it to dry completely. As it dries, the pigment will be pulled to the edges of the shape and make awesome patterns.
You can play with this even more if you are adventurous! Try painting a spot of colour then when it’s half dry, put a few drops of water in the middle and watch the pigment move around.
Below you can see how that turns out as well as how layering water with more paint in it works.
These kinds of tiny details just look awesome!
Layering is really important in watercolour because the pigments are transparent.
So there are some of the basic techniques you will need to start painting! I hope you guys found that helpful, let me know if you have any questions that I can help with and we’ll move on to some more techniques and full paintings soon! Next we’ll be learning about shading, so excited for that one!
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