Techniques To Try On Your Next Watercolor Painting

“Washing” is a technique commonly used with watercolors. You start by wetting the area of the paper that will be covered with the wash.

Then mix up enough pigment to fill the area and apply the pigment starting at the top and overlapping on any horizontal bands. The wash is then left to dry. Don’t work it as it will even itself out as it dries.

The technique called “dropping in color” is a process where an additional color is added to a wet area of the painting which is then allowed to naturally bleed without any interference by the artist.

The results are unpredictable with interesting color gradations.

Glazing” is a technique similar to a wash, but instead of application to a wet surface a thin layer of pigment is applied to a dry surface over washes that already exist. It is used to adjust tone and color on a wash, and it is applied in layers until the desired affect is reached. Just be sure that each layer is dry before applying the next layer. Auroline, cobalt blue and permanent rose are good transparent pigments to glaze with.


The “wet in wet” is a technique where you fill your brush with a very wet pigment that is then applied to a wet paper. It can be applied on top of existing washes that have dried. Just dampen these areas with a large brush. This technique provides soft subtle marks that are great for background areas.

The “dry brush” is opposite to the “wet in wet” technique. The brush is filled with pigment with the use of minimal water and then it is dragged across the dry paper, producing a very crisp mark with a hard edge. It is an excellent technique for front work and points of interest.

“Lifting off” is an interesting technique where the pigment is dissolved and lifted off after it has dried. Just wet the area you want to lift and then use a tissue to blot the pigment off. Reds, yellows, and blues can be more difficult to lift.

Watercolor painting is an interesting form of artistic expression and it’s a common choice for beginning artists.

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