What is the best technique for watercolour painting?

An increasingly popular painting technique, watercolour is about making pretty drawings using mainly these three things: water, paint and a paper support. Although watercolour painting seems simple and achievable by everyone at first glance, there still are questions about the best technique to choose when starting. Here are, in anutshell, the most common painting techniques used in watercolour.

Working with water, washes and shading

When starting out in watercolour, you can either use the dry technique or the wet one. The first method consists of making your drawings on dry paper and using a wet brush. The secon, on the other hand, require you to paint with a dry brush on wet paper. Some artists combine these two techniques by opting for partial flooding, which consists of partially wetting the parts to be painted first. Washes and gradations are another watercolour painting technique that focuses on working with colours and tints to bring out a complete work. It requires the use of uniform washes, uniform gradients and two-tone gradients.

Working with colours to bring out images

In the world of watercolour, it is obviously all about colours. Thanks to the different shades available, it is easy to draw features, beautiful landscapes, animals or even human portraits in minute detail. If you are just starting out in this world, you can start by learning to work with colours, one-colour painting being a good example. This involves painting a picture with a single colour, but accentuating its shades to bring out beautiful images. You can also highlight the background to emphasise the subject of the drawing even more. You can also try mixing colours on a palette and glazing. Some colours complement each other; it is the case for some opposite ones on the colour wheel: blue/orange, red/green, yellow/violet.

Using the techniques of withdrawal or enhancement

By opting for the removal or highlighting techniques, you will easily avoid messing up your watercolour drawing. Indeed, these painting methods simplify your task by bypassing the blanks or by using masking and blurring materials: wax, drawing gum, white gouache, etc. The main principle here is to draw your lines by placing masking elements on the paper and then applying a layer of paint. Next, wait for it to dry before removing the elements inquestion and then you can finally obtain a beautiful work of watercolour.

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