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Watercolor painting has the reputation of being quite demanding; it is more accurate to say
that watercolor techniques are unique to watercolor. Unlike oil or acrylic painting, where the
paints essentially stay where they are put and dry more or less in the form they are applied,
water is an active and complex partner in the watercolor painting process. It changes both the
absorbency and shape of the paper when it is wet and the outlines and appearance of the paint
as it dries. The difficulty in watercolor painting is almost entirely in learning how to anticipate
and leverage the behavior of water, rather than attempting to control or dominate it.


1. With watercolor, you do not use white to lighten a color but rather the white of the paper. This
means you need to dilute your paint with water to create pastel tints. Begin with diluting your
choice of color o your palette- a lot of water to a little pigment. Paint a small swatch in your
2. Add a little more pigment to your water/paint solution on your palette. Paint another swatch.
3. Continue until you have a gradation of 7 different values.


1. Dilute the color of your choice with water on your palette. In your sketchbook, paint a test
swatch on your paper.
2. Wash off your brush and dip it in to an analogous color. While your swatch is still wet, dip your
brush in the corner of your swatch several times.
3. Repeat with 2 more analogous pairs.


1. Working with your primary colors, mix a puddle of red on your palette and paint a shape in your
sketchbook. Make sure your paint is transparent (mostly water). Allow for your paint to fully
2. Mix a puddle of blue and paint another shape overlapping your red shape. Allow your paint to
completely dry. Repeat with your yellow paint, overlapping your blue shape.


1. Dilute the color of your choice with water on your palette and paint a swatch in your
2. Wash off your brush and create a puddle on your palette on another color. Paint a swatch on
your paper, gently touching the edge of your first, WET swatch. Your colors will begin to merge
into one another.
3. Continue this technique, using multiple colors, until you fill up a page in your sketchbook. Think
about color choices and how they will look blended.

Divide a page in your sketchbook into 6 sections. Choose a different watercolor technique for each
section. You many use any colors you choose.

• Wash on dry paper

• Splatter with a wet brush

• Bot with a crumbled paper towel or saran wrap

• Drop rubbing alcohol on a wash and watch the results

• Add salt to a puddle of color

• Scratch in an image with a craft knife

• Dry brush; scrub in an image and draw with the brush

• Draw with a crayon then paint on top of it.

• Do a gradient by adding water to pull out a line of color

• Add a layer of color to a dry wash to change the color