WATERCOLORS FOR BEGINNERS:FUN TECHNIQUES-PART 1

Look who’s back with another informative post on watercolors! You asked and here it is.Today’s post will tackle a few fun and beautiful but easy beginner watercolor techniques. I’ve split them in two parts so that it doesn’t get overwhelming.Enjoy!

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

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The last post from the “Learn Watercolors” series was about blending techniques in watercolor. This time, it’s all about texture and other fun stuff you can do with them.

When you compare other wet media to watercolor, you’ll notice that watercolor lacks a certain textural quality to it naturally. It can look rather flat when compared to oils,acrylics etc. But unlike other wet media, there are some fun techniques that will help you achieve texture. Today’s post will cover three basic methods :-

  1. Salt technique
  2. Lifting technique
  3. Resist technique

Materials required:-

Plus some good music to add to the fun!


NEW: CHECK OUT PART 2 OF FUN WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUES HERE

1.SALT TECHNIQUE

The technique uses the absorptive qualities of salt to either push in or push out pigment ultimately forming a pretty texture.Many moons ago, I created a post where I illustrated a cute whale using the salt technique. A word of caution though, the photos are not great. Moving on, the reason I’m telling you this is that I learnt a couple of things from it.

  • Brighter colors work better.
  • Try using an artist grade watercolor set since the ratio of pigment to filler is more.
  • The surface should be wet but water shouldn’t be pooled.
  • Only rub off when the surface is completely dry.

Using coarse salt:-

Wet the surface with pigment and drop some particles of salt while it’s still wet. It takes a while to dry, so you may want to do something else while it does its magic.What I noticed is that the larger particles absorb the pigment making that area darker than its surroundings.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Notice that in the areas where the salt was, the dots are much more intense.In the image below, there are no salt particles left. What you see is the beautiful texture that the salt left behind.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Using fine salt:-

Follow the same procedure as explained using coarse salt.  Since the particles are smaller, you’ll see a different sort of texture here.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Notice how in this case, the pigment is absorbed by the salt but instead of intensifying the that are, it pushes out the pigment. I find that fine salt gives a much better texture that coarse. But of course, preferences vary from person to person.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

2.LIFTING TECHNIQUE

As the name suggests, the process is to simply lift some pigment out from the paper when it’s still wet. These can be done using a paper towel, sponge, brush etc. I love using this technique for skies,trees etc.

Using a paper towel:-

After laying down some pigment on paper, take a fairly thick paper towel. I like using a kitchen towel instead of facial towels because it’s thicker. Crumple up the paper towel and quickly dab on the areas where you need the clouds to show. If you press hard, you’ll be able to create a defined cloud. For wispy clouds, I like to use a light touch and just caress the pigment off the paper.
Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Using a brush:-

This follows the same technique but the brush has to be slightly moist. The paper needs to be wet and when you drag the brush along, you won’t see results at once. After a while, the area where you applied water will lighten.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

See how I created blades of glass using this technique. This needs a little bit of getting used to but once you get the hang of it, it can create fabulous results.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

3.RESIST TECHNIQUE

There are so many different ways you can create resist in watercolor. Resist basically means to block a certain area of your painting to avoid pigment seeping through. You can use masking fluid, frisket paper, colorless blender, oil based pencils, rubber cement etc. One of the most common beginner watercolor techniques is “masking fluid” which I’m going to explain in detail.

Using masking fluid:-

I’ve created tutorials using masking fluid in a few of my earlier posts. You can have a peek at them here and here. Masking fluid has a horrible smell and can ruin your lovely brushes.

A few tips to keep in mind before using them:-

  • Use cheap or old brushes while using masking fluid. They can destroy the hairs of your brush, so you don’t want your precious Kolinsky getting ruined.
  • Keep a jar of soapy water nearby to rinse put your brush occasionally.
  • Do not keep them exposed to air for long periods of time.
  • You don’t want your nose too close to it, they smell horrible.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Use a cheap brush to lay down the masking fluid wherever required. Allow it to dry for a while. You’ll understand it’s dry when it develops a deep yellow color.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Paint over with your color. You can paint with abandon because you’ll know the masked areas are protected. Allow the paint to dry.
Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Remove the masking fuid by rubbing with your finger or use a tough eraser. See how the whites of the paper are preserved. That’s the beauty of using masking fluid.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Using colorless blender:-

I’m not in love with this technique but I find that it’s great for creating subtle edges. Unlike masking fluid, it looks a bit more shabby but pretty in a unique way. A colorless blender is generally used for colored pencils to smooth and blend out the different colors.

First, draw the shapes you want with your blender. You may need to go over it to make it slightly better seen. Splash down the color of your choice and wait for it to dry.

Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

Take a paper towel and moisten it slightly. And then go over the drawn area to make it prominent. I love how it’s visible but not overwhelming at the same time.That’s it!

That’s the end of part 1 of beginner watercolor techniques.
Learn fun and easy beginner watercolor techniques for beginners using salt,paper towel and masking fluid in this post- Zakkiya Hamza | Inkstruck Studio

I hope these beginner watercolor techniques will help cover some of your questions in watercolor! There are a few more techniques that will be covered in the next post on Wednesday. If you’ve missed a few of my previous posts, check them out below

What do you think?

Was this post useful? I hope you try these beginner watercolor techniques out and make painting super interesting. If you have any queries or confusion regarding them, feel free to comment below or e-mail me. And if you try it out, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with #makeinkstruck.

Cheers!

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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.

10 thoughts on “WATERCOLORS FOR BEGINNERS:FUN TECHNIQUES-PART 1

  1. For a novice like me a video will be more beneficial than the wiritten tutorial. Will you please teach us by that way?

  2. Enjoyed reading about techniques and ready to try them…am trying out watercolour painting (in Dubai) after an initial try years ago. We’ll see what happens!

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