I’m continuing my “learn watercolors” series with watercolor techniques in blending today.Commonly known as wet on wet, this characteristic of watercolors make it extra special! 

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Last week’s basic supplies post was so warmly welcomed by all of you that I thought I’ll continue it for this week as well. There are so many different watercolor techniques and I can go on and on. That’s why I decided to make different parts starting with blending because it’s the most important one. Also, it’s the most commonly used one.

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Whenever I purchase new watercolor sets or tubes, I make a small color chart. This gives me an idea about what the color will look like when it’s on paper. I cut strips of watercolor paper, lay down the hue first and increase the transparency by adding water three times. You can do this for the amount of colors you have and tie it with a string. Whenever you purchase a new tube or pan, you can make a new strip and add to this. Start with making these and they’ll make things a lot easier.

You can also make a “hue”only color chart and stick on to the side of your set. I like to use both sides as palettes, so I prefer this technique. Show below is my Sennelier 24 pan watercolor set.


Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

There are five different blending exercises shown in today’s watercolor techniques post. These exercises are mainly to get your hands used to painting with watercolors. They’re also super fun which makes practice sessions much better.

Disclaimer: Most of the headings below are not the technical terms. They’re just titles that I thought would be apt. I don’t want to really get technical here and bore you. The point is that I want to show you a practical approach to watercolors. All of these watercolor techniques are based on my experience and the way I do watercolors. Someone else may have a different approach and like any creative field, differentiations may be found.

Exercise 1- Softening the colors

The technical term is called a graded wash. I love how beautiful soft edges can be creating using this method. First, get enough pigment on your brush and make a stroke.(See image below)

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Next, rinse out your brush with water. Press down and drag the pigment on the paper while it’s still wet. The color travels along with the water creating a subtle texture.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 2.1- Color drop

This watercolor technique is so much fun that I actually added more drops than I thought I would. It’s really just beautiful to see watercolor do its  wonders. First,lay down enough  pigment on paper. The ratio of pigment to water should be greater by a considerable amount.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Rinse out your brush completely. Take an accent color(Indian yellow in this case) and add drops while the paint is still wet. The paint  starts to spread out and it’s mesmerizing to watch.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 2.2- Color drop ( washed down colors )

Let’s see what happens when the colors are reversed and the transparency is increased. Lay down a transparent wash of yellow first. The ratio of pigment to water is considerably less in this scenario.

P.S. Do you see the yellow traveling graciously in the previous technique?

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

By using an accent color(Opera rose here) and increasing the transparency, drop in a few dots. The purpose of this exercise is to show how different the effect is when few factors are changed.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 3:Two pigment blending

This is similar to exercise 1 but instead of blending with water, use another full pigment to blend. Lay down good amount of pigment on paper.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Rinse your brush out completely. Take a good amount of another color and blend with the previous color while still wet. Press and drag down. You’ll see the previous color seeping in and blending.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 4.1- Color drop on water

This is similar to exercise 2.1 and 2.2 but here there is no base color. Use water to wet the paper first. While still wet, dab a few drops of color. The colors will travel with the water creating soft and hard edges.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 4.2- Color drop on water ( damp surface)

This is exactly like the previous exercise but after wetting the paper surface, wait for a while. When the water is not pooled on paper but is still damp, drop a color. You’ll notice in the image below that the color travels far less as compared to the previous one.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Exercise 5- Controlled blending

Paint a couple of lines with your brush. I’m going to use a cool color and a warm color here. The direction in which you drag your brush can control the flow of paint,

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

Talk a warm color and paint horizontal lines while the paint is still wet. The colors travel within these lines and form different textures and patterns.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

I’ve compiled all the exercises in the image shown below. These exercises are great for warm up and for you to have an idea on how basic watercolor techniques in work. I suggest you follow the exercise listed in my basic supplies post and in this one.

I would love to know your feedback on these and on how you’re progressing with watercolors. If you’re following alone, e-mail me at zakkiya@inkstruck.com and I would love to see.

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

And now for the exciting part! THE GIVEWAY. Yay! This is the second week of Inkstruck Studio’s anniversary month giveaways. Check out who win the previous giveaway here.This week, you’ll be able to win a Winsor and Newton Cotman Water Color Pocket PLUS Set of 12 Half Pans and the “Do what makes you oh so happy” coloring e-book by Dawn Nicole Designs LLC.  The prizes are worth $28 combined and you have this entire week to enter and win!

Dawn has very generously sponsored her e-book for this post. She creates amazing tutorials in lettering and all things creative. Go check her out! She’s amazing!

Watercolor techniques for beginners-Blending|Zakkiya Hamza of Inkstruck Studio

The above images are supplies by Dick Blick and Dawn Nicole Designs LLC.

How to enter the giveaway!

Please follow the instructions given in the Rafllecopter widget shown below. The giveaway will end on 9:00 P.M. GMT on 16th February(Tuesday). The winner will be announced on Facebook, Instagram and the widget below on 17th February(Wednesday).If you don’t win this time, the next post will hold another fabulous giveaway. If you’re viewing this in your e-mail, you’ll probably not see the widget. Please hop over to the post in your browser to access the giveaway.The free entry is the only mandatory option. All other choices are optional and even if you don’t have any of the social media sites you can still enter.This means you don’t need to do every one of the choices listed below .Entering with all the choices will nonetheless improve the chances of winning.Giveaway is open worldwide and I will ship anywhere as long as you have a proper mailing address.

Good luck!

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{This post is not sponsored or endorsed by Winsor and Newton}
{Floral clip art from Angie Makes}