my watercolor adventure

What’s up my lads!

I come to you today with a story about my adventures in watercolor. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the medium, but after learning more about its capability from some of my favorite artists, I decided to spend some time trying to learn it.

My biggest issue thus far with watercolors have been difficulties due to my cheaper supplies. I haven’t been able to get my hands on good quality paints yet, so I’ve just been messing around with a cheaper set of liquid paints and mixed media paper. I’m not quite sure what of my problems have been due to poor quality materials, but I’m planning on investing in a good set and some good watercolor paper pretty soon, and I’ll suppose I’ll find out then! Within this category, my hardest struggle has been with color mixing and with layering. From what I know, watercolors are meant to be layered in order to achieve their full potential, but what I’ve been struggling with has been my earlier layers of paint getting disturbed and picked up when I try to put down a new layer, no matter how long I’ve let it dry between layers. It kinda wrecks the whole thing and I can never get it to look how I want.

Anyways, I thought I’d share a few of my recent watercolor attempts and what I learned from each.

This one I just stuck with mostly grayscale because I was having such a hard time with mixing a good skin color. I used a water brush and my pan watercolors.

What I learned: dropping a darker color where I kind of need it and then using the water from the brush to blend it out and lighten it up worked better than doing a light base coat and trying to layer a darker color in for shading.

This one I also did with pan paints and a water brush. I don’t love it, but I don’t really hate it either?

What I learned: more water makes it easier to get a more even wash over an area. Because of the water brush, it was a little difficult to get pigment to spread evenly without getting patchy/streaky.

This one I did with actual liquid paints and regular brushes. I kind of hate the sketch, but I learned a little about layering/blending. However, my liquid paints are super cheap quality and the pigment kept separating and becoming all grainy and weird when I tried to apply it.

What I learned: lighter colors layered over each other works better than trying to mix a base layer color like I would normally do with basically any other medium. The fluidity/transparency of this medium works in a totally different way than what I’m used to.

After I’d already attempted a bunch of actual paintings, I decided to step back and mess around with color mixing and wet-on-wet/wet-on-dry techniques. Obviously I should have done this before attempting actual pieces, but that’s just too logical for me.

What I learned: if my low quality liquid paints completely dry before I put on another layer of color, the bottom layer gets all muddy and screwed up. But, more water makes it easier to smoothly apply, but then everything still gets wrecked when I try to layer.

I’ll pop back in with an update on my watercolor adventure in a couple of weeks when I can get my hands on some better quality supplies.

-Becca

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