If you are a beginner to the world of watercolor – then welcome to this mysterious world and let’s learn some of it’s wonderful magic together!
There’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin that goes something like this… “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. But Involve me and I will learn.” This concept is so true! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something in a book or watched something in a video – and then once I tried to apply that said skill or concept the idea suddenly seemed to escape me.
That’s why today – I’m not just going to be talking about the three crucial skills you’ve got to know when it comes to watercolor – but also demonstrating to you how those skills work in an actually illustration AS WELL AS giving you the opportunity to follow along with me and paint this sleepy little bunny named Frank. So if you want to follow along with me and paint your very own Franklin the Bunny – make sure to check out the link in the description below to snatch up your very own drawing to paint along with me. Okay – that being said – let’s go ahead and begin…
And this doesn’t just include how to mix your colors but also how to dilute your paints with water.
THE FIVE STARTING RATIOS – There are a number of ways to mix your water and paint – but over the years i’ve found most paint to water ratios start in 5 stages – No Water, Chunky, Inky, Milky, and finally Watery.
I have a whole course that breaks this concept down – but in summary the three most common paint ratios watercolorist use is the inky, milky, and watery paint to water ratios.
UNDERSTANDING COLOR INTENSITY
The next step to the mixing skill is that of learning how to mix two or more colors. The way we do this is by first evaluating which color is the more intense or what I like to refer to as the bully colors. This color will dominate other colors when mixing. For this illustration – boy bully color is my black ink which could easily over power my soft purple. Since i want more of a gray color for my bunny – I need to first dilute my dominate color and then slowly add in my purple to tint my mixture. Once you have your color mixture down – it’s time to move on to our next crucial skill…
When it comes to watercolor Believe or not, all watercolor washes are painted with the same premise – this simple idea of moving a ball or droplet of color smoothly along the page. It’s actually a lot similar to coloring – but with two very important rules! ONE – NEVER OUTLINE A SHAPE! AND TWO – always move in one direction. This means taking your paint and starting in one location and constantly moving forward until the shape is complete.
Perhaps the one thing people ask me the most about my paintings is how I achieve such smooth washes or layers of color. WHAT I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU IS MY TRADE SECRET FOR CREATING THOSE SMOOTH WASHES!
The way you create smooth transitions in your paintings is by constantly evaluating the bead – or droplet of paint that you are basically hockey puck-ing across the surface of your paper. As soon as you start to see that droplet of color wane thin – it’s time to refill your brush and then immediately add your new paint into that bead of color on your page. Then continuing to push your bead forward not allowing the new paint to blossom backward creating unwanted textures.
The last skill you absolutely need to know when working with watercolor is how to blend your colors. There are actually two ways to blend colors in a painting – the first is painting gradients – which I might cover in another video – but the second is the lazy man’s way of blending colors – which I will be teaching you today.
For this skill – you first want to paint a smooth flat wash shape in your illustration – then allow the paint to dry just slightly until it appears to shimmer with a thin layer of color. At this precise moment – with your brush – dab just slightly the edge of your shape in strategic locations with a harmonious color or a color that works well with your first color. Since I painted purple first – I decided to use a french ultramarine blue as my dabbing color. Personally I tend to use this method to add colored shadows to my paintings – such as on Frank’s hat and coffee cup.
And those are the 3 crucial skills you’ve got to know when it comes to watercolor! Now that we know OUR SKILLS – let’s break down how to paint Frank our bunny USING THEM IN THE NEXT LESSON!