Watercolor is considered as one of the most difficult of coloring materials to use. Watercolor is also known for the great number of painting techniques among the different mediums of visual art. Watercolor is more difficult to manipulate than mediums like acrylics, for instance. The paper has to be moistened and even wet prior to painting, to ensure that the paper can absorb the paint. One good way to ensure the best effects is by using paper especially made for watercolors.
Here are some techniques in painting with watercolors, with the aim of producing the best visuals.
- Stretching. One of the first things that an art student will learn about watercolors is the need to stretch paper. There are paper types that are best used for watercolor projects, such as those with a high level of thickness (measured in GSM or “grams per square meter”). Those with a lower GSM number will have to be stretched first before they are painted on. Paper will usually warp when wet and subsequently dried. By pre-stretching the paper and letting it dry, the fibers of the paper will already be at an optimal condition for watercolor painting.
- Application. Colors can be applied in a variety of ways. The most popular among these is first wetting the portion of the paper that one intends to paint on, and then applying an ample amount of watercolor paint on the area. Other methods include dry brushing, which is application of mostly paint (with only a little amount of water) to create more defined lines and shapes.
- Corrections. One of the most difficult characteristics of watercolor painting is that it is almost impossible to correct a mistake. There are a few ways of remedying mistakes. One would need to be very quick about this, though. Corrections on watercolor paintings can be made by using a slightly damp piece of cloth to lift the damp paint off of the paper. One can also use a wet brush to diffuse the incorrectly-applied paint and blur it out such that it will look like a shadow. Re-stretching the paper can also help with correcting mistakes.
- Patterns. One can also use patterns in creating a watercolor painting. Among the most popular methods of creating patterns is the use of watercolor in making impressions of clouds and the sky. By simply making the colors bleed and just fall where they will by tilting the paper to one side or another, it’s very easy to simulate the wispy textures of clouds.
- Watercolor pencils. Another popular tool used by artists, art students and children alike are watercolor pencils and water-soluble crayons. These tools are generally easier to use than regular watercolors, as the artist first draws on the paper with the watercolor pencil, rather than a brush. The resulting color marks on paper can then be wet with a paintbrush, which then diffuse the colors as if these were regular watercolor paints. Being a solid medium, pencils can be easier to control, as you can draw more accurately.
Even with the challenges associated with painting in watercolors, the fact remains that watercolor works are very popular, as they are easy on the eyes. With the various techniques in applying watercolor paints, artists have a choice as to which techniques one can be a master with.