If you haven’t purchased a watercolor paint brush just yet, let’s begin by learning a little bit about them. Brushes come in sizes that are very tiny (000) to very big. If you are a beginner, I recommend a #8 round brush and a 1/2″flat wash brush. Do your best to avoid the really cheap ones that you buy by the dozen. You can find inexpensive brushes at you local arts and crafts store for a few dollars per brush that will work well for your first attempts at watercoloring. If you find that you like watercolor painting you can head back to the store for an upgrade to a nylon/sable blend or all sable brush.
Here’s a list of the rest of the watercolor supplies you’ll need from you local art/craft store:
Watercolor Paint Box
Watercolor paints should have a rich and satisfying color. The five-and-dime store variety can keep your expenses down, through will not provide for the best experience. Try to spend a little more here.
Watercolor paper is a special paper that is thick enough to get soaked and still stay flat. This paper comes in different weights. A 140lb. cold press textured paper is recommended. The cheapest 140lb. paper you can find is just fine.
You can buy a watercolor pallet if you want to. However, a plastic covered paper plate will work just fine.
There are many drawing pencils to choose from at your local art/craft store. If you would like to provide a new experience, you can buy a set, and let you kids experiment. However, your child’s #2 school pencil will work just fine.
Watercolor Brush Techniques
Grab you paint brush, a jar of water, some watercolor paper and your paints and let’s get started. I don’t have any example for you here, though I have included several links at the end of this article that include pictures and videos.
Begin by draw a few lines. Make some straight and some squiggly. Choose any color that you like. Try one line that goes as long as there is still paint in your brush (It will have to curve when you get to the edge of the paper).
Watercolor Flat Wash
You can create a watercolor flat wash by starting with wet or dry paper. Let’s try one with dry paper. Tape the corners of your paper to your board, get your brush wet and flll it with paint. Draw a line across the top of your paper. Quickly fill you brush again, and draw an overlapping line. If you are doing things correctly, an even bead of water will form at the bottom of the area that you have painted. Add a few more strokes. If you did everything correctly you should have a page filled with a very even color, with no evidence of overlapping strokes.
Watercolor Graded Wash
The ability to paint a watercolor flat wash is a good skill to have, though it won’t be something that you use very often for the masterpieces that you will paint. A graded wash is the wash you will use most often. You can create a watercolor graded wash by starting with wet or dry paper. Let’s try one with wet paper. Try painting a 4″x4″ square with clean water. Next, tip you paper up and paint a blue line across the top. Let the blue paint work its way down the page. Congratulations! You just painted a sky.
A dry brush effect will give your painting a scratchy look. You can vary the effect that you get by changing the paper that you use (smooth, medium or rough), or by changing the amount of water in your paint brush. Wet you brush slightly and then pick up some paint. Try a few strokes on your watercolor paper. If you don’t have any other types of watercolor paper, try making a few strokes on printer paper. Evaluate the effects of each.
Glazing is the technique of laying one color over another. Sometimes you will feel that the darks need a little “punching up”. Laying another layer of paint over the original strokes will help increase the intensity of that dark, and expand the values (lights and darks) within your painting. When you add a glaze to you painting it is important that you don’t completely cover the original color. If you do, you’ll be loosing a point of interest within your completed work.
Calligraphy is drawing with the tip of your paint brush. Try drawing a smily face, or something you draw often. This technique is used often when you are adding the details to you painting.
Find Examples at the Following Links:
Getting to Know Your Round Brush – Covers all the basics for the round brush
Getting to Know Your Flat Brush – Covers all the basics for the flat wash brush
Watercolor Flat Wash – Instruction and video included
Glazing with Watercolor – Instruction and video included