Watercolour : Do's and Don'ts
Updated: Jun 8
Through out my years during my journey as an artist and as an art educator, I have fallen in love with Watercolor every time. Initially watercolor may seem difficult, intimidating and hard to control but with each passing day you will understand that more than controlling the medium, you need to befriend with its spontaneity, fluidity and let it surprise you every time with its unpredictability. With watercolor, possibilities are enormous and to me it is like meditation amidst the storm of thoughts.
We often hear that watercolor is the most difficult medium to work with because of its unpredictability and because of its unforgiving nature. But with decent practice and using some specific Do’s and Dont’s , you will begin to understand the medium better and make yourself comfortable next time when you plan to create a piece with watercolor.
Using Normal Sketch Paper
Using the normal artist quality sketch paper is a complete No-No for watercolor. It does not have the capacity to absorb the water you are going to use during your painting and the result will be disastrous.
Using too much Pigment
Using too much pigment like the acrylic or oil is the most common mistake I have seen people doing in watercolor. It kills the transparency, spoils the fluidity and also makes the painting muddy. The thick paint eventually dry and cracks up so always dilute pigments with water and use.
Using too much color in one go
Adding too much dark colors in the first layer can make your painting look muddy and rub off the paper. The ideal way to do it, is to work with layers.
Using Black and White
Using only black to paint dark areas and using white to lighten the color are also big no. The former one will make the painting look dull and dead and the latter one will make the painting lose its translucency.
Using Right Brush
Buying the right watercolor brush is like a lifetime investment. It makes a lot of difference. If you are a beginner try the local watercolor brushes. Do not use any other medium’s brush.
Using only Watercolor Paper
Half of the struggle ends when you use the right watercolor paper for your painting. Nowadays a wide range of International Watercolor papers are available online. Always choose more than 250 or 300gsm watercolor paper to begin with.
Using Masking Tape
Always tape the paper before painting to avoid crumbling the paper once you add water.
Preserve the White of the Paper
In watercolor we generally do not paint with white. It kills the transparency. Preserve the white area of the paper and paint the darker values around it. It is like sculpting the white or the light area to achieve the effect.
Invest in Good Watercolor
Investing in good watercolor brand is very necessary. The good brands are highly saturated, bright and vibrant. Try to use professional quality artist watercolors.
I would like to say that learn the techniques and start with small paintings to gain control slowly over the medium. It will be easier for the beginners to understand the medium and tackle it in a better way.
Make a painting everyday. It will help you to improve your skills over the time. Practice Patience and Perseverance are the key & remember Rome was not built in a day.
Watch here Tutorial for Watercolour Basics
This is a Guest Blog by Ambbali Bhattacharyya Dutta, who is an international watercolorist, art educator and art activist from Delhi; Founder of Art Live Global and AME by Ambbali Art Cafe. Connect with her - Facebook, Instagram, Youtube.