Four Watercolor Techniques Every Artist Should Know, And Use!

Discover why calligraphic strokes are a perfect match for watercolor art

Calligraphic strokes are used in many scenarios. It’s best to practice these strokes on scrap paper before adding them to finished work.

Calligraphic strokes are typically a thin line that is used for subtle details such as telephone lines, outlines for random features and other details.

Here are a few pointers;

  • Usually applied with needle, or liner type brush.
  • Pigment needs to be diluted but not too runny.
  • Experiment with different pressure into surface to create thin and thick lines.

Materials used in demo

  • Isabey Red Sable Rigger (excellent for fine detail, thin lines, etc.)
  • Blick Spiral-bound
  • Sketchbook Pad 9×12 inches
  • Mijello leak-proof palette
calligraphic strokes with watercolor
calligraphic strokes with watercolor

Discover the bleeding technique - a great way to loosen up stiff art

Adding additional water, or color, into a wet area, creating a bleeding of colors and a soft effect.

A  few pointers;

  • A fuzziness, or spreading at the edges of a painted area.
  • Use clean water.
  • Be careful with the amount of water in your brush. It needs to be wet but not too runny.
  • Only works with wet paint.

Materials Used In Demo

  • Da Vinci Squirrel Mop #2
  • Mijello leak-proof palette
  • Blick Spiral-bound Pad 9×12
  • Holbein Hues; Gamboge nova, Burnt Sienna, Neutral tint, Ultramarine blue
Bleeding watercolor technique demo
Bleeding watercolor technique demo

Discover the dry-brush technique

Dry brush is a painting technique in which a paint brush that is relatively dry, but still holds paint, is used. Load is applied to a dry support such as paper or primed canvas.

The resulting brush strokes have a characteristic scratchy look that lacks the smooth appearance that washes or blended paint commonly have.

Materials used in demo

  • Holbein Hues – Gamboge nova, Alizarin crimson, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt blue
  • Brushes – Da Vinci Squirrel Mop#5, Escoda Pointed Round Set
  • Paper/Pad
  • Blick Watercolor Spiral-bound 9×12 inches

Scratching & Scraping Into Paint

Because the layer of paint is (generally) so thin you’re scratching the paper as well as the paint. Where you scratch or indent the surface of the paper, the wet, top paint will collect in it, rather than revealing the white of the paper. If the paint’s beginning to dry, less will flow in.

A few pointers

  • Dry paint is okay but know the results will be subtle.
  • Wet paint is okay but know the paint will backfill the scratches and leave dark lines.
  • Damp paint is okay but know the edges will not be as sharp as painting over dry pigment.

Materials used in demo

  • Da Vinci Squirrel Mop #5
  • Blick Spiral-bound
  • Sketchbook Pad 9×12 inches
  • Mijello leak-proof palette
  • Blick Palette Knives By RGM- traditional set of 3
Scratching into wet paint

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