Four Beginning Watercolor Techniques.

In my last blog, we did a wash that we used for the bullet journal. In this blog post, we are going to take a closer look at four beginning watercolor techniques. Wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, dry-on-dry, and dry-on-wet. These methods are referring to the paper and brush. For instance, wet paper/wet brush.

While we do these exercises, keep in mind you should test your paper to see how they react with your paint. And take note of the brush you are using so you can recreate the same effects. Making sample swatches are a simple way to keep notes.

Let’s set up our swatches…20180316_202320850733341.jpg

KEY: (b)rush, (p)aper

Wet-on-Wet: Wet the paper with a generous amount of water.  Next, wet the brush and dip in the paint.  Make sure that the brush is very saturated with paint and water.  Now touch the brush to the paper and the paint will disperse throughout the saturated paper.

Wet-on-Dry: The brush is wet and the paper is dry. This time dip your brush in the water and touch the paint. Apply brushstrokes to the paper.  The brushstrokes should look soft and subtle.

Dry-on-Dry: As it suggests, very little water on the brush just enough to activate the paint.  Try a few brushstrokes on the dry paper.  This is going to give fine details.

Dry-on-Wet: First wet the paper, and dry the brush off taking as much moisture off the bristles.  The grab some paint on the brush and make a few brushstrokes.  Because the paper is wet, the brushstroke will look somewhat defined but the edges are spread out.

Pencils come in many different sizes. Really it’s the hardness or softness of the graphite/lead.  Ever wonder why your yellow pencil always says 2B? It is because when they grade the pencils they do it on this hardness level.  (H) is beginning of the hard leads, and (B) is the beginning of the soft leads.   It looks something like this from softness to hardness.

6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B… H, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6

Why am I talking about this?  PENCIL DOES NOT ERASE FROM UNDER WATERCOLOR. If you are going to draw your image first, use a hard lead H2 or greater. It leaves very fine lines that are barely noticeable and do not smudge.  Yeah, I learned that the hard way!

So go practice, have fun.  I will post a video demonstration to this blog post and to my Youtube Channel.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  Leave a comment, a like, share or follow.

Artfully yours,



    1. Andrea Aguirre

      Hi Cathy. I do have some other postings about watercolor. They are as follows: The Subtleties of Watercolor, Four Beginning Watercolor Techniques, Watercolor Pencils- The Best of Both Worlds, and Focusing on Watercolor. Do you have any specific questions about watercolor? Tools, supplies, techniques? I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Have a great day! Andi


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