Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Watercolor Tutorial with an Aqua Painter

I have been doing a lot of watercoloring the last few months and thought it would be good to go ahead and write this tutorial. It is a great technique to do on the run! I keep a bag packed with my watercoloring supplies and take it with me when I have down time. Like the time I kill waiting for my daughter's piano lesson to be finished or waiting to pick her up from sports etc... Even though I have short snippets of time, I can feel productive in my cropping ventures. I have also heard several complaints about using the Aqua Painter and watercolor crayons so I thought I might address some of those issues in the process. Especially since I am not a watercolor artist and attack this technique from a crafter's viewpoint.
Shall we begin? You may use a soft bristled brush, aqua painter or blender pen for this technique. I prefer a brush or the Aqua Painter(water filled brush) and since I do this technique on the go I usually use the painter. There are other painters similar to these on the market but I do not like them. The bristles are stiffer and it is easy to raise the color off of the paper. The bristles scrub instead of blend color.
I have heard several people complain about the Aqua Painter leaving too much water on the paper and that it drips. I think this is due to squeezing the painter too hard. You want the painter bristles to be damp but not wet. Use a paper towel to blot the excess water from the painter before putting it to paper and don't squeeze it very often. If you use a brush, the same thing applies. It is quite different from true watercoloring. You don't wet the paper first and then add the color. If this sounds too complicated then give the blender pen a try. Some of you might prefer it.
Now let's talk about color. Watercolor paints, dye based ink, watercolor pencils and watercolor crayons are all choices that may be mixed and matched if you desire. You may use dye based ink pads or ink refills. If this is your choice then consider the Stampin' Up! pad. It works great for this technique because you can give the pad a squeeze and then flip the lid for a perfect palette. Watercolor pencils are easy to use too. Just put some color down and begin blending. I use them later, on this project. The crayons are similar to a child's crayon only you can blend the color with water.
I began this project with a crayon. If you look close, you may see how much it looks like coloring from a crayon. I left blank space where clouds might be and then used my Aqua painter to blend. I began on one side at the top and worked my way down and across. I also began with the background first. painting the things that are farthest away first and working your way forward helps layer and create depth in your work. (Remember that you may click on an image to enlarge it.) Notice that I just use the tip of the Aqua Painter to do the blending. That is really all you need. If you push too hard you could move too much of the color. If this happens, let the paper dry and touch things up.

Next I used a green watercolor pencil. The color of the pencils is more intense so I tend to only color part of the grass and blend the rest. I think the grass is more intense in the front and gets lighter as it fades in the distance. Does this make sense? I trace the stems and grass also. Next I used a purple pencil on the flowers and quickly blended.

Another thing to consider is the light source in the picture. Where is the sun shining? I decided it was coming from the top right corner so I shaded accordingly. Notice the folds in the dress are darker as well as the underside of the dress. The front of the dress is lighter than the back also. The sun washes out the color on the front of the dress. Notice the shading on the hat? It is several colors of yellow and straw added to the paper and then I blended all of the colors. Working first in the lightest area and working into the darkest.I did not color every centimeter of the dress. Leave some space blank for shading and blending.

The flesh tone is a Blush Blossom crayon from Stampin' Up! It is the only flesh tone that I have and it worked quite nicely. Granted and artist would be able to create more realism than I did here but this works fine for a card and any crafter can get the hang of this method. One thing I have not mentioned yet is to wipe the painter on a paper towel between the use of different colors. This cleans the color out of the bristles. Don't worry about the bristles being stained. You can still blend color without worry that this will ruin your project. It will be just fine. A completed card with this image may be found in an earlier post titled Summer By the Sea.

1 comment:

SharonK said...

This is a great tutorial, exactly what I have been looking for in my search on how to blend water colour pencils. Many thanks.


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