Tips for Watercolor Painters: Brush Skills Part One

Practice makes perfect. Every skill that we learn is perfected through constant practice until we perfect them and becomes a second nature to us. Aside from being a talent, painting is a skill that needs to be honed and mastered. Other more experienced watercolor artists have developed different techniques that created their masterpieces that we can also use and here are some of them.

band of colorsBands of Color
Dip your watercolor brush into a color until loaded and start to paint a continuous wavy pattern across the paper. Keep the width of the strokes equal as much as possible. Add more paint to your brush as needed and continue where you left off until you reach the end of the paper. Rinse your brush and dip it in another color. Make another wavy line right next to the first one but make sure not to let the washes touch. Leave white paper between each stroke. Continue doing this until you fill the whole paper.

thick and thinThick and Thin
Choose a color or a combination of colors. Dip your brush into the paint and make sure it’s not too wet. Start a fine line using the tip of the brush first then start putting pressure on the brush to make a thicker stroke then lessen the pressure until the line thins out again. Do this without lifting the brush off the paper. Reload your paint brush as needed. Rinse your brush and use other colors to make more lines using the same technique until you fill the paper. You can try to thicken your stroke where the adjacent line is thin, but in particluar, avoid touching the other washes with the new colors you lay down. Being able to instinctively thicken or thin a brush stroke on command while you are painting, and have it go where you want it, is a good preparation for your future masterpieces.

flickWrist Flick
The Wrist Flick is easily done with a decent round red sable or a rigger-style brush. Put paint in you brush and position the tip of the brush pointing towards you. Push the brush tip upward with a flicking motion creating a feathery point at the last part of the stroke. One technique that you can use is you can rest your brush hand on top of my other hand for stability and control of detailed flick strokes. Practice several times in each color you have. Vary the thickness of the strokes as you try to imitate grasses, branches, or even feathers.

There are more of these techniques. Watch out for par two!

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