Textures with Watercolour
With water-soluble colours, such as watercolour, ink or tempera, you can achieve a variety of effects. Some artists work more dynamically and expressively, others rather filigree and detail-lovingly. I am probably more of the latter, but I also like experimenting with techniques. That’s how I have been dealing with textures lately. Sure, “simply” painting fields is already great, but really exciting and vivid is a painting in my opinion, especially by different surface textures. A great role model and inspiration for me is Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, one of my absolute favourite artists. She works very much with textures that dynamically flow into the composition. Some of them are random, while others are hand-painted stroke by stroke.
For whom this is still new territory, but also for those who would like to learn even more tips and tricks, I have created a freebie:
This is a 9-page PDF document, in which you get six techniques presented clearly. These techniques are absolutely suitable for beginners! I mainly worked with watercolours here, but the techniques are useful for other painting materials as well. You can print out the pages and, whenever you like to paint, look at it and let it inspire you.
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If we are already penpals and you have not received the freebie for any reason yet, feel free to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
I present two of these techniques to you here:
Very bold and adventurous artists (and children!) will love this technique: Prepare a cup of coloured water or diluted paint or ink and mix some detergent into it. Now, when you blow into the liquid with a straw, colourful bubbles gush out of the liquid. Let them flow over the edge of the cup and fall onto the paper.
You can also apply the technique the other way round: put the liquid in a shallow dish, create bubbles and then gently press with the paper on top of the coloured foam.
I came across this great technique when I watched the Instagram stories of the dear Bine Brändle. She also experimented with many other materials. Please have a look at her account, too.
Tip: A flat cup is better than a high one. In addition, the paper should be strongly and quickly water absorbent because the ink must be sucked in before the bubbles burst. I recommend Khadi Papers. They are made from recycled cotton.
To create white spaces when painting (for example, when we don’t want to cover the entire picture with bubbles), we need to leave areas where you can still see the paper. This can be quite tedious at times, which is why it is useful to simply cover these spots. Even if you want to paint within a shape, it can be very helpful to cover the edges beforehand.
Masking fluid (I use Rubbelkrepp by Schmincke) can be applied with a brush on the paper and so also covers details. You let it dry well and then just paint over it. When the paint is dry, scrub the masking film with your fingers. It is also great for limiting a shape so you can paint a surface easily and cleanly.
Wax, e.g. of a white candle, is water-repellent and works well to cover surfaces roughly. It is difficult to remove the wax from the paper after painting, and a few stains tend to dry on the wax layer, so the result is relatively random. For structures like waves or clouds, this technique is well suited.
Materials that I use:
- Liquid Frisket (Rubbelkrepp) by Schmincke
- Watercolour by Schmincke
- Watercolour by Winsor & Newton
- Water Brush by Kuretake
- Watercolour Paper by Vang, e.g. for that painting
- Watercolour Paper by Herlitz, e.g. for that painting