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7 Clever Ways to use Watercolours

Whether you’re using paints or those ingenious watercolour pencils, this art style produces some gorgeous results

7 Clever Ways to use Watercolours

1 Sunset Seaside

It’s helpful to have a sketch before you start painting, so you know ahead of time where the colours are meant to go. Don’t worry if drawing isn’t your forte, as you can always find outlines in colouring books and online! Try a book like Take Three Colours Watercolour Seascapes (436177), with paints such as Rare Earth Serene Sunsets (453855), and have fun with it. The watercolours will give the scene a dreamy, serene look

2 Flowers

If one colour of watercolour paint is applied too close to another, they will bleed into each other. Don’t panic, though – this is a perfect opportunity to create beautiful visual effects such as gradients. With pretty motifs like flowers, colour gradients and ombre effects only improve the appearance. Sketch a simple stem image on watercolour paper, such as Creativ’s Watercolour Paper Pad (445467), then get creative making big, beautiful petals with your paints.

3 Silhouette of your Name

Masking fluid, such as Tonic Studios’ Nuvo Masking Fluid (469211), is a great defence against running paints – simply apply to the paper, allow to dry, and paint over and around it. Then, once you’re finished, you can run the masking fluid off to reveal clean, blank paper. By using this technique, you can achieve some fantastic silhouette art pieces. Try spelling your name in masking fluid, then painting a pretty background over it – the end result will be beautiful.

4 Buildings

Charming towns and single houses look great in watercolour paints, as it adds realistic texture to the walls and surfaces. If you want to paint a picture of your home, you can take a picture of it, make the image really faint using image editing software, then print it out and paint over the faint image. Or, if you don’t want the original image showing at all, you can trace over it on a separate piece of paper, then paint on that. Either way, the end result will be gorgeous.

5 Fairies

The soft, cloud-like look of watercolours makes them great for depicting ethereal creatures like fairies. Once you’ve completed your painting, you can even use a spatter technique for some floating sparkles. Hold your paintbrush between your thumb and middle fingers. Using your index finger, pull back on the bristles and let them snap forward to spray the paper. Repeat in a few different colours for some rainbow coloured spatters.

6 Animals

Scumbling is a watercolour technique where you add a scratchy, speckled colour over another, so that bits of the lower layer of colour show through the scumbling – it’s great for adding bristly-looking textures on furry animals, trees and clothing. The key is to use a dry brush (or cloth), very little paint, and short swipes. You can then go over it again to increase the effect. Why not paint a beloved pet, or your favourite wild animal?

7 Window Scene

With a clever application of masking tape, you can create interesting art pieces that show the view outside a window, but leave the window and surrounding wall blank – this will draw attention to the beauty outside. Using a tape such as Affixit’s Low Tack Masking Tape (345425), simply mask a window shape, including the panes, and paint the world outside one of your windows. Don’t worry if the colours run or detail is lost, it’ll add to the tranquil look.