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How to Use Water with Watercolor Paint

Have you noticed how a wet paint brush leaves lighter colors and a paint brush that is too dry leaves stronger colors? You can use water to achieve different levels of color saturation.

Choosing the Right Brush 

In an earlier blog post we examined the selection criteria for choosing the right brush for different watercolor techniques. Head over to this post to see how different brushes can be used for different effects on a watercolor composition. The post reviews how a wider brush is great for washes like the sky or a meadow while a fine brush is great for detail like clouds or flowers.

Experiment with Value Scales

With the right brush you can put down a given pigment (like those sold by Color Swell) and the proper amount of water required for a given strength of final color.

  • Start with a little water on the brush and draw a line with the pigment.
  • Add a little more water. Draw another line.
  • Repeat until you have reached the desired color strength.

When you start the colors will dry much darker and the wetter settings will leave lighter and sometimes even opaque color.

Water Movements

The water will move from the wettest piece of paper to the driest. You can use this behavior to your advantage.

  • Use a broad brush with just water to wet just the work area of the paper. Add pigment with a relatively dry brush. Remember, this will dry in time so only wet the area you will be working on.
  • Paint with a wet brush on a dry paper. Again, only focus on the section you are working on.

Mixing and blending colors on paper can be done with the existing wet pigment or as you layer wet on dry, though these techniques will have different effects.

Use Color Swell Paints

Color Swell offers a variety of watercolor paints. With tens of thousands of happy customers, you can be assured of the quality of Color Swell art supplies.