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Tips and Tricks for Layering Watercolors

Layering (also known as ‘glazing’) watercolor paints is another way of mixing colors with your Color Swell bulk watercolor paints. Let’s look at five aspects of glazing and their effects when it comes to watercolors.

Let each layer completely dry

The first tip is that this technique is one of the slowest techniques when it comes to watercolors. You need to let each layer completely dry. Why? That’s so the pigments of the layer beneath are less likely to mix with this layer.

Some watercolorists use hair dryers to speed this process up!

Paint the upper layers quickly

Once you have your base layer of watercolor paint down and it is dry, each subsequent layer has to go on quickly and lightly. This is because the water in the new layer will act as a solvent for the layer beneath and could well end up mixing the pigments beneath.

Why not mix in the pallet?

Glazing gives you an added level of control and can allow you to get exactly the right brightness, tone and hue of the outcome color when it is on the paper.

As you know, watercolors change as they dry – glazing is about outcomes not (however well educated) guesswork.

Lighter tones first, darker next

Whether adding detail to a picture (the veins on a leaf perhaps or the irises of someone’s eye) the darker layers can accentuate and add detail to the final masterpiece.

You can also explore different moisture levels of the brush. Could less water on upper layers have a different effect? This also helps with preventing the pigments mixing as you use ever drier brush strokes for each layer.

Less is more!

The fifth and final tip is that if you glaze 1-2 layers on top you’re more likely to get a better effect than three and up. It could turn into a dirty brown instead of a detailed golden hue for example!

Brought to you by Color Swell

A final idea is for you to use bulk watercolors supplied by Color Swell! We pride ourselves in providing the best value bulk watercolor paints and supplies to teachers, parents and home artists in the US, Canada, and UK.