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Techniques for Creating Texture in Watercolour with Michelle Campbell

Posted on Tue 26 Sep 2017

Wet on dry Watercolour is a water-based medium so the darkness and saturation of the pigment can be manipulated, depending on how much water you add. My preferred technique is painting wet on dry. I love the first dab of watered pigment when it touches the paper; it’s like a splash of magic and I find it adapts to my style of illustrative work, fun and playful. I like to explore so I occasionally use wet on wet. Wet on dry produces sharp edges to shapes, whereas painting wet on wet, the colours spread into one another, producing soft edges and blending. The two techniques give you very different effects.

Lifting out I use a sponge – any sponge, but natural is good – for dabbing on background areas, such as leaves and fauna, and scrunched-up paper towels to give a textured effect. You can do this by applying two-parts pigment and one-part water on to your paper and dab the pigment lightly with the scrunched-up towel so the towel picks up some of the pigment and leaves a texture. Laying down a wash of colour then lifting parts of it up is another great way to add layers of detail gradually. The towels are also useful for correcting mistakes or directing the paint in a different direction.

Splattering paint with old toothbrushes creates lots of atmosphere. I dip the toothbrush in water then pigment and use my fingers to rub along the bristles about eight inches away from the paper. Depending on how much water and pigment you apply to the brush, you can create small or large splatters. Try this out on a separate piece of paper first, as the splatters can be very random.

The Fall of Autumn, watercolour, gouache and acrylic ink on Saunders Waterford 640gsm Rough watercolour paper, (56x38cm).


Read more about Michelle's watercolour painting, including a step-by-step demonstration to paint The Two Hares (see below) in the November 2017 issue of Leisure Painter.

Click here to purchase your copy.


Techniques for Creating Texture in Watercolour with Michelle Campbell

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